Just wanted to mention that Jim's recent article, The Crucial Element to Telling a Great Story, answers a question I had asked months ago in this thread: crucial-elements-for-steadfast-stop-when-outcome-is-failure. That thread sort of diverged into helping me figure out my storyform, so I never was able to get a satisfactory answer, but Jim's article has done it!
Here's his great example explaining how crucial elements work in a Steadfast story when Outcome is Failure:
(In this example Abby is the MC with a Crucial Element of
Feeling; Jack is the IC.)
Rather, [Abby] singles out the lack of feelings or deficient feelings that Jack and the others need to find within themselves. That shift, while clearing the way for the possibility of the townspeople to finally acquire some control over their lives, simply isn't enough to overcome their addiction to being loose and fancy free. Remember, our story ends in Failure. Abby's prodding works as intended in terms of freeing up Jack's emotional growth, yet it isn't enough to overcome the story's larger problem.
So basically, one way of showing the Crucial Element in a Steadfast Failure story is that it was there and did some work to pave the way for the OS Solution, but wasn't quite powerful enough or focused properly on the right spot.
One thing I've learned about Dramatica since creating that thread is that although it seems rigid, Dramatica really offers the writer immense freedom within the bounds of the story's structure / storyform. So the theory tells you that there is a crucial element, and gives certain guidelines, but doesn't tell you exactly how to use it. That's a good thing because within those bounds you are free to make it work however it works best in your story. (That's true for every single story point, not just Crucial Elements.)
So the answer to my original Question 2 is really just something like "whatever works best for your story"!
Note that Jim's story is Steadfast-Start, so you can see in his example how Abby tries to "fill a hole" by pointing out everyone's lack of feelings. Meanwhile, my MC is Steadfast-Stop, and I can see how Hinder (my MC Crucial Element) needs to be pointed out as a problem in the OS, and then moved or focused on something else (basically, Hindering the badguys' evil plans), but that doesn't quite happen. So I think Armando's original explanations are spot-on.
If anyone's interested in how I now see the Crucial Elements working in my story, let me know and I can try to write them as examples -- it all seems pretty clear to me now! (Mostly thanks to understanding my OS much better now, with Jim's help.)