Scenes + Characters + Events in the Plot Sequence Report,

Hello everyone!

So, I now have a storyform and the PSR. I want to understand the temporal containers within it.
Each throughline has been given four acts, but each of the act is divided into exploration through 4 variations.

For example, "In act one, “gathering information or experience (Gathering Information) is explored in terms of Fate, Prediction, Interdiction, and Destiny.”

I understand Act. The next three temporal levels are Sequences, Scenes and Events, and I am unable to fit them in.

So, do the variations define the sequences? Do the sequences have to be in the same order as the variations? (As in this instance, same order as Fate / Prediction / Interdiction / Destiny).

  1. How do we break these sequences further down in terms of scenes and events and bring in the characters + elements?
  2. Do we simply take the Fate + Gathering Experience (Var. + Type) pair and see what scenes and characters become relevant?
  3. How many scenes does a sequence expand into?

So with that throughline in Act One you have four beats or ‘scenes’ with conflict oriented around…

  • Learning (Gathering Information) is explored in terms of Fate,
  • Learning (Gathering Information) is explored in terms of Prediction,
  • Learning (Gathering Information) is explored in terms of Interdiction, and
  • Learning (Gathering Information) is explored in terms of Destiny.

Depending on the throughline (OS/IC/MC/RS), it will have different flavors, different aspects of the Story mind will be addressed. All together you will have 16 of these conflict-scenes per act.

One throughline is what you want the audience to relate with (MC), one you want challenging that idea (IC), One is a general perspective (OS), and one is uniquely about a relationship (RS).

Characters you populate into those scenes are secondary to the idea of a conflict you create based on the 4 points listed above. The order in time DOES matter.

At the same time, the characters are dealing with the elements on the storyform in order for you to make your premise/argument.


To save yourself from falling down a bunch of rabbit holes, know that the Sequence/Scene/Event breakdown in Dramatica does NOT correspond with the actual sequences, scenes, and events in your story.

Think of the Plot Progressions in a Dramatica Storyform as narrative threads, with each level representing a different size, or scope, of each thread.

When you write your story, you then drop into these threads in various scenes, sequences, and acts. While the correlation may be similar and obvious at the level of an act (Signpost), the clean division breaks down as you get more and more refined.

In Subtext you’ll eventually be able to drag and drop scene boundaries around your various threads—a visual reminder that how you tell your story is separate from what your story says (Storyforn)


Thanks for the explanation @didomachiatto ! So, four scenes, four conflicts in order, and the characters within the scenes do not matter. Got it!

Thanks for the response @jhull

Hey, so let me rephrase this to see if I understand this correctly.

The plot progression in dramatica has it’s logic at the stage of storyform. During story encoding and story weaving, the story points at finer resolutions are disconnected from the storyform because of some reason.

So there is the dramatica set of events, which is dealing with interactions of elements, issues and concerns. And then there is the story’s set of events which is the basically the world of the author’s imagination unfolding. The imagination is directed / predicted at the act / scene level by the storyform, but the actual words on the paper are much more free flowing.

Is that a fair summation of what you have said?

I have a few follow up questions too, which are all essentially “Where do we go from here?” A better question to ask is, Is there a definitive guide to writing scenes with dramatica?

Writing Perfect Scene Structure with Dramatica

Not quite. The storypoints at all all resolutions are connected to the storyform (they’re actually the storyform itself). Dramatica Pro/Expert only reveals the Plot Progression at the level of Signposts in the Story Engine Settings report (and anywhere else you see Signposts listed in an order) and at the level of the Variations in the Plot Sequence Report.

Plot Progression is an integral part of a story’s meaning just as much as the individual structural items (Concern, Issue, etc.).

The next version of Subtext reveals Plot Progression at the very bottom (Elements).

As far as where to go next, based on experience, I would just stick with Signposts and maybe one or two Throughlines at the Variation level. Anything more than that is honestly overkill - especially when you’re first starting out. If you work out your story at the higher level, it’s likely you’ll intuitively write functional scenes at the bottom.

Breakdowns at the Variation and Element level are hidden from new users to Subtext for precisely this reason. The tendency is to get lost in all the complexity and eventually literally lose the forest for the trees (and Dramatica’s biggest value-add is the forest).


Oh yes, this is what I am doing right now. I have used the Type level to have a high level progression. And using the Type / Variation (e.g. Learning / Fate, Learning / Progression) format from PSR to write scenes.

The Type level makes a lot of sense, and PSR nearly makes it a game of connecting the dots. The story does come alive. Sometimes it is surprising how some scenes are natural outcomes of a previously written scene.

This is exciting! What is the expected date of the release of the next version?

I had read the Writing Perfect Scene Structure with Dramatica article a long time back, and felt sad that what’s possible to be predicted is not available in any report. Element level details in a report might be too much to work with, but thinking in terms of those elements is only going to clarify the story.