Crucial element as hinge

Searching for information (or rules, really) about the crucial element, I find this -

Change/Success - OS Problem is the MC Crucial Element
Change/Failure - OS Solution is the MC Crucial Element
Steadfast/Stop - OS Focus is the MC Crucial Element
Steadfast/Start - OS Direction is the MC Crucial Element

Are there similar ‘rules’ for the MC-IC crucial element ‘relationship’?
I ask this as I understand the crucial element to be the ‘hinge’ between the MC and OS throughlines.
Does anyone have a concise list of how altering MC here will result in IC changing there (in respect of crucial element)?

I’m not sure I understand your question @hnif. The IC Crucial Element will always be the dynamic pair of the MC Crucial – e.g. MC: Avoid <-> IC Pursuit. But the IC Crucial Element doesn’t show up in the IC throughline.

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i’m trying to figure out how to use the crucial element. in so far as it is the hinge between the MC and OS throughlines, i note that it is only ever spoken of relative to MC and IC throughlines. I wondered about an elaboration of the IC throughline side but also an understanding of how to use it as a true hinge. thanks.

@hnif Here’s a quote from Chris Huntley in a thread from a few years ago that might be useful.

Here’s the full thread:


As @Lakis has pointed out, the crucial elements are at the core of the argument. You can think about them as a hinge, but I certainly understand it better when I think about the opposition (MC crucial vs. IC crucial, always dynamic opposites) as the actual inequity the storyform is dealing with, what needs to be solved.

It’s like the grain of sand that starts the process of growing the pearl in the oyster.


To add onto @Lakis and @victoria 's posts… It’s worth pointing out that it’s okay if the crucial elements, and what they represent in the story’s argument, seem kind of basic or even trite at the beginning (when you are first planning your project). A sort of “yeah, that works, it’s in the right ballpark, but I’m not sure what all the fuss is about” feeling.

This may even be a good thing!

Why? Because as you develop and write your story, you get to know the characters better and explore the conflicts deeply enough to really understand things. My best experiences with using storyforms to write & revise have come when, late into the process (like 50-75% completed draft, or later) I suddenly realized what the crucial elements really meant, in this story. (Especially the MC crucial.)

I honestly think that NOT fully grokking the crucial elements at the beginning provides you motivation to keep writing, to explore and figure them out. (But this is very specific to my own process, so of course take it with a grain of salt! :slight_smile: )


I used to know where to find the crucial element - i have both dramatica pro and dramatica 5. can someone remind me where to see it? thanks.

In Dramatica Pro, first make sure you are down to “1 storyform” (every option filled in). Then go to the Build Characters window (Character menu → Build characters), and click the quad in the top right to select the one where your elements will be (based on Concern location). Then you’ll see a view like this, with MC and IC Crucials indicated in red text: