Category Archives: Character Elements

The Main Character Element of the Hero Stereotype

Of all four attributes of the hero, his role as the Main Character is perhaps the most intriguing. As described in an earlier writing tip, the Main Character represents the audience position in the story, and is the character with whom the audience most empathizes, the one whom the story seems to be about.

In the Story Mind, the Main Character represents our sense of self, the ego or identity of the story as a whole. So, always writing about heroic characters who are both Main Character and Protagonist is a lot like telling a story about football from only the Quarterback’s point of view and never from that of any of the other players.

In real life we are always the Main Character in our personal story, but we are not always the Prime Mover out of every one we know. Rather, we are usually supporting characters in the larger Goal, such as in a business, club, or church group, only occasionally being the driving force, leader, or initiator who others follow.

When we assign the attribute of Protagonist to one of the characters in our story but the role of Main Character to another, we open up a wealth of variations that better reflect the audience’s real life experiences. Such arrangements seem far less stereotypical and far more personal.

A Good example of this can be found in both the book and movie version of the classic story, To Kill A Mockingbird. This story is about Atticus, an open-minded lawyer in a small Southern town in the 1930s and his young daughter, Scout, who is trying to understand what is going on around her.

Atticus is the Protagonist as he tries to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white girl.

Scout is the Main Character because we see this story about prejudice through her eyes – a child’s eyes.

Melanie Anne Phillips

Also from Melanie Anne Phillips…

Action & Decision Elements of Character Archetypes

Each of the Eight Archetypal Characters contains one characteristic pertaining to actions and another characteristic pertaining to decisions.


Action Characteristic: Pursues the goal. The traditional Protagonist is the driver of the story: the one who forces the action.

Decision Characteristic: Urges the other characters to consider the necessity of achieving the goal.



Action Characteristic: The Antagonist physically tries to prevent or avoid the successful achievement of the goal by the Protagonist.

Decision Characteristic: The Antagonist urges the other characters to reconsider the attempt to achieve the goal.



Action Characteristic: The Guardian is a helper who aids the efforts to achieve the story goal.

Decision Characteristic: It represents conscience in the mind, based upon the Author’s view of morality.



Action Characteristic: The Contagonist hinders the efforts to achieve the story goal.

Decision Characteristic: It represents temptation to take the wrong course or approach.



Action Characteristic: This character is very calm or controlled in its actions.

Decision Characteristic: It makes its decisions on the basis of logic, never letting emotion get in the way of a rational course.



Action Characteristic: The Emotional character is frenzied or uncontrolled in its actions.

Decision Characteristic: It responds with its feelings with disregard for practicality.



Action Characteristic: The Sidekick supports, playing a kind of cheering section.

Decision Characteristic: It is almost gullible in the extent of its faith — in the goal, in the Protagonist, in success, etc.



Action Characteristic: The Skeptic opposes — everything.

Decision Characteristic: It disbelieves everything, doubting courses of action, sincerity, truth — whatever.

Split Archetypes in Quads

Having split them in two, we can see that each of the Archetypal Characters has an attitude or Decision characteristic and an approach or Action characteristic. When we arrange both characteristics under each of the eight Archetypes in our Driver and Passenger Quad format, we get a graphic feel for the Archetypal Objective Characters and the Elements they represent.

Driver Quad

             Passenger Quad

In Dramatica, we refer to these 16 characteristics as the Motivation Elements because they describe what drives the Archetypal Characters.

From the Dramatica Theory Book

The Chemistry of Characters

Excerpt from an early, unpublished draft of the Dramatica Theory Book.   Many of these concepts were not included in the version eventually published:

To make an argument that a particular element is or is not a solution to a particular problem, Character make-up must remain consistent throughout the story.

In order for the argument of a story to be complete, all approaches to solving a problem must be represented. This is the purpose of Characters. Each Character illustrates one or more ways in which one might address a problem. These different approaches are commonly referred to as Character Traits. We call them Character Elements.

If we think of the traits as elements, we can imagine that the chemical compounds created by various combinations can lead to an extraordinary number of different “substances”, or personalities from a relatively small number of building blocks.

Picture the Author as Chemist, filling several jars with samples from a rack of elements. She might put a single element in one jar but a number of them in another. Depending upon the selections she makes, a given jar might grow cold or boil, turn red or blue, crystallize or form polymers.

Now suppose this Author/Chemist was operating under laboratory guidelines that she must use each chemical element off the shelf, but only once – in only one jar. It is conceivable she might put them all into a single jar, but what a mess it would be, trying to determine which element was responsible for which effect. The interactions would become muddled beyond understanding.

Certainly, in a story, such a hodgepodge would fail to fulfill the mandate of making a full and meaningful argument. No, if we are to cover the field, but not at the expense of clarity, we must examine the interactions of smaller groups of elements, which calls for several more jars.

Obviously, if we used a separate jar for each element, nothing would react at all, which means to an author that virtually all of the conflict within Characters would be lost with only the potential of conflict between Characters remaining. Certainly each element could be fully understood, and indeed, from time to time, an author may find good reason to keep a few Character elements solo, so that they might be absolutely defined. More often, however, it serves the story better to combine more than one element in more than one jar.

In this way, very specific combinations can be fully explored, and not at the expense of clarity.

Each of the Character Elements must be employed in one character or another. None must be left out. Otherwise the argument of the story will have a hole in it. None must be represented in more than one Character, otherwise the argument will be redundant, confusing, and become less interesting.

Even within these guidelines, a huge number of different types of Characters can be created. Yet, in many stories, we see the same Characters appearing over and over again. Characters like the Hero and the Villain and the Sidekick recur in a plethora of stories in a multitude of genres. This is not necessarily due to a lack of creativity by these authors. Rather, of all the elements, there is one central arrangement that is something like an alignment of the planets. It is a point of balance where each Character looks exactly like the others, only seen through a filter – or with different shading.

Characters made in this special alignment are called Archetypal. Out of all the myriad of ways in which Elements could be arranged, there is only one arrangement that is Archetypal. Is this good or is this bad? For the author who wants to explore Character nuances, Archetypal Characters are probably a poor choice. But for the author who wants to concentrate on Action, it may be a very prudent choice.

It should be noted that just because a Character is Archetypal, does not mean she is a stick figure. Archetypal Characters contain the full complement of elements that any other Character might have. It is the arrangement of these so that all Elements of a like kind make up a single Character that simplifies the complexity of the interactions between Characters. This un-clutters the field and allows for more attention to be paid to other areas such as action, if that is the Author’s intent.

In our example of the Author/Chemist, the jars she uses fulfill an essential purpose: they keep the Chemical compounds separate from one another. That is the function and definition of Character:

A Character is a unique arrangement of solely possessed elements that does not vary over the course of the story.

The last few words above are italicized because the stability of the arrangement of elements is essential to identifying a Character. If elements could swap around from Character to Character, the story would lose its strength of argument, since an approach begun by one Character might only be shown to succeed or fail in another.

When we, as audience, watch a story, we hope to learn that we should or should not use a particular approach, so that we may grow from that experience in our own lives. But how can that point be made if a Character does not finish what she starts. We may see the element as failing, but the argument is left open that perhaps if only the Character who started with that element had stuck with it she would have succeeded.


What about Jekyl and Hyde? Is that not an inconsistent Character? Yes, it is not. This is because Jekyl and Hyde are two different Characters. Two Characters in a single body? Exactly.

There is a great difference between a Character and the body it inhabits. We have all seen stories about spiritual possession, split personalities, or Sci-Fi personality transfers. In each of these instances, different Characters successively occupy the same body or physical host. We call these hosts Players.

A Player is a host in which a Character Resides

A Player does not have to be a person. It can be an animal, spiritual force, a car, a toy – anything that can be shown to possess a personality. Character is the personality, Player is where it resides. So, Jekyl and Hyde are two separate Characters who vie for the same Player’s body.

Conclusion to Objective Characters

We have now defined all of the elements or traits that can be combined to create Characters. We have also arranged these traits in meaningful groupings. We have described methods and rules governing the combining process. And, we have related each aspect of the Character Structure concept to the other aspects.

But something is missing. So far we have created a Structure, but it is a static Structure. We have not at all discussed the manner in which Characters interrelate and conflict. In effect, we have not created a set of Dynamics to drive the Structure.

As you may have noted, the Section headings of this book are divided into Structure and Dynamics, indicating that all Structural considerations will be explored before they are put into motion. There is a reason for this. When we had first completed discovering the sixty-four elements of Character, and had arranged them in the Author’s perspective, we thought that Character conflict would be the next door that opened to us. It was not. Try as we might, we could not perceive any kind of definable pattern that governed the interactions among Characters or even Character traits.

Instead, we found something most unexpected: that there was a definitive relationship among the structures of Character, Theme, Genre, and Plot. In fact, Plot did not just describe the Dynamics of Character, but Theme and Genre as well. So to see the Plot operation of Character conflict, Theme progression, and Genre perspectives, we first needed to finish our Structural model of Story, by building a Structure for Theme and Genre as well. Once this was accomplished we would then be able to discern and quantify the functioning of story Dynamics.

Therefore, we move on to the next set of bricks in our DRAMATICA Structure, edging ever closer to that elusive overview.

The Crucial Element

The point at which the Objective Story and the Main Character hinge is appropriately called the Crucial Element. In fact, the Crucial Element is one of the sixty-four Objective Character Elements we have already explored (in the Dramatica Theory Book). When we look at the Objective Character Elements as the soldiers on the field (from our earlier example), there is one special Element from which the audience experiences an internal perspective on the story. This is the Main Character position in the Objective Story, and the Element at that point is the Crucial Element. As a result, whichever Objective Character represents the Crucial Element should be placed in the same player as the Main Character. In that way, what happens during the Main Character’s growth will have an impact on his Objective function. Similarly, pressures on his Objective function caused by the story’s situations will influence his decision to change or remain steadfast.

We can see that a Protagonist will only be a Main Character if the Crucial Element is one of the Elements that make up a Protagonist. In other words, a Protagonist has eight different Elements, two from each dimension of character. If one of them is the Crucial Element, then the player containing the Protagonist must also contain the Main Character. This means that there are really eight different kinds of heroes that can be created. An action hero might have a Crucial Element of Pursue, while a thinking hero might have a Crucial Element of Consider. Clearly, the opportunities to create meaningful Main Characters who are NOT Protagonists are also extensive.

The Obstacle Character has a special place in the Objective Character Elements as well. We have already discussed Dynamic Pairs. As it turns out, the point at which an Obstacle Character will have the greatest dramatic leverage to try and change the Main Character is the other Element in the Dynamic Pair with the Crucial Element. In simpler terms, the Main and Obstacle Characters are opposites on this crucial issue. Often one will contain the story’s problem, the other the story’s solution.

In the Objective Character Element set, if the Main Character (and Crucial Element) stands on Pursue, the Obstacle Character will occupy Avoid. If the Main Character is Logic, the Obstacle Character will be Feeling. In this manner, the essential differences between two opposite points of view will be explored both in an objective sense, looking from the outside in, and also in a subjective sense, from the inside looking out. All four throughlines come into play (Objective Story, Main Character, Obstacle Character, and Subjective Story), and by the end of the story, the audience will feel that the central issue of concern to the Story Mind has been fully examined from all pertinent angles.

To summarize, a complete story requires that both the Objective and Subjective views are provided to an audience, and that they are hinged together around the same central issue. This is accomplished by assigning the Main and Obstacle Characters to the Objective Characters who contain either the story’s problem or solution Elements. The Element held by the Main Character becomes the Crucial Element, as both the Objective and Subjective Stories revolve around it.

The Crucial Element: Where Subjective meets Objective The Crucial Element will be an item which is at the heart of a story from both the Objective and Subjective points of view. How this happens depends greatly on the Main Character. The Crucial Element is the connection between the Main Character and the Objective story and makes the Main Character special enough to be “Main.” This issue at the heart of the Main Character is thematically the same issue which is at the heart of the Objective Story.

For Example: To Kill A Mockingbird Crucial Element is INEQUITY Inequity is the problem which is causing all of the conflict around the town of Maycomb. The trial of Tom Robinson brings all of the towns’ people into squabbles about inequity in the treatment of different races, inequity among the social classes of people, their levels of income, and their educations.

Scout, as the Main Character, is driven by her personal problem of inequity. This is symbolized most clearly in her fear of Boo Radley. Kept at the margins of the Objective Story dealings with the problem of inequity, Scout however comes to see her prejudice against Boo Radley as being every bit as wrong.

Can Two Characters Share the Same Traits?

A Dramatica user recently wrote:
Hello Melanie
I need help, I’m trying to assign characteristics to my characters, I have a multitude of characters, and many share the same characteristics but the software seems to only allow one character a set characteristic, example ‘temptation’ if I try to assign it to more than one character, it gets eliminated from the second.  This is a severe limitation as my characters are not simple archtypes, but complex beings, is there a way around this?
All the best
My reply:
Hi, Alice
Here’s some information to about characters and Dramatica that should solve your problem.

First of all, Dramatica has 64 elements from which to make up characters – they are kind of a like a spectrum of human qualities such as “logic” or “avoidance”

Stories are partly about making an argument to the audience that a particular trait is a good one or a bad one to have. To make that argument, only one character should have that trait at a time. Otherwise, the message gets confusing.

But, a character may have one trait, then drop out of the store such as traveling away for a while or dying, and another character may show up to represent that trait. This is called a “hand-off” because the original character illustrating the value of a given trait is replaced by another who carries on the “argument.”

Archetypes, on the other hand, are collections of 8 traits that all belong to the same “family” – that is to say they are all similar, just like you might group colors like Scarlet, Crimson, and Cardinal together in a family called “Red.”

So, archetypes are like primary colors, and as such, they do no need to explore each element independently because your readers or audience will accept that you aren’t going into more detail on characters for this particular story. This is useful in action stories or epic romance stories where the characters are no so important as the things that happens to them.

But if you want to fully explore the individual traits and get down to that level of human qualities, then you build each character one element at a time.

A character need have only one element to be a functional character in the story’s structure. And, you should never put an element and its opposite in the same character as it become very hard for a person to represent, for example, both “order” and “chaos.” It makes it hard for the audience to understand and rather grid-locks the character as they cannon fully embrace either of the conflicting traits without the other hobbling them.

If you do want conflicting traits in a character, keep in mind the difference between a character and a player. A player is just the “host” for a character – essentially a person, place or thing that can potentially exhibit (illustrate) the traits (elements) in action, so as to make the story’s argument about those qualities.

Normally, there is one character per player, but in stories such as Doctor Jeckyl and Mister Hyde, there are two different personalities inhabiting the same player. In such cases, each will have its own collection of traits, some or all of which may be in conflict with the other. But, they didn’t inhabit the same body at the same time (being the controlling personality, as it were).

And that is how elements work among characters as well. You may have a mob that is a “collective character” in which it is treated as a single individual player and therefore the individual members of the mob may all share the same traits, but single individual characters should never share traits at the same time as it splits the argument and muddies the message.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I hope this helps.


Four Archetypes

Excerpt from an upcoming book on story structure:

So far I have spoken of characters as representing or embodying fragments of the overall Story Mind, but that is misleading; characters are much more orderly than that. The term “fragments” provides an easy visualization that each character is a part of a larger whole and that perhaps they are different shapes and sizes. This is all true. But the shapes are regular and the sizes are in specific increments.

In this section we are going to introduce the largest of the characters, called Archetypes, and then in succeeding sections we’ll break them down into progressively smaller components until we arrive at the elemental building blocks of characters called, not surprisingly, Elements.

It is these Elements which form the bottom layer of the Dramatica Table of Story Elements and, in fact, provide the Table its name. It is at this level in which the chemistry of characters is born. Some elements combine to form complex aspects of the human psyche they represent. Others are like oil and water. A character may even exist as a single element, simple and pure, yet still advance a small part of the story’s argument.

But that is for later. For now, let us start at the top.

In the Periodic Table in chemistry, elements are arranged in families in which all of its member elements share certain attributes. While they each have individual differences, a family resemblance between, say, Fluorine and Chlorine is as hard to miss as that in some human family lines.

In a like manner, the elements at the character level of the Dramatica Table are also organized into families of similar traits called Archetypes. Each archetypal family contains exactly eight elements and, collectively, they form an entire facet of the Story Mind and, by extension, of our own minds.

The names of some of these archetypes are familiar: Protagonist and Antagonist, for example. But that creates a problem. The term archetype has been used by so many others, from Jung to Campbell, that it carries a great deal of baggage. The words Protagonist and Antagonist carry even more. So for Dramatica to come along and try to redefine those terms is to be fighting a lot of inertia and preconceptions.

Still, the traditional archetypes are looking at the same character functions as Dramatica, just through the obscurity of storytelling. So Dramatica is not so much redefining the archetypes as it is clarifying them. With that caveat in mind, let us proceed.

Each archetype exists to portray one of the major facets of our minds in a story. In a sense, each presents a different kind of argument, just as we work out a problem in our own thinking from several directions. Perhaps the two archetypes that most easily illustrate this point are Reason and Emotion.

The Reason archetype represents our intellect and the Emotion archetype, our passion. Certainly Reason and Emotion are two of the largest contributing factors in any decision we make in life. So it stands to reason (and feels about right) that they must be present in any story for its argument to be complete.

Turning now to the best known archetypes, Protagonist and Antagonist, we find that they are heavily masked by the storytelling concepts of Hero and Villain. While a Protagonist can be a Hero, that role is just one set of clothes it might wear. In fact, your Protagonist might as easily be a Villain. (And, in a like manner, an Antagonist might be Villain or Hero, for as we shall later see, both Hero and Villain are not archetypes but Stereotypes, which are over-used combinations of structural and storytelling elements working together.)

When you pare the Protagonist and Antagonist down to their structural bare bones, Protagonist represents our initiative and Antagonist, our reticence. In simpler terms, the Protagonist stands in for that part of ourselves that gets us up out of our chairs to get things done; to accomplish something. The Antagonist, in contrast, is the avatar of our desire to maintain the status quo, or more colloquially, to let sleeping dogs lie.

This fits in well with our common understanding of a Protagonist as the character leading the effort to achieve the goal and the Antagonist as the one who will do anything to stop him. (Note that while it stands for reticence, the Antagonist is not lazy or inactive, but rather exemplifies that counter-force within our own minds that acts in opposition to change: i.e. “If it works, don’t fix it.”)

We’ve just covered a lot of new ground, so let’s pause for a moment to take stock: We have learned that any entity in a story that exhibits a personality is a player. And any player that advances the story’s argument is also a character. Characters are made of elements, which are the smallest and purest fragments of the Story Mind.

Groups of elements share certain family traits. When a whole family of elements is represented by a single character, it is called an Archetype. Each archetype represents one of the major families of thought that go on in our own minds as we seek to resolve life’s problems.  So far, we’ve identified four archetypes: Protagonist (which represents our initiative), Antagonist (our reticence), Reason (our intellect), and Emotion (our passion).

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips

Change, Steadfast – Success, Failure

The following  excerpt is taken from

The Dramatica Class Transcripts

If you have a steadfast character and the story ends up as failure, you know they were not standing on the right spot. Its pretty easy to do for the change character. For change, if it is success and they changed, they must’ve started on problem, and jumped to solution in the end. So the MC will be on the Objective Problem element in build characters and the Obstacle will be on Solution.

In that case, the Obstacle was a friend trying to help the misguided MC see the light and change course, so the Obstacle was on the solution element all along. The main was on the problem and changed in the end. But if the change results in Failure, then the MC was on Solution all along, the Obstacle was on Problem, was a true foe, and the MC jumped FROM solution to Problem, causing the story to end in failure. Steadfast stories are bit more complex, because the terms “focus” and “direction” don’t carry any intrinsic positive or negative feel to them like problem and solution do.

In fact, it is the judgment of Good or Bad that determines which of the two elements the MC and OC are on in a steadfast story. Focus is seen as the symptom, direction is seen as the treatment. If you have a steadfast Main character who ends up still having their angst (bad) did they stick it out on the treatment or on the symptom? In fact, they are stuck with the symptom. So, they would reside on the focus element.   But if the character remains steadfast, and they are over their personal angst. then they are stuck on the treatment, which means they still have the resources.

Main Character, Obstacle Character – Problem & Solution

The following  excerpt is taken from

The Dramatica Class Transcripts

Dramatica: As you know, there are two types of characters we see in Dramatica Theory. Subjective and Objective. Objective characters are seen from the position of a general on a hill, overlooking a battle. The general identifies the soldiers by their functions and positions, not by their names or personalities. In stories, most characters can be looked at by their dramatic function. But then, there is the point of view of the soldier in the trenches. The audience experiences the battle first hand through their eyes. This is the Main Character.

And coming toward them through the smoke of the battle is another soldier. The smoke is too thick to see if they are friend or foe, So the Main Character cannot tell if they are coming with a bayonet to kill them, or a friend coming to warn them they are about to walk into a mine field. Obstacle characters can be friend or foe, trying to help or hurt, but the M.C. only knows one thing: the Obstacle is standing in their path. The choice then becomes to keep going that way anyway, and run over the Obstacle character, or to veer off and heed the obstacle’s “warning”.

Now, that “warning” is about a particular issue in stories. There is a central issue that is the source of the Main Character’s drive. In Dramatica, this is the “crucial” element. The software calls it the “problem” element, because it is this drive that makes the story’s problem an issue. Now, it might be best for the M.C. to change paths OR it might be best for them to keep on the way they were going. The general can tell from up above, but the soldier cannot. The soldier is like us in real life: they haven’t got a clue! So, there is a relationship between what the general sees is the best thing to do and what the soldier thinks is the best thing to do, because both are using different standards of measurement but about the same battle. Success or failure hinges on the soldier’s choice for the general. Personal fulfillment or continued angst are the stakes for the Main Character.

It turns out, that there is a relationship between the nature of the Main Characters Drive (Main Character problem element) and the cause of the story’s difficulties at large – (the Objective Story problem element). If the soldier decides to stick with their drive and it leads to success and fulfillment, then they made a pretty good choice, but any combination of Success or Failure and Good or Bad can result from Change or Steadfast depending upon what the author is trying to prove.

Now, this soldier not only has their internal personal drive (or problem element) but they also have a function in the battle plan, as seen by the general. So, in a sense, they do double duty. All the functions of all the soldiers in the battle are represented by the elements in the Build Characters window. This is where you build your Objective Characters. But the “player” or “body” that you choose as your Main Character must also have an objective element attached to them as well. So that the “player” has both an objective and subjective role within them. It turns out, that in some cases both the objective story and the Main Character are “driven” by the same element in other cases, the Main and Objective story are related so that the Main Character is driven by one thing personally, but represents the opposite element (solution element) objectively, or vice versa.

But problem and solution are not all. The “quad” of elements that contains the problem and solution also contains two other elements. The Focus and Direction.

Think of it this way: If Problem is seen as the disease, Solution is the Cure but Focus is the primary Symptom of the disease, and Direction, the treatment for that symptom. Sometimes a body (the story as a whole) can only be cured by finding the exact cure to the disease. But sometimes, no direct cure really exists. In that case, you might be able to treat the symptom until the body regains enough strength to heal itself. Often, the body (story) can heal itself if you just take the pressure of the symptom off long enough.

So, that is the choice of Change or Steadfast for the Main Character. Do they remain steadfast trying to treat the symptom or change and try to find the cure? This will affect Build Characters as follows: In a change story, the Main Character and Obstacle Character will each represent objectively, either the problem or solution element in the objective story as well. In a steadfast story, the Main and Obstacle will be on either the Focus or Direction, in Build Characters. This means that as characters, they are diametrically opposed in either case, but in one kind of story, the audience attention is on what is driving the Main Character and in the other kind, it is on the Main Character’s response to the problem. Or in other words, what the Main Character’s drive cause them to do, by means of approach.

Objective Elements and the Subjective Characters

Elements serve to show what the inequity looks like from all possible points of view and thereby hone in on the source: the one bad apple in the basket. All 64 Elements in this level must be represented in character form in order to fully explore the story’s inequity. Of all these, two special characters bear special attention: the Main and Obstacle.

The Main and Obstacle characters do double-duty by carrying the Subjective Storyline and also playing an Objective role by being assigned to two different players that contain an Objective function. The player containing the Main Character always contains the Crucial Element in its Objective role. However, that element does not always have to be the Solution. It might be the Problem, Focus, or Direction Element, depending upon the dynamics. It is this duality that makes those two players the linchpins of the story: the hinge upon which the Objective AND Subjective Problems and storylines converge.

The player containing the Obstacle Character also contains the Element diagonal to the crucial element: the other half of the dynamic pair. In this way as a Main Character or Obstacle Character comes to eventually change or remain steadfast, the subjective problem influences how that player will respond in regard to the Objective Element it also contains. Like magnets with North and South poles, what happens on the Subjective side will influence the Objective stand, and when pressures force a change in the Objective stand, it will influence the Subjective point of view. It is no surprise that this relationship between Objective and Subjective dynamics in characters has seemed so indefinably obscure for so long.

From the Dramatica Theory Book

The Crucial Element

As indicated elsewhere, stories are really about inequities and their resolutions. When the four principal elements are considered in this light, the Problem element appears more like the essence of the inequity. The Solution becomes the essence of what is needed to restore balance. Depending upon the dynamics of the story, one of the four elements is “lifted up” as the prominent point of view. It becomes the Crucial Element upon which all other lesser inequities in the story center. It is Crucial because if it comes into balance all the remaining inequities of the story are forced to balance themselves as well. If not balanced, none of the others can be resolved.

From the Dramatica Theory Book