I actually started to work with Dramatica because of the promise to build an argument for my stories.
But I struggled with it for a while.
On narrativefirst.com there are some articles from Jim on the topic. I have tried the different approaches Jim has described but it never really worked for me.
It was only when I subscribed to Subtext where I could see the eight different arguments possible you get by combining ...
- Resolve (Change or Steadfast)
- Outcome (Success or Failure)
- Judgment (Good or Bad)
.. to understand that the crucial element of my MC drives the whole story.
Ah, now I understood, why the crucial element of my MC is like a mini arc, and the crucial elements links the Througlines together.
Nice side effect, I finally understood the crucial element.
In short, my approach today is: If I have a new idea, I first go to Dramatica to get a storyform. Once I have my form complete, I check Resolve, Outcome and Judgement and look for the crucial element to build my argument:
.. a good story with a steadfast MC
- My MC achieves the goal (Success, Good) because the MC keeps (Steadfast) the crucial element
... a Bad story with a changed MC
- It all ends up in pain and tears (Failure, Bad) and with drama and tragic consequences because the MC starts (Change, Start) using the crucial element
If the argument doesn't feel right I rework the storyform until it works for me.