Elements and PRCO, TKAD, SRCA and PASS

Using the table of scenes, I generate four elements for each scene. Do these elements interact with PRCO, TKAD, SRCA and PASS? If so, how? Does each element get its own PRCO and TKAD?

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Here is my understanding.

PASS – I don’t think the elements really interact with PASS. PASS is more a way of categorizing the entire scene.

SRCA – I prefer the term 1234 because that’s all this is, the order in which each item is introduced. Each element would be assigned a number, based on when it’s introduced. (EDIT: this is incorrect, see clarification below)

PRCO – Yes, each element would be assigned one of P,R,C, or O. (See the Piper analysis on Narrative First for an example.) To me this is the most important and useful thing, because the Dramatic Circuit is what gives the scene (or short story/film etc.) a sense of “completeness”. You don’t have to use this all the time (likely you often naturally create a Dramatic Circuit) but it can be helpful when you’re struggling.

TKAD – This is the part I don’t quite understand. I believe that if you are using an Element quad, you are using the level above the Activity/Manner of Thinking/Attitude/Situation quad. So in a way you have already assigned each event or “piece” of your scene a TKAD by using those Elements.
However, I sometimes do wonder if a scene built from a different level quad, should still contain an Activity, a Manner of Thinking, an Attitude, and a Situation. This is the part I don’t quite get. @jhull Jim, any wisdom to share here?


Just to say, remember that 1234 is not Storyweaving—it’s not the order in which things are revealed. Rather, it’s the order through the model, the same kind of 1234 you see at the Signpost level.

For TKAD, I’ve found that just hitting those four different base elements, regardless of the actual events, works well.


Wow, thanks for the clarification about the 1234 Jim. I’ve always thought that should be the case (since Signposts always seemed like an instance of 1234 to me) but I swear I’d read guidance to the contrary. I must have just misunderstood.

So SRCA or 1234 is the order of events as they occur in the story’s timeline (Author’s perspective).

For example, consider this opening Scene:


Potential: Knowledge
Resistance: Order
Current: Chaos
Outcome: Thought

In the future, a totalitarian government knows with authoritative certainty that 13% of all children between the ages of 10 and 13 will be abducted. They even know who that 13% will be–they’re just not telling anyone. (Potential)

In an effort to overcome this apparently unavoidable fate, parents in the region construct a heavy system of rules and regulations designed to keep their children safe–children who naturally, don’t like being told what to do. (Resistance)

A small segment of the preteen population rebels against the systems in place, both from parents and the government, inciting anarchy and social unrest–and giving the totalitarian government every bit of justification they need to end this uprising. (Current)

The parents of the surviving 87% become overly attentive to their children’s every need–paranoid that if they don’t capitulate to every childish request, their offspring might consider a course of action that involves becoming a member of the next 13% (Outcome)


1: Knowledge
2: Order
3: Chaos
4: Thought

Sc.1: The Government releases its latest round of numbers: this time, 13% of the preteens will be abducted. They refuse to release names.

Sc. 2: Life in modern suburbia: a display of rules and regulations designed to keep children safe and off the streets. Government agents watch as parents keep their potentially unruly children in line, terrified that their young ones will make some kind of mistake. A powder-keg ready to explode.

Sc. 3: A small band of preteens meets in a clubhouse to discuss their plans for anarchy and overthrowing their parents and eventually the government. But first, a little playful vandalizing of the local major’s office and town square. Snatch squads–military units specializing in keeping the peace–interrupt the kids’ night of fun and steal them off the streets. Never to be seen again.

Sc. 4: Parents of the 87% watch as the Unfortunate Ones (the title of the story!) mourn the loss of their loved ones. In response, the parents overly attend to their children’s needs, making sure not to upset them or give them reason to revolt.


K: Knowledge
A: Order
D: Chaos
T: Thought

Situation: Everyone in this world knows every last thing about everyone around them. Happy to share everything from their current location to what they’re eating to their thoughts on subjects ranging from music to politics, the people of this world give up anonymity for a greater sense of feeling connected to everyone (Knowledge).

Activity: Parents in the area pattern themselves after a community of families in the far North known as the Everlasters. These families lead a rigid and scheduled life devoid of problems and struggle–and devoid of joy. But no matter–they’ve outlived and outlasted every other family, why not follow their example? (Order)

Manner of Thinking: Pop-Ins. That’s what the Government affectionately calls their unpredictable and nerve-wracking visits to a community–day or night. Their thinking, one that is shared by the more mentally disturbed in the community, is that a sense of randomness encourages people to live their authentic selves. If you have no idea when the boogie man arrives, you’ll be more encouraged to act this way all the time. (Chaos)

Attitude: Everyone here lives a mindful life. Respectful of both neighbor and Mother Earth, the community routinely gathers for group meditations and thought-seminars where they get together to discuss techniques for ridding one’s self of troubling thoughts of rebellion or individuality.


This would be categorized as a Passive Structural scene–while it contains many Elements direct from the Storyform, the narrative illustrates these Elements rather than pushing the narrative forward.


While you could tell this Scene in the exact 1234 order, you could also Storyweave them in a complete different order while maintaining the structural integrity of the 1234 order.

For instance, you could open up with the preteens descending on the town square, rebelling and vandalizing the area (Current). Perhaps a parent arrives to save their child from the Snatch Squad, revealing the older generations’ motivation for doing so (Resistance). The kid could end up being the Main Character and though he tries as hard as he can to resist, his father succeeds in securing him away just in time – and just in time to watch the rest of the children disappear off the streets forever.

On the drive home, the father could be overly attentive and the son could take advantage of it (Outcome). They turn on the radio to hear the nightly reading the of the numbers–like a weather report, 13% from now and through the weekend (Potential).

Cue Title Sequence.


Potential: Knowledge
Resistance: Order
Current: Chaos
Outcome: Thought

Those are variations, though. I was asking how the elements (such as Proven, Unproven, Process, Result) relate to the PRCO, TKAD, 1234, and PASS.

Those are Elements found under an Issue of Fate in a Domain of Universe.


So they are! I didn’t realize that there was a Knowledge element as well as a Knowledge variation.

Hey, @jhull! Just digging through old threads.

When assigning PRCO to the Elements under Fate, can the PRCO arrangement work beyond a Z-pattern?

Rather than:


Potential: Order
Resistance: Chaos
Current: Thought
Outcome: Knowledge

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!