Elements and PRCO, TKAD, SRCA and PASS

My understanding is that while the software internally determines the pattern of elements within each scene, it does not actually reveal this information to the user. So, you can order the elements in any order you wish; at such a small scale the differences between patterns should be negligible.

In fact, if I’m not mistaken, even at the Variation level, the order in which they’re explored within each act isn’t thought to strictly matter. I believe the only place an order is even offered by the software is in the PSR. I think Chris says that order doesn’t really matter, but Jim finds that order most effective.

Hopefully, that’s all accurate. If not, someone please let me know, and I’ll correct/ remove it.


Actually, the Signposts are another area where order is given, and with SIgnposts the order definitely matters.

That said, @okcthunderx was actually asking about PRCO which is a different modality than order (aka 1234 aka SRCA). To answer your question, @okcthunderx, I’ve actually asked this before and with help from others figured out the answer, which was confirmed by Jim: when using PRCO each of P,R,C,O can be assigned to any item within the quad.

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Yes, of course. I was referring specifically to the order in which Variations are explored during each “act.” So, under a Signpost of Obtaining, you’d explore Morality, Self Interest, Attitude, and Approach or combinations thereof in some order. I believe the PSR lists those in different orders for different storyforms.

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Thanks, @mlucas! Informative thread. Just what I needed.

Do you think it’s possible for Potential, Resistance, or Current to feel like an Outcome? For instance, say I’m closing out a scene with Resistance, where the following chapter picks up with Current. Would the audience feel a sense of finality at the close of the Resistance scene? Maybe it has everything to do with Storytelling.

Thanks, @Etherbeard!

Yes, the sense of finality comes from instinctively recognizing that final element that completes the quad. Should be fine to close with Resistance. As far as I understand it anyway!


So it is not possible (should I wish) to explore, say, innermost desires and choose the scene order myself?

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I’m not sure what you mean … Are you talking about a signpost of Innermost Desires within a complete storyform? Or something like a short story that only explores Innermost Desires?

Generally you can always choose the scene order yourself, since Dramatica doesn’t specify that.

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You can always do whatever you want – you’re the writer.

The theory of Dramatica may suggest a certain order and context for exploring each event within a scene, but following it at that level is less effective and/or important towards the actual meaning of your narrative.


Okay, forgive my newbie ignorance, BUT…

I can not find anything describing what PRCO, TKAD, SRCA, and PASS are. I have the original Dramatica book and Armando’s book. I have the software, and have looked in the reports. What am I missing?

I feel like there is a big set of magical tools here that I have not yet unlocked!

Okay, I DO understand the SRCA (Setup, Revelation, Conflict, & Aftermath) from the PSR report. That much I did figure out. And I can see from the posts above what PRCO stands for, but don’t know how you assign them. TKAD I understand is about order of events, although I still don’t know what TKAD stands for. And PASS is a mystery. Help, please!

Hey there, @Leah!

You can find most of these answers on this forum (the search bar almost never fails) or by visiting https://narrativefirst.com/ for articles on these topics.

Here’s an article that will help you on your quest:

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This is very helpful, thanks.

So, am I understanding correctly that the PRCO are the 4 Objective Issues under a signpost concern and it is up to the author to determine which issue is the potential, resistance, current, and outcome from this list (they are not defined for you like the SRCA are)?

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Actually (unless I’m misunderstanding you), SRCA (and all of these scene modalities) happens at the level below the PSR report – within the scene. So if each Element in the PSR is a “scene”, these modalities tell you how to structure that scene.

It wasn’t included in the software I believe because there was some thinking that it was too fine a resolution to be useful to writers (forest for the trees etc.). But Jim has been using it with some of his clients to useful effect.

TKAD is Thought, Knowledge, Ability and Desire, which, at some level, is what every quad in Dramatica boils down to. In this context, TKAD is used interchangeably with the top of the model – the Domain level - [EDIT- thanks @mlucas :slight_smile: ] Situation (Universe), Activities (Physics), Manner of Thinking (Psychology) and Attitude (Mind). So each scene will have each of these elements in it.

BTW out of the four, this is the mode that @mlucas and Jim say is the most useful for scene construction.


So, the scenes have a particular order in the signpost based on the PSR report, and then within the scene (issue level) there is an order too (at the problem level)? How do you determine that order?

And is it like the subjective elements defined by the PSR in that they might be in a different quad entirely than the objective elements under that signpost concern (but in this case scene issue)? How on earth do you figure out what they should be?

Jim’s article that aokcthunderx linked to above cautions us about getting too deep in the woods and I think that maybe I am there! I realize this is all optional at this level. I don’t think I’m ready for this yet! :joy:

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I didn’t understand it at all at at first. I read about it on Jim’s site more than a year ago and only circled back recently. I think it could be very useful but at this point the other levels are much more practical for me.

Oops! Typo – you meant Manner of Thinking (aka Psychology) and Attitude (aka Mind).

At the scene level I find the Manner of Thinking part is often a manipulation (someone trying to convince or trick someone), but sometimes it’s a more broad psychology thing like someone acting crazy or being suicidal or whatever.

Anyway @Leah, here is one post where I described how I use these things (TKAD and PRCO) at the scene level:

Hopefully if you read Jim’s Narrative First articles, you will get some context as to what I’m talking about. But feel free to ask questions!

On the other hand, feel free to not use any of this stuff. For at least half the scenes I write, I end up skipping most of it and just going by feel anyway.


But if you make a hot key, how will I practice explaining Dramatica? :slight_smile:

Seriously though maybe we (on this board, not you Jim) should figure out how to crowdsource a FAQ with links to relevant discussions. I know there’s a Q&A page on the Dramatica site, but I’m thinking of something more wiki-like that references more recent discussions on theses boards.


Great idea!

And thanks for volunteering :laughing: