Do you use Issue sliders or just treat it as another conflict?

I wanted to know if Issue is supposed to be just something you pick and write why it causes a conflict or are you supposed to think of a way of comparing it with its opposite and attaching a value judgement like the program says to do? I ask because some concepts are said to be outdated, which makes me feel like I can’t rely on what the program says. Is that true for Issues, or am I overgeneralizing that concept of just treating Domain, Concern, Issue as different-sized problems rather than distinct things-- Concern as goal-like, Issue as thematic, Domain as… general stuff?

What do you do if the Issue makes sense as something causing conflict, but you don’t have an opinion on the counterpoint in the context of the story? Does that mean it’s the wrong choice?


Sounds like you’re doing everything fine. Treating Issue as a source of conflict is the most important part. Whether or not you want to assign a value judgment, and how much you put that into the story, is totally up to you. I think if you purposely put the judgment into the story you end up with something like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’s very obvious Self-Interest vs. Morality stuff, which was cool in that movie, but too much in your face for a lot of stories I think.

Generally I think it would be best to let any value judgment come out naturally – not try to force it, but if one of your characters says something and you realize after they were weighing Approach vs. Attitude or whatever, then so be it!

I don’t think it makes it the wrong choice at all! However, I would expect the Counterpoint to come up at various points in the story – if the Issue is causing conflict, you almost can’t help having its dynamic pair show up. (But I don’t think you have to worry about this ahead of time, just let it come out naturally as you plan or write the story.)


From my experience issue and counterpoint comes out by itself when your write and do revisions.

Before I start with the first draft its more guessing what it might be. There is a lot of fixed mind working in the first place (“ah, this is morality, its for sure, and this is …”).

But often its a surprise what is it and what I am writing about. To accept the unknown and start writing works much better for me nowadays.

In the beginning with Dramatica I also tried forcing it - because I like(d) the idea having something to say with my story. But the result was stilted with no blood.

Today I revise my first, second, third … guess until the issue and counterpoint makes the most sense to me (“uh, I never thought about it could be interdiction, but it makes totally sense, no I understand why the other is always pushing…”). This is especially true for the throughlines.


The stuff in the program isn’t wrong. It’s outdated in the sense that the ideas have become clearer, been carried further. You can trust the program, but you can also take ideas beyond just what’s in the program.

Personally, I like to think of different levels in terms of their functions as Plot, Theme, etc.

If you haven’t already, go to and search for ‘theme’, particularly look for ‘Is Your Story Coming Apart at the Themes?’

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