Scenes, PSR, & Thematic Elements

I feel like I should know this but I’m going to ask anyway.

In the theme browser as we work through the order of elements when composing a scene, (1) what significance does the placement of elements in the quad have and (b, always wanted to do that), what significance does their order have.

For example, the PSR lays this out as Knowledge, Thought, Order, Chaos

Obviously that’s two dynamic pairs…oh wait, thought happening…so that’s a Hairpin, right? So this is where you work with the other patterns like the Z pattern and the U turn? Hmmm a slide-bump-slide…okay, I see…

Man this is nerve wracking when you’re trying to line up all the details and remember everything you read in the book. I know it will get easier.

It is absolutely fascinating, how the theme elements separate from the character elements. I wish I understood the relationship between them a bit better.

I’m probably going to get this all wrong, so take anything I say with a mountain of salt.

Knowledge is what you know …
I found lipstick on his collar
Leading to what you think
I think he’s having an affair
Leading to
Ransacking his home office looking for receipts (chaos)
leading to
cleaning everything up and setting it to rights (order) so he doesn’t know I’m on to his infidelity.

Oops. I reversed Chaos and Order… let me try again.
I found lipstick on his collar
I think he’s having an affair
I enter his pristine office looking for evidence of his infidelity
I ransack it and leave it a mess, so he knows I know.

Hopefully, if I totally screwed up those examples someone way smarter than me will come along and point out the error of my ways.


Something else I’m not clear on. In my storyform, the thematic browser shows a quad with

Fate, Destiny, Prediction, Interdiction.

Whereas my PSR shows

Fact, Security, Threat, Fantasy.

So now that’s three kinds of quads, one at the element level, two at the variation level, right? Character, PSR, and Theme. Could someone help me differentiate these, tell me what the relationship is between them? Most importantly, how do they interplay during the writing?

This doesn’t make sense. Fate & Prediction are in one quad, and Delay & Openness are in a different one. Where are you seeing that? Maybe post a screenshot?

1 Like

I totally messed that up, fixing.

Okay, based on your screenshot it looks like an IC Signpost is The Past.

You don’t need to worry about the quad of Variations under The Past (Fate etc.). They’re not really “in” your storyform, unless your IC Concern is The Past.

The second quad (Fact etc.) is the one you explore … I’m assuming the PSR has that for whatever IC Signpost is The Past?

1 Like

You’ll want to read this all about the Plot Sequence Report.

And also I would search for Plot Sequence Report as this questions comes up a lot.

One last thing, and not singling you out, but only because it’s been a bit of a trend lately - please select a category when posting - saves me the trouble of having to manually do it all!

1 Like

Will do. (Assign post to category). Thanks for the heads up on that.

Ok just read a lot of NF posts and discussions here on the PSR. I think a light just went on.

So when you’re creating the story form, it’s like the track before the starting line. You’re defining what everything is and where it starts.

Then BANG the gun goes off and you’re inside the story. Now WHAT things are is interesting only insofar as they’re in contention with something else, which is why the comparative quads are pulled in from other domains.

And I seem to gather that the quad elements listed in Bob’s report are just guesses, or suggestions. As long as you understand that the variation presented by the PSR is in contention with a selected quad, you are free to choose the kind of tension you want to look at.

Am I getting closer?

1 Like

I would say you’re hitting the mark quite accurately.

1 Like


I made a little PDF of the PRCO stuff so I can see it as I’m working. Here’s a PDF. I’m using Omnigraffle a lot as I write because it’s a technical tool I’m really familiar with. If anyone wants the graffle, let me know.

dramatica scene structure.pdf (27.7 KB)

also, added a little quad of my own, thinking about ‘kind of scenes’ in the PASS quad, informational scenes, and impact (fun) scenes. I thought, is there a quad?

This is what I came up with for Kinds of Scenes:

Static information: the mind is measuring a state and learning something that requires a decision (not sure what the negative would be here)
Change Information: the viewer is persuaded rationally to make a change, or to reject change
Static impact: the mind ‘let’s go’ and has a pure experience, or the viewer is alienated and remains outside the experience.
Static Change: the viewer is changed without willing it or possibly even knowing it, or the viewer ‘wakes up’ and change fails

OK, going to spend the evening rereading Armando’s book…