Choosing the Right Pair of Elements

The Pivotal Elements are the heart of your story structure, representing the central motivations in conflict that drive your characters and plot forward. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting out, selecting the right pair of Pivotal Elements is crucial to creating a compelling story.

The beauty of Subtxt is that there is no one "correct" pair of Pivotal Elements - any of them can work, depending on the story you want to tell. Instead, the goal is to choose the pair that speaks to you as a storyteller and works best for your particular narrative.

In this section, we will explore 8 basic pairs of Pivotal Elements and demonstrate how each one can shift the focus and tone of a story. By examining these examples, you'll gain a deeper understanding of how Pivotal Elements function and how they can shape the conflict in your story.

So whether you're crafting a thriller, a romance, a comedy, or any other genre, the Pivotal Elements are an essential tool for building a strong foundation for your story. Let's dive in and discover how they can work for you!

The Scenario

In the following scenario, the Main Character (MC) is trouble-making puppy, while the Obstacle Character (OC) is a know-it-all cat who has fixed beliefs about playtime and responsibility. For each pair, we provide examples of how each character might react or behave given that motivation.

Choosing Pivotal Elements in the Premise Builder

Consider vs. Reconsider

MC (Consider): The trouble-making puppy, being opportunistic, would consider any opportunity that might benefit them, regardless of its consequences.

Example: The puppy considers sneaking into the kitchen to steal a chicken leg from the counter, despite knowing it's against the rules.

OC (Reconsider): The know-it-all cat, with a fixed attitude towards playtime and responsibility, might urge the puppy to reconsider their actions if they seem inappropriate or against their beliefs.

Example: The cat advises the puppy to reconsider their plan to chew on the furniture, as it is not a responsible or acceptable behavior for a pet.

Feeling vs. Logic

MC (Feeling): The sneaky and trouble-making puppy might act based on their instincts, feelings, or personal desires, rather than making decisions based on logic.

Example: The puppy decides to chew on the new shoes out of excitement, despite knowing it's against the house rules.

OC (Logic): The know-it-all cat is more likely to use logic and reasoning in their decision-making and share their knowledge with others.

Example: The cat calmly explains to the puppy why chewing on shoes is illogical and harmful, as it can damage the shoes and hurt the puppy's teeth. The cat also shares their knowledge about appropriate chew toys for the puppy.

Control vs. Free

MC (Control): The trouble-making puppy, being sneaky and manipulative, might try to control situations or other pets to gain an advantage.

Example: The puppy steals the ball from another dog during playtime to gain control over the game.

OC (Free): The know-it-all cat believes in personal freedom and would encourage other pets to make their own choices without external influences.

Example: The cat encourages the puppy's playmate to resist the puppy's manipulation and choose their own game, as it's important for each pet to have the freedom to make their own choices. The cat also shares their knowledge about fair play and cooperation to help the pets find a solution together.

Avoid vs. Pursuit

MC (Avoid): The sneaky and trouble-making puppy might try to avoid responsibility or consequences for their actions.

Example: The puppy tries to escape punishment by hiding under the couch after chewing up a pillow.

OC (Pursuit): The know-it-all cat believes in pursuing truth and facing the consequences of one's actions.

Example: The cat confronts the puppy about their misbehavior and encourages them to admit their mistakes and accept responsibility. The cat also shares their knowledge about appropriate chewing toys and redirecting the puppy's energy to avoid such incidents in the future.

Disbelief vs. Faith

MC (Disbelief): The trouble-making puppy may be skeptical and mistrusting of others, driven by self-interest and not easily swayed by faith.

Example: The puppy disregards a new toy from the pet store, thinking it might be a trap to get them into trouble.

OC (Faith): The know-it-all cat has faith in the inherent goodness of others and is willing to trust and believe in them.

Example: The cat encourages the puppy to have faith in the new toy and try it out, as it could be a fun and stimulating plaything. The cat also shares their knowledge about different types of toys and how they can enhance the puppy's physical and mental development.

Conscience vs. Temptation

MC (Temptation): The trouble-making puppy often gives in to temptation, driven by their impulsive nature.

Example: The puppy chews on a forbidden pair of shoes, knowing it's wrong but unable to resist the temptation.

OC (Conscience): The know-it-all cat listens to their conscience and resists temptation, making morally sound choices.

Example: The cat finds a piece of meat left unattended and resists the temptation to eat it, knowing that it belongs to someone else. The cat also shares their knowledge about healthy eating habits for pets to guide the puppy's behavior.

Support vs. Oppose

MC (Oppose): The trouble-making puppy might oppose other pets to further their own agenda or interests.

Example: The puppy steals a toy from another pet during playtime to increase their own chances of winning.

OC (Support): The know-it-all cat believes in supporting and helping other pets, even when it doesn't directly benefit them.

Example: The cat offers assistance to another pet who's having trouble finding their way back home, knowing that it's the right thing to do and that supporting others is a key part of their moral values. The cat also shares their knowledge about safety and pet identification to help the pet in the future.

Help vs. Hinder

MC (Hinder): The trouble-making puppy might hinder other pets to create opportunities for themselves or just for their own amusement.

Example: The puppy hides a toy from another pet before playtime, relishing the chaos it might cause and hoping it will give them an advantage.

OC (Help): The know-it-all cat is focused on helping other pets, believing in the importance of compassion and understanding.

Example: The cat notices another pet's distress and helps them overcome their fear of water, sharing their own knowledge and techniques to ensure the pet is comfortable and safe. The cat also shares their knowledge about swimming safety for pets to help the pet in the future.

In Conclusion

It's important to remember that these scenarios are just examples, and there is no right or wrong answer. The way we interpret them can be influenced by our personal experiences, beliefs, and values. You might find one argument more interesting or compelling than another, or you might want to switch the positions of the MC and the OC to explore different perspectives. What's important is to let your imagination and creativity guide you in exploring these scenarios and thinking critically about the choices we make in our daily lives. So, embrace your unique perspective and use it to come up with your own answers to these thought-provoking scenarios.

© 2023 Narrative First, Inc.