I think the first step here is for you to step back and dis-integrate several things. [Later, you can go back and weave them together, but it’s helpful to see the bits and bobs of Dramatica as individual pieces first.]
The Problem is the driving force of a Throughline in that nothing would happen if there wasn’t an inequity—and the Problem is the inequity.
It’s also good to note that nobody is aware of the inequity. It’s not something front of mind.
The inhibitor and catalyst are this: A story is in constant development, moving from one point (the beginning) to another point (the end). But the speed at which this development happens is not constant. Sometimes it slower, sometimes it’s faster. The inhibitor is what slows it down; the catalyst is what speeds it up.
Yes and no. This wouldn’t be true for the OS, where it is more like a flavor that has permeated everything. In Star Wars, Luke’s problem is Test—but we wouldn’t say that was his characteristic. We’d say he was insecure, arrogant, desperate to prove himself.
Not quite. The Problem is not something important to them or the lens through which they see the world. It’s what causes them problems, or motivates them. Remember, they don’t see it—it’s deep inside them.
“obsessed with money” would be a gist for some problem element, but it’s dangerously close to confusing an element with a topic. Dramatica is about themes, not topics.
So, let’s say that this character has pursuit as a problem element. Then this character might be overextending himself because he goes after too many opportunities, with the purpose of making money. That works. But you might also see him pursuing too many women, or drinking too much.
But, on the other hand, maybe this expresses someone with possibility as a problem element. Everything is a business possibility. This character might also be overextending themselves, but it would feel different. And they might be seen doing things like going to a bar over and over and over, because it’s possible they would see that one woman again, whom they saw last month and want to see again.
Once you get comfortable with this, you will see that the dramatica story points weave together in new and different ways to form what you see today as the forces driving a story forward and characteristics. But treat them now like alien life forms who come together in strange and unique ways.