Throughline Concerns and Issues together in the same scene?

My apologies if I have worded this question poorly. I’m new to Dramatica and unable to open it right now as I’m waiting for the Mac OSX update.

I’m plotting my novel and wondering if there is a rule or good practice concerning putting the same throughline issues and counterpoints (and journeys and signposts) in a single chapter/scene versus spreading them out?

For example, the first few scenes (below) they are mostly intermixed, with the exception of scene 1 which has IC signpost and counterpoint together.

Scene 1.
IC: Signpost 1 – Understanding
IC: Counterpoint – Approach

Scene 2.
OS: Issue – Preconception
MC: Signpost 1 – Developing a Plan

Scene 3.
OS: Signpost 1 – The Past
MC: Journey 1 (Developing a Plan—>Playing a role)

Scene 4.
MC: Issue – Obligation
RS: Signpost 1 – Memory

Scene 5.
RS: Counterpoint – Closure
MC: Counterpoint – Rationalization

From here onwards they are all grouped together…

Scene #6
RS: Journey 1 (Memory—>Innermost Desire)
RS: Issue – Denial

Scene #7
OS: Journey 1 (The Past—>Progress)
OS: Counterpoint – Openness

Scene #8
IC: Journey 1 (Understanding—>Doing)
IC: Issue – Attitude

Scene #9
MC: Signpost 2 – Playing a Role
MC: Issue – Obligation

Scene #10
RS: Signpost 2 – Innermost Desires
RS: Issue – Denial

Scene #11
OS: Signpost 2 – Progress
OS: Issue – Preconception


I’m grateful for any advice and any correction to what I’ve done. Again, my apologies if I am totally off-track here!

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While you’re waiting for the update, I’d recommend reading this bookña-Mora-ebook/dp/B002Y5VTTU.

It’s on Kindle Unlimited for free, if you’re a Prime member, and on Kindle. A great book to have in your library. There are chapters that walk you through turning your STORYFORM into Acts and Scenes. It’s a great practical working-out of Dramatica theory.


Thank-you for the reply! I’ve read through (most) of the Dramatica Theory Book and watched the videos. I’m writing a novel and I see this book targets screenwriters. Would you still recommend it or is there perhaps another book out there?

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Oh yes! Novelist myself. It walks you through getting your story frame going. I think it’s much more helpful for novelists than anything else out there (Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat). I think it fits with your own method, as I see you trying to weave the Storyform into a story.


My method… yes–right, my method… :sweat_smile:

Yes, you’re absolutely right. I worked through the entirety of DSE (long-form) and am presently trying to develop the plot within Scrivner.

I’ll definitely read the book. Though, a part of me is so wary of getting caught-up doing something other than writing. I’ve spent the last couple years reading about writing, DSE, theory, etc. rather than writing my story. Those rabbit holes go soooooo deep!

So, if anyone else can answer my original question I’d be very grateful as it would allow me to (also) continue my free writes on the plot!


I know how you feel! This is the biggest danger of Dramatica for writers in my opinion.

I remember reading from somewhere (either the theory book or one of Melanie’s articles) that it’s better to not put Issue and Counterpoint in the same scene, because doing so makes it didactic. But I don’t think it’s a hard and fast rule.

That said, I think the more up-to-date consensus would be to try not to overthink any of these points because it’s absolutely overkill. In theory, the nature of the storymind is that if you get the major points in there, your mind will naturally fill in the gaps organically.

So if you’ve plotted it out and it seems to work, I would go with that.

That said, I absolutely second @didomachiatto’s suggestion of reading Armando’s book if you have a chance, as he demonstrates a number of approaches that you can pick and choose from. Seeing how someone actually illustrates the storypoints is invaluable in my opinion.


Welcome to the forum, Joel. I hope we collectively help you write your novel.

On to your question…
I think it’s incredibly difficult to answer this in the abstract.

First, that’s because Dramatica is about meaning, but scenes are about entertainment, so it can be hard to see exactly how they fit together.

Second, there are very few things that run counter to Dramatica, so these choices fall under “good practice” as you put it—and that can depend on your skill as a writer.

Anyway, here is an example that I hope answers your question. In the middle of Crazy Rich Asians the bride and groom go off for their respective bachelor(ette) parties. The women are given Permission (OS Issue) to go to the store and take anything they want for free. I believe Rachel has a brief conversation along the lines of: “Why are they taking things they don’t need?” (OS Counterpoint).

So, right there, both Issue and Counterpoint in the same scene. Now, it’s an extremely light tough and any more could have tipped it over into being didactic or on the nose.

As for mixing Signposts and Counterpoints, I think you’ll find that it’s unavoidable. Signposts can last several scenes, since they are perspectives on the inequity. And you’re going to have to populate those scenes with lots of other things, so you’ll find Issues, Problems, Consequences…


Many thanks to both @Lakis and @MWollaeger for your responses. They were excellent, and reminded me of what I’d read in the theory book. I’m now reading Armando’s book as well! :slight_smile: