Identifying KTAD in specific quads

Hi there,
I’m getting really interested in the PRCO and the idea that each scene has KTAD in it (thanks to the great class in subtext led by @jhull and @JohnDusenberry!)
There are some quads I can’t figure out the KTAD for?
For example, rationalisation.
Consider Support
Oppose Reconsider
All of these feel like the physics and psychology domains, I can’t see the more inert mind and universe in them?
Any pointers much appreciated!

Most people don’t know these things, so don’t expect anyone to leap to your assistance.

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Thank you! SO that is useful context as I have no sense of if I am asking something obvious or not haha.
So…not obvious. Which is oddly comforting :blush:

Well mind you I don’t have the DSE designation but I see:

Consider = what you know
Support is what you Do/Activty
Oppose is what you desire
Reconsider is what you think about…

But it’s prolly just me.

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Thank you, I can see that I think! I guess it feels like you could desire support (but maybe that is just me being an overwhelmed mother of 2 small kids :smile:)
And I notice we are in the FACT quad haha
You may be unproven, but that’s good enough for me…

The only real question (for me, anyway) is “does this help my writing?”

@Greg does a great job explaining Fate and Destiny in this thread Fate/Destiny in a way that I can see it being helpful in writing.

So, even if you get your answer (maybe @jassnip is right), try to look at it in a way that allows you to write richer scenes.


Thanks great advice. I have found it does help my writing to ensure I have TKAD in there, and this was part of me figuring out how to do that.
I do have a tendency to overthink things though so I will heed your wise words.

Dramatica invites overthinking and we all fight not to make it a reason to procrastinate from our writing.


So glad to hear you’re enjoying the classes. I would have to second @MWollaeger in saying that most people may not know these things, and that it won’t necessarily help your writing.

Luckily for us, Chris and Melanie did the backbreaking work of sorting out the TKAD for all the elements–and thank you very much so we don’t have to.

In storyforming, it’s more important to think of KTAD paired with PRCO in the sense that those elements will be present and not repeated per story beat, and to think of KTAD as the Dramatica Chart sees it on the topmost level–Universe, Activity, Manipulation and Mind.

Check out the notes from our first episode of Conflict Corner to see some examples in context:


Ah this is very reassuring as it was when I understood them in these terms (and more so when I understood the domains in terms of internal and external processes and…static things) that I started to find I understood the whole thing much more easily.
Really really enjoyed conflict corner, so helpful. I can’t usually make it in person but I always watch the replays.
Have a great week!

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Thank you. And if you ever have any questions you’d like addressed in Conflict Corner or the Writer’s Room with @jhull feel free to contact us.

I have a quick one. Why do we refer to the terminology of KTAD at the scene level even though we’re using the top of the model (Universe, Physics, etc.)? I know in theory Dramatica is recursive, the top is the same as the bottom at this level, etc. But I wonder if using them interchangibly here causes unnecessary confusion (unless there is another reason that I’m missing).

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I’m with you @Lakis. I think just using S,A,M,FA works better for me than KTAD.


Every quad is technically TKAD by another name, and yes the model is recursive.

One thing I’ve always loved about Dramatica is that the element “Instinct” is made up of TKAD. The Mind’s instinct in regard to “Knowledge,” as the current model is biased, can only be best described at TKAD.

Situation, Activity, Psychology and Mind are analogous to the Four Throughlines–or Domains. They are analogous to the four modes of expression. Basically, it’s an easily understood way to qualify the four facets of any quad you’re dealing with. A measure that works for the story mind itself as much as it does the audience receiving the story. Remember, storytelling is a form of telepathy. Just ask Stephen King.

The mind receiving the story INSTINCTIVELY expects every story beat to be presented clearly by the storyform (really, just another mind) as TKAD. In every story beat (every instance of the mind processing an inequity) there will be some Internal State (Fixed Attitude), some External State (Situation) , some External Process (Activity), and some Internal Process (Psychology).

It’s the mind at work on a problem.


What do you mean by this?

I just mean that the element “Instinct” is the only one at the bottom level of the chart that doesn’t have its TKAD quad elements redefined as something else.

Screen Shot 2020-11-09 at 7.37.07 AM

The other one, of course, being Being.


What’s even cooler is that KTAD is present at every level, top to bottom, in a spiral:

Universe, Mind, Physics, Psychology - KTAD (respectively)
Memory, Conscious, Preconscious, Subconscious - KTAD
Knowledge, Thought, Ability, Desire - KTAD @ Variation level (under Being)
Knowledge, Thought, Ability, Desire - KTAD @ Element level (under Instinct)

Why is KTAD at the bottom as it is at the top? Because the model from inside looks like this:

It’s good to think in terms of KTAD in the background, instead of Universe, Physics, Psychology, and Mind, for the same reason it’s better to use the original Terminology over the newer “friendlier” versions: by thinking in those terms you’re training yourself to recognize the relationships without needing Dramatica running in the background all the time.

Situation, Activities, Manipulations, and Fixed Attitudes are definitely easier when it comes time to look at the individual Beats of a scene, so I would use these when it comes to illustrating your scene.

Dramatica does assign KTAD to every Element in the model, but this information is currently not available in any report. If you’re having trouble, it’s always safest just to assume that the relationship is KADT in a Z-pattern for every single quad.

If you look at a single quad, you’ll see the KADT pattern there (like under Being or Instinct) - if you look at them in context of 3 other quads of four, their arrangement shifts to take into account the shift in perspective and therefore, meaning (Knowledge under Being within the context of Psychology might not necessarily be seen as Knowledge).

While it might be interesting to have this information available to us, in practice I’ve found it’s best left up to the instinct of the writer at that level. It’s so close to the storytelling that a fair amount of subjectivity could be interfering with the actual understanding of what is K and what is T, etc.

The main point of assigning these to individual Beats at the Scene level is variety and completeness of storytelling. I’ve found many writers end up writing scenes that are just Action-Action-Action without the variations of Situation-Action-Attitude-Manipulation - the scenes become dry and stale (and repetitive). Or, they’ll be one attitude after the other (boh-ring…).

Just making sure you have one of each really opens up a scene and gives it the same kind of completeness you can sense when you have all four Throughlines - again, it’s just a toroid (the image above) - so everything is everything … (and everything is KTAD…)


Lapping this up! Thank you.

I couldn’t find an answer in the forum, maybe it has been answered somewhere else.

Are there common qualities to describe what is under T, K, A and D?

I mean, just to pick some examples, what makes … (as below) … them T, K, A or D?

  • Proven, Certainty, Consider, Effect ==> Knowledge/Mass
  • Inaction, Control, Equity ==> Ability/Space
  • Feeling, Protection, Reaction ==> Thought/Energy
  • Production, Temptation, Hinder ==> Desire/Time

I found some explanation here:


I hope I am not violating any etiquette in this form by responding to such a relativity old post.

One of the things I never recognized until quite recently while reading Descola’s, Beyond Nature and Culture, is that Dramatica is at bottom just a structuralist theory, and of course there was a reason that structuralism almost immediately encountered a post-structuralism backlash. I encountered something akin to this personally when I first got interested in baseball and confused the meaning of two common pitches: the curve ball and the slider. I imagined that curve ball moved laterally as one one would move while traveling around a corner and the slider move vertically, sliding downwards as it were. It turns out that it is just the opposite of their actual meanings in baseball, with the curve ball curving downwards and the slider sliding as if through a corner.

I once had a professor who used the traffic light as an analogy to explain post-structuralism. The red light unambiguously means stop, while the green light means go, but what about the yellow light? To some people, the yellow light means to slow down and prepare to stop, while to others it means speed up to make the light. Indeed, to a single person, it could mean either depending on whether or not they’re running late for an important meeting. This analogy is illustrative in a number ways. For example, in articulating the archetypal power of number to organize our reality: a unity gives way to a binary opposition, which in turn, gives way to a trinity of terms, which then finally becomes a quad (the fundamental organization of Dramatica), that then goes on to become the ten-thousand things” as the Tao Te Ching expresses it. This is why we most naturally organize stories around either three acts or four, respectively—as Carl Jung discovered, whenever we conceive of something in three terms, there is always an implicit fourth unconscious term because the quad is the most complete fundamental way of ordering reality.

Consequently, the problem with structuralism, one that post-structuralists capitalize on, is the inherent ambiguity of any term, ironically enough, because of the human mind’s propensity for reducing archetypes ultimately down to contrasting binary oppositions (the quad is just a binary of binaries). Any concept, then, already conatins its own self-refutation, and so, for example, there was nothing illogical about my assumptions about the meanings of the terms used for baseball pitches except that it turned out I was just conventionally wrong.

The important thing is that KTAD has an internal relationship that I would assert is necessarily true, but for any given quad, the ascribed meaning will only ever be conventional. Although, there is probably something to be said about trying to match up your own conventions with the conventions of the culture you are writing within, as that will help align your intended meaning with you the most likely received meaning, but ultimately even within a single culture such meaning will be stochastic.

One thing I do to help think about Dramatica’s meaning is attempt to place it in terms of human civilization’s two great oppositions by comparing it with both the usage established by the I-Ching and those of Western Astrology/Alchemy, respectively, as East and West seems to capture the most fundamental contrast in human worldview with the West conceiving as the ultimate in terms of pure Being, i.e. God, and the East seeing it in terms of pure non-being, i.e. Nothingness.

P.S. reading Jim’s answer, it appears that there is a logically consistent assumption you can apply already, but I will leave my answer because it might still be helpful more generally.