You can only see three

Just tried an experiment, to understand Melanie’s point that when you stand on a quad, you can only see three, you can’t see the element that is your current POV. I added attempting to identify conflicts. Come with me now, as we circle the Wisdom-Enlightenment-Experience-Skill quad. Let me know what you think.

from experience, they can see enlightenment,
skill and wisdom. it’s why they’re going through
the experience, to get to those. It may create
conflict because there’s something selfish
about pursuing experience for those reasons.

from enlightenment, they can look back
on the experience that got them there,
the skill they used and improved
and the wisdom they now have. They
may have a new understanding but
it may have cost them too much to get there,
and others may not take your enlightenment
seriously, and it may disrupt the social order.

from skill, they use their experience
to give their best performance, and
may temper it with wisdom, and may
be so good they rely on the Force
rather than just skill. Their skill
may create fear, or jealousy, or
make someone competitive, Salieri.

from wisdom, they may balance their
experience, see the relative value of their
skill and see enlightenment as just
another stage. This may create
conflict with those who have not achieved
wisdom and who may regard it as
arrogant or disconnected. They
may argue it’s not wisdom, it’s foolishness.


It’s like standing on the surface of the earth and seeing the universe move around you without realizing that the ground you are standing on is also moving. You “freeze” your position on the earth so that, from your relative position, the entire universe appears to be revolving around you.

Or if you “freeze” your position of being within your own body but do not freeze the position of the earth, then suddenly you’re not moving around on the surface of the earth, but rather you appear to be turning the entire earth beneath your feet as you walk from one place to another!

In that way, I’d think one might see experience as frozen even while gaining (or losing) experience. And then the set of skills needed would appear to change accordingly. For instance, if one freezes experience while gaining experience, and the skill set needed remains unchanged, the one who is gaining experience will see the skill set as easier and easier to obtain as their experience gets them closer. If losing experience, they will see the skill set as harder and harder to obtain, even though skill remains unchanged.

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so you’re arguing for a more technical, plus or minus view on the ‘other three elements.’ I can see that.

It was a quick response, but more or less that’s how I interpret it.

Considering Wisdom, skill, experience, and enlightenment are thematic explorations/judgments, it might have been better to say that freezing a moving experience might make an unchanging skill seem more or less important.

What a GREAT example!! It would be awesome to go through all the Elements in the model and do the same thing.

And @Greg too – I love the visual analogy as well. I’ve always used that “Well, you’re standing on it so you don’t consider it” line, but having that visual makes it so much easier to understand.


Indeed. I wonder if it would be different on each throughline? This is the “they” POV, Overall Story.

Hey nice to know I got this one closer!

From the GetSchwiftyPedia:

Quadhandling is the skill of knowing what the list of treatments is, and which treatments to bring in which situations.

Is there a way this can be used to get around one’s own blind spots if you find yourself writing about the same kinds of things you struggle with and need to choose a storyform or want to do a litmus test on what you’ve got?

I’d think that such a litmus test would be particularly useful for the MC throughline since it’s so easy to get stuck thinking of the story from a subjective POV. If I’ve had the same kind of conflict as my MC, then it may be difficult to choose the right Elements due to personal blind spots.

Perhaps if you’re looking at a quad for MC that mostly feels right except for 1 element, that might be the author and/or MC’s blind spot. I’m not sure what you’d do with that-- try assigning it as MC Problem?

I’ve found that if I’m having trouble not thinking like my MC, then one of two things seems to work for me:

  1. I’ll either mark what I believe to be the MC Problem actually as the MC Focus, or
  2. I’ll find the Problem/Drive of the IC and determine whether I believe that the IC has Changed.

These have usually worked for me, but you’re mileage may vary. I suspect the reason that it seems to work, though, might be because the IC is a “You” perspective, which likely doesn’t look too different, from the MC perspective and the Author’s view.

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This is interesting (can’t see the element you’re standing on), but I don’t understand the applicability to the storyform and encoding.

By saying “if you’re standing on one element of the quad, you can only see the other three,” does the “you” in that statement refer to personal perspective, ergo the MC Throughline?

Is it just another way of saying, “you can’t see what’s causing you trouble, because you’re in the middle of it, you have to look to the neighboring elements” ? So it’s like the MC can’t solve the MC Problem right away, because at first it can only see Symptom and Response, and only later it can identify Problem and Solution?

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I’d say it refers to the perspective in question. If I/You/We/They are standing on this element…

For one, it’s a perspective on the problem. It’s saying when there’s an inequity among K, T, A, and D, the mind is saying one of these is not a problem. Saying one is not a problem is akin to standing on it. From that perspective, you are watching the other three elements flying all around (like being on earth and watching the sun cross the sky). I’m a little hazy on the theory here, but basically the mind is going to combine one set and divide the other. It’s this combining and parsing that makes one side look like a measuring stick.

I leave all of that to the storyform to handle, but if I considered it specifically while writing, I would think of standing on K as not seeing that K is the problem which keeps the character from considering T. Instead, the perspective looks at A and D and decides that balancing those two will bring everything into alignment, so it tries to align A and D until the problem is solved or it sees that it can step on T.

Back to my analogy, if you’re looking at the sun and wondering why it rises in the east and sets in the West, it’s because you’re looking at the motion of the sun (focus) instead of the earth (problem). You can go about coming up with explanations for that, but you’ll never fully explain it until you see that the earth is moving too.

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Great exercise @GetSchwifty

Remembers me on the Emotional Equations from Chip Conley (Joy = Love + Fear).

Example for Being: Desire is build of Thought plus Knowledge minus Ability

or to put it into a little story…

Jacks Painfull Desire: Jack has read all the books about screenwriting, he even learnt dramatica (Knowledge) but he cant bring the damn screenplay on paper (Ability) and starts to figure changing the subject (Thought). But it doesn’t work like this: You cant change your passion like underwear.


This seems to be a good exericse to get a better grip on the issues…

The examples below are some exercises using diffrent sources … loglines, books, newspaper, quotes, proverbs

Young men from Eritrea
Future/Openness = They flee from the military service (Choice) that can last forever (Preconception) and a future that consists only of waiting (Delay)

Nicks Challange
Present/Attempt = Cycling up a steep, long mountain (Work) always keeping stoically an eye on the next two meters (Repel) if you manage every single meter, you’ll manage the mountain (Attraction)

Hope for Peace
Progress/Security = The people of the country fantasize about the possibilities of new freedom (Fanatsy) as the President signs the agreement (Fact) to relax the numerous sanctions (Thread) - until they are taught better.

New champions
Subconcious/Dream = They dream to win with their football team the championship (Hope), of a real love (Denial) and of a better life waiting somewhere (Closure).

Big International Art Fair
Preconcious/Worry = Everyone knows the price (Value), but above all nobody cares much (Confidence) about the real value (Worth).

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Very nice. Quad study repays the work, but it takes awhile to get the hang of it. Horizontal is temporal, vertical is spatial…

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This is how I’m starting to think…stay tuned on this, I’m re-reading some things and will see if I can make an index.

Quad appreciations should be like a catalog of algorithms. I use this one, in these conditions. I input this, I produce this, which I look at in this way, and use in this way, expecting these results. Simple.

For what it’s worth this appreciation has a name in the Theory:

It’s the Independent pseudo-objective view, and it looks like this:

(different quad, obviously)

doubt, investigation, appraisal, reappraisal.

from doubt they can see investigation, appraisal and reappraisal. they made an initial appraisal, that first impression you always trust, but now it’s eroding with new evidence, and after reappraisal you need to investigate to get the real picture.

from investigation you can see doubt, appraisal and reappraisal. Now you’re pushing ahead, pushing past doubt about the success of your effort, past your embarrassing mistaken first appraisal and being guided by your reappraisal that takes into account new information.

from appraisal you can see doubt, investigation, reappraisal. Doubt is a small voice but you ignore it, as the context and appearances all seem right, investigation would have been rude, inappropriate, but doubt keeps eating at you and you can sense a reappraisal is coming, you’re just trying to put it off as long as you can.

from reappraisal you can see doubt, investigation, appraisal. Your appraisal started out great and then you got to watch it erode as you learned more and doubt built up and now an intrusive investigation looks like your only option.

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Here’s an exercise in support of the first exercise. Be even more specific:

what is it blind to
why is it blind to it
what would make it see it more clearly
why won’t it do that

for each component of the quad.

I guarantee you it will generate scene ideas.

@prish one line comment made me think about this more last night. What we’re blind to,
it tells you everything good and bad about us.

Was scribbling this morning and found myself writing this note:

the ‘blind’ spot is blind because it’s the thing being expressed, but it’s expressed as something.

Doubt is expressed as investigation, appraisal, reappraisal.

Investigation is expressed as doubt, appraisal, reappraisal.

and so on. as usual if you can find that key phrase it unwraps what Dramatica is getting at.

In the Star Trek example, Kirk’s doubt, which Prish noticed was absent–in this case his LACK of doubt, was expressed as investigation, appraisal, reappraisal. It’s why you don’t need to mention his lack of doubt at all.

It’s ‘the blind spot’ because you can’t see behind your own eyes.



work, attempt, attract, repel.

from work, they can see attempt, attraction
and repulsion. To get a job done they
try something outside their experience, focusing on the
things that attract them and pushing back
against the things that are pushing them away.

from attempt, they can see work,
attraction, repulsion.
they stop their social lives and intellectual
lives to go to work at something they
do well,
while the idea of working attracts them
as a change, actually doing it every day is harder
than they thought.

from attraction, they can see work, attempt,
something that looked like fun and seemed
to be what they knew how to do, turned out to be
harder to do than they thought and possibly
more than they can handle.

from repulsion, they can see work, attempt,
they’re told to keep doing their job
and discouraged from trying a new way
that looks good to them.

…these are actually kind of hard to do. it feels like brain gymnastics as you’re twisting around how to express the idea.

openness, choice, delay, preconception.

from openness, they can see choice, delay
and preconception.
he lets go of a belief because of social pressure and delays
making a choice to consider others feelings.

from choice, they can see openness,
delay, preconception.
he re-evaluates his relationship with someone
causing him to delay a promise because
it would violate a principle.

from delay, they can see openness, choice,
his choice to re-evaluate their relationship, citing
his deeply held beliefs, puts a crimp in their plans.

from preconception, they can see openness,
choice, delay.
he wasn’t about to re-evaluate the initial plan,
whatever the new data was, because a choice
still needed to be made immediately.