The year is 3231 CE. Humanity is changing, and EXO special warfare operator Derek Mondragon can barely keep up. For one, “human” has left the lexicon—“accidentals,” as biologically unaltered humans are known, occupy Earth and Mars with “newstylers,” a growing class of bio-engineered shapeshifters. 

When the newstylers rebellion ends in an uneasy truce, Mondragon and his buddy Don are sent to clean up. It was supposed to be by the book—in, out, easy. But Don, a Gnosint trained from birth to read unreadable patterns, takes a pulse laser round to the head. 

Waiting for his friend to recover, Mondragon remembers Don’s most recent obsession: the fifteenth-century Voynich manuscript. There was something about a prophecy, a cryptographic key hidden in the deepest strands of human DNA… but there’s no time. The Emperor has issued the Edict of Shanghai, a decree making the bio-engineering of Mars’s hatchery children obligatory—and it won’t be long before Mondragon’s daughter is among them. Mondragon’s days of playing by the rules ... are over. 

Aran Jane’s Mondragon is a stunning and deeply complex debut that explores what it means to be human. Blending philosophy, theoretical science, and breakneck action, Mondragon chronicles the full spectrum of nature and artifice through one man’s rebellion against a tyrant’s plot.  

Mondragon was written using Dramatica Story Expert, a story development software program, which helps writers look at story in an entirely new way. Beyond simply a paradigm or sequence of cultural beats, Dramatica theorizes why stories exist and attempts to outline the processes and dramatic touchpoints needed to tell a successful and meaningful story.

If you are familiar with Dramatica, you can check out Mondragon’s Dramatica Story Analysis below.


Short Synopsis


A battle-weary special forces operator, committed to protecting a future fit for the next generation, leads a mixed group of humans and self-styled mutants to prevent a statistically likely genocide with far-reaching, possibly Cosmic, implications.


Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve: Change
Derek changes his essential nature while attempting to solve the story’s problem.
Main Character Growth: Start
Regarding Derek, the audience is waiting for something to start.
Main Character Approach: Do-er
Derek prefers a physical solution to his problem.
Main Character Problem-Solving Style: Holistic
Derek uses holistic problem-solving techniques.
Story Driver: Decision
Regarding the overall plot, decisions force actions to be taken.
Story Limit: Optionlock
The story climax occurs because all options have been exhausted.
Story Outcome: Success
Regarding the overall plot, the original goal is achieved.
Story Judgment: Good
Derek ultimately succeeds in resolving his personal problems.



Overall Story Throughline

Saving Humanity from extinction

Overall Story Throughline: Manipulation
Overall Story Concern: Changing One’s Nature
Overall Story Issue: Rationalization
Overall Story Problem: Support
Overall Story Solution: Oppose
Overall Story Symptom: Reconsider
Overall Story Response: Consider
Overall Story Catalyst: Obligation
Overall Story Inhibitor: Approach
Overall Story Benchmark: Conceiving an Idea
Overall Story Signpost 1: Changing One’s Nature
Overall Story Signpost 2: Developing a Plan
Overall Story Signpost 3: Playing a Role
Overall Story Signpost 4: Conceiving an Idea


Main Character Throughline

Derek Mondragon

Main Character Throughline: Situation
Main Character Concern: Future
Main Character Issue: Delay
Main Character Problem: Support
Main Character Solution: Oppose
Main Character Symptom: Avoidance
Main Character Response: Pursuit
Main Character Unique Ability: Preconception
Main Character Critical Flaw: Closure
Main Character Benchmark: The Present
Main Character Signpost 1: The Past
Main Character Signpost 2: How things are changing
Main Character Signpost 3: Future
Main Character Signpost 4: The Present


Influence Character Throughline


Influence Character Throughline: Fixed Attitude
Influence Character Concern: Innermost Desire
Influence Character Issue: Hope
Influence Character Problem: Pursuit
Influence Character Solution: Avoidance
Influence Character Symptom: Reconsider
Influence Character Response: Consider
Influence Character Unique Ability: Denial
Influence Character Critical Flaw: Openness
Influence Character Benchmark: Contemplation
Influence Character Signpost 1: Memories
Influence Character Signpost 2: Impulsive Responses
Influence Character Signpost 3: Innermost Desires
Influence Character Signpost 4: Contemplation


Relationship Story Throughline

Human/Newstyler Romance

Relationship Story Throughline: Activity
Relationship Story Concern: Obtaining
Relationship Story Issue: Approach
Relationship Story Problem: Logic
Relationship Story Solution: Feeling
Relationship Story Symptom: Reconsider
Relationship Story Response: Consider
Relationship Story Catalyst: Attitude
Relationship Story Inhibitor: Rationalization
Relationship Story Benchmark: Gathering Information
Relationship Story Signpost 1: Understanding
Relationship Story Signpost 2: Doing
Relationship Story Signpost 3: Obtaining
Relationship Story Signpost 4: Gathering Information


Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal: Changing One’s Nature
Overall Story Consequence: Obtaining
Overall Story Cost: Innermost Desires
Overall Story Dividend: The Future
Overall Story Requirements: Conceiving an Idea
Overall Story Prerequisites: Gathering Information
Overall Story Preconditions: Contemplation
Overall Story Forewarnings: The Present