Tkad and prco patterns

Am I right to understand TKAD is always a hairpin pattern (T always in fixed attitude, K always in situation, A always in Physics, and D always in Psychology) and that PRCO is always a Z pattern same as Problem/Symptom/response/solution (having read this: “the problem arises with the introduction of an inequity and creates the potential for dramatic conflict / The symptom represents resistance to that inequity in the form of misconstrued focus/the response acts as the current to the combined application of potential and resistance/solution functions as the power or outcome of that dramatic circuit, the result of the first three interacting with each other.” And this means SRCA (the linear order of how events get presented) is what the author firmly decides on, and can be therefore any pattern.

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Listed in that order, yes, TKAD is a hairpin pattern. But that order doesn’t have any meaning; it’s just the order we use to discuss it. As you saw, it covers one dynamic pair first, then the other.

Same for PRCO. The PRCO relationship is still a little tricky for me, but as I understand it, they’re four elements in no particular order. Potential is what drives the story; Resistance is what holds it back; Current is what makes the story flow; and Outcome is, well, the outcome. :stuck_out_tongue: @jhull demonstrated at one point a story where you could shuffle the order of the four elements and get a very different narrative in the end.

Problem/Symptom/Response/Solution (PSRS) is also not an ordered series, to my understanding. You could have a story where the Solution is shown first, then the Problem. You could have a story where the Response comes before the Problem. What matters is whether the characters choose the Solution or the Problem at the story climax.


Thank you! That helps a lot!! Especially the part of understanding what is used at the story climax.

This article might help explain it all better: Writing a Perfectly Structured Scene with Dramatica. Everything @actingpower says above is spot on.

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Jim you are you suggesting in this article that PRCO is generally set up in the classic Z-pattern starting in the upper left corner?

I thought I read someplace that you said 95-95% of the time PRCO is set up in this pattern. I may have read that wrong but I can’t find it.


I also remember having read this and since I am following this advice the development process goes much better.

The analogy I found why (PRCO/KADT) works (for me):

K: I know what I would need to do to …
A: As I don’t have the means, I hesitate but then …
D: Something forces me out of my comfort zone and I try to do it …
T: …and finally ends in failure (or not very often in success)

If it ends in failure the loop repeats …

  • I know …

I found some cases where it works better to (flip Ability with Desire) change the order to KDAT.

But in general, it works very nice on the Element level but also on the Variation level. If you don’t know in wich order to go about a certain Signpost I would give KADT always a first try.

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For the most part, that works. There are some quads that end up switching that around, but generally speaking the Z pattern for PRCO, KADT. and 1234 is accurate.

Thanks for the confirmation. I too was using this as a template and just switching it up whenever it felt appropriate to the scene I’m designing.

One follow up question. If the KADT aligns in the same z-pattern along with the PRCO across the 1234, wouldn’t that lead to cookie-cutter scenes since they always begin with Knowledge and ending with Thought?

Your ideas on the PRCO in the opening scene from A SEPARATION were really interesting, but I noticed it seems easier to spot the Outcome shift to the beginning of the scene AFTER the scene has been created. I say this because I’m starting the 3rd draft of a screenplay and I’d like to mix things up by shifting the PRCO (and KDAT) around. The process feels very instinctual to create the 1st draft in the standard pattern (by the way the InstaScene works great for this step) and then try to mix it up in subsequent drafts to see if breaking the pattern causes more interesting scene construction. Any thoughts on this method?

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