Building Player Motivations
The Players tab offers you an opportunity to dive deep into the Motivations of those who populate the Objective Story Throughline of your story.
Player Motivations are always in context of the Story Goal. In the example above, "In regards to what has already happened" is a referece to a Story Goal of Past. This Storypoint (the Story Goal) can be found within the Storypoints tab of the Objective Story Throughline. If you have set a General or Story-specific Illustration in the Story Goal, Subtxt will carry this over into each and every Player for quick reference.
Motivation Elements are only available to those Players in the Objective Story Throughline as they represent that Player's specific function within the Objective Story Throughline. Players in the Relationship Story Throughine and those not set within the OS will not display the Motivations section.
There are two Motivations that are the key to everything in your story, as they represent the crossover point between Character and Plot. Signifying the two poles of the Argument of your story, these Motivations cannot be removed from their assigned Player.
In Subtxt, we refer to these two positions as the Pivotal Elements of your story.
Subtxt marks these two Motivations by coloring them Red in the Players view. If you Illustrated these positions at the time of creating your story (within the Premise Builder), Subtxt copies over that information into the appropriate spot in the Player card.
While the Pivotal Elements of the Argument also function as Motivations within the Objective Story, they are not theoretically the same exact appreciation of narrative. The Pivotal Element is specific to the global-wide Argument consistent with both Character and Plot (the crossover, or pivot, point between the Main Character and Objective Story Throughlines). The corresponding Motivation found here, in both the Main Character and Obstacle Character Players, is specific to the Objective Story Throughline.
That said, you can keep both Illustrations the same if you can't think of a way to differentiate between these two appreciations.
When illustrating a Motivation, consider the Player in regards to the Story Goal. For example, in the above Motivation of desire for the Pivotal Element of The Batman, the Goal of uncovering what happened (the Past corruption) focuses the Illustration.
One way of illustrating The Batman/Bruce Wayne's Motivation of desire in The Batman is through the Batman "wanting to improve things for Gotham's victims of crime." Identifying his Illustration of desire secures him to the Objective Story Throughline plot while simulateneously ensuring thematic integrity across both the Objective Story Throughline and the Main Character Throughline (as this is a Pivotal Element).
While his Illustration of desire as a Main Character Problem may have similar overtones, it is likely explored in his personal desire for revenge against those who murdered his parents.
The Motivation illustrated in the Player Card is specifically designed to relate to the Story Goal. The more you align these Illustrations with that Goal, the better responses you will get from Subtxt AI when you go to develop the Storybeats of your narrative.
If you're not sure how to Illustrate a particular Motivation, you can tap the Random Illustration button to the far right, and Subtxt will provide a random Illustration for you (Note: this Random Illustration is not AI generated).
While "hungering for a group" might not reflect the Batman/Bruce Wayne's role in the Objective Story Throughline plot, it is another Illustration of desire--which is all that really matters.
When you complete your Illustration of the Motivation, simply tap the "Up Arrow" located next to the Subtxt AI button. Subtxt will take what you have written and merge it into a comprehensive understanding of that Player's role in the Objective Story Throughline. In Subtxt, we refer to this transformation of Subtext into Storytelling "Surfacing Storytelling":
Here, you can see that Subtxt took desire, the Illustration of desire, and the Story Goal of the Past, and merged into one idea:
The Batman wants to improve life for Gotham's victims of crime. He believes that by uncovering the past, he can help to make Gotham a better place. He is motivated by his desire to help others, and his hope is that by doing so, he can make a difference in the city.
Note how in the above example, Subtxt AI added in the idea of the Batman being motivated by "his desire to help others...so he can make a difference in the city." This was not present in the original Illustration, but was an extension and inference from the Motivation of desire (of wanting things to be better). This is what it means to keep intact the integrity of a narrative structure while simulateneously allowing for serendiptious storytelling generated by artificial intelligence.
If we were writing this story from scratch we could easily tap the "Add" button and secure this Storytelling to the Player representing the Batman.
The Pivotal Elements are not the only Motivation Elements available. In fact, there are 64 total Motivations that you can assign to all your Players. There are several different ways that you can add Motivations: you can ask Subtxt to suggest from the list of available Motivations, you can manually Add them, and you can use Subtxt AI to interpret your understanding of your Player for Motivations.
If you'd like Subtxt to help you round our your cast of Players, tap the "Suggest" button to see a random list of what still remains to be illustrated in your story.
Here, you can see that Subtxt suggested a handful of alternate Motivations: Oppose, Avoid, Logic, and Temptation. Thinking of these in relation to the Story Goal, one can see how Logic might work as well for the Batman. We tap it to select it, and Subtxt adds it just below the desire Motivation.
As with desire, we can begin to Illustrate Logic ourselves or tap the Random Illustration button to ask Subtxt to generate the Illustration for us. And when completed, we can tap the Surface Storytelling button to round out our understanding of The Batman.
We can continue to ask Subtxt to suggest more Motivations for us, or we can add them directly ourselves.
If familiar with the 64 Motivations of the Objective Story Throughline, you can use the Dropdown menu to directly assign those Elements to a Player. Simply tap the Add button, and select from the list:
The Batman/Bruce Wayne is the Protagonist of The Batman. We know this is because is motivated both by Pursuit and Consider to unravel what has happened in the Past. Pursuit and Consider are the hallmarks of every true Protagonist. To make the Batman the Protagonist of the story, we can tap Add, and then select Pursuit from the dropdown.
Note how at the top of the Player card, Subtxt automatically assigned the label of Protagonist to the Batman/Bruce Wayne. Subtxt is smart enough to know that when you assign the Pursuit Element, your intention is to make this Player the Protagonist of the narrative.
We again illustrate this new Motivation of Pursuit and Surface Storytelling to finish our Illustration of this Player.
This new Storytelling for the Batman sounds even better for how he will carry out his actions and decisions in the Objective Story Throughline plot:
The Batman/Bruce Wayne is motivated by his desire to help others, and his hope is that by uncovering the past and making connections within a group, he can make a difference in the city. He stalks the criminals of Gotham in order to find evidence that will help him improve the lives of the city's victims of crime.
And this would likely be where we would stop.
While you can have more than three Motivations within a Player, you want to remember that there are several other Players in your story. By taking the remaining Motivations (those left over after using these three) and applying them to other Players you ensure a roundness to your cast that will avoid Players doing double-duty, or perhaps not doing enough.
Sometimes you might not know exactly what Motivation to use for a particular Player. You might have a good idea of how they will appear in your narrative, but you could falter when it comes to picking just the right Motivation. That's when you want to reach for the Subtxt AI button.
For example, let's add Selina Kyle to our Player list and then reach out to the Subtxt AI to help us complete her profile.
When we first add a new Player, it's important that we select the OS box to inform Subtxt that this Player will be a part of the Objective Story.
Adding a Player to the Objective Story will open up their Subtext with the message "No motivations assigned yet."
Since we're not sure which Motivations would fit for Selina, we would tap the Subtxt AI button, and then right in plain English how she relates to the Story Goal of uncovering what happened.
Note the focus on the Story Goal. It can help too, since the Protagonist is motivated towards the Story Goal, to describe a Player's interaction with the Protagonist. In this case, she causes him more trouble than he would prefer.
Tapping the Subtxt AI button asks Subtxt to then read the Illustration for clues as to what Motivation works best.
Subtxt responds with an ordered list of which Motivations are most present in the Illustration, from left to right--with left (the green one) being the most obvious Motivation.
Temptation sounds like a perfect Motivation for Selina, as she is both tempted to join in and can easily tempt those around her (including the Batman). Pursuit we would not want to pick, as it's already taken by the Batman, and it's best not to repeat Motivation Elements between Players (plus, she's really not motivated towards pursuing the Story Goal of uncovering what happened). And while she certainly does Avoid, the one that really stands out is Hinder.
Avoid, as we'll get to later, is reserved for the Antagonist of the narrative. Hinder is less about purposefully trying to stop something from happening, and more about just getting in the way and being an all-around nuisance.
Which sounds just like Selina.
Tapping both Temptation and Hinder adds those Motivations to Selina's profile, making it easy to generate meaningful Storytelling for her in regards to the Story Goal.
The only thing left to do is continue adding more Players until we complete our cast. We can always come back and add more Players too as we progress through the development of a story--we don't need to get them all down at first.
If you try to add a Motivation that already exists for this Player, you will be asked to pick another one. Only one specific Motivation per Player.
If Subtxt finds that you've already accounted for all the Motivations needed for a complete story, you'll be notified with a gentle encouragement to move on to the plotting and writing of your story.
If you try to add a Motivation that is the opposite of a Motivation already assigned to this Player, Subtxt will remind you that doing so would create a schizophrenic story.
The purpose of assigning Motivations to a Player is to provide an opportunity for the Author to illustrate the relative appropriateness and inappropriateness of different Motivations. If competing Motivations were present within the same Player, they would effectively zero each other out in the minds of the Audience thus reducing the effectiveness of the narrative.
"Opposite" Motivations are known as Dynamic Pairs in Dramatica theory, and can be found in the model diagonally opposed to the other Element. Oppose is the Dynamic Pair, or "opposite" of Support. Help is the Dynamic Pair to Hinder.
If you tried to add Oppose to a character already motivated by Support, Subtxt will give you the warning. You have the option to find other Motivations or you could remove the Motivation already in place and then add the new one.
If you decide you would like to remove a particular Motivation, tap on it and confirm the removal.
If you remove the last Motivation from a Player, Subtxt will automatically remove that Player from the Objective Story (signified by an empty checkbox in the bottom right hand corner of the Player card).
As mentioned above in the example from _The Batman, some of these Motivations when combined into the same Player, create what is known as an Archetypal Character. Pursuit and Consider make a Protagonist, Avoid and Reconsider make an Antagonist, and Help and Conscience make up a Guardian. While Archetypal Characters are certainly great learning tools, when it comes to applying practically to a story they usually end up too reductive and too constricting to be of any use to the typical writer. Their practicality is often tied to the Genre of the piece: the more fantastical the plot/world and the more general the character, the more you'll find Archetypal motivations (Star Wars, the Marvel movies, etc.). If interested, you can learn more about these combinations in the Series of Articles from Narrative First entitled Archetypal Characters
In Subtxt, the Protagonist and Antagonist of a story are indicated by the Players driven by Pursuit and Avoid, respectively.
When you assign either Pursuit or Avoid to a Player (or have them automatically added when you assign a Player to either the Story Goal or Story Consequence), Subtxt indicates their new role at the top of their Player card.
The Antagonist and Protagonist exist in relation to the Story Goal. Conventional understandings that the Protagonist is the "good guy" and the Antagonist is the "bad guy" do not apply to all stories.
For example, many would consider the Terminator the "Antagonist" of The Terminator. As evident in the card above, it is Kyle Reese that functions as the Antagonist of the story. His mere presence in the story is enough to prevent (or Avoid) Sarah from gaining control over her life.
The Protagonist pursues the Story Goal, the Antagonist prevents it and is aligned with the Story Consequence. That said, these Players may not even be fully aware that they are aligned with either one.
It's very important that you remain objective about these assignments, and that you refer to the Motivations in context of the Story Goal. The Story Goal of The Terminator is for Sarah to gain control, or command, over her life--not to simply escape from the Terminator.
In the context of Sarah gaining control over her life, those pursuing her are what make her the Protagonist of that story. The Antagonist then, the one avoiding, or preventing--even if unconsciously--is Reese, her protector. His very presence makes it impossible for Sarah to gain control over her life. It's only once he is dead and gone that Sarah can finally step up and assume her place as leader of her life.
The structure of your story says otherwise. 😁
The Player with the Pursuit element is the Protagonist, the Player with the Avoid element is the Antagonist. In addition, the Protagonist is more closely aligned with the Story Goal--as they are PURSUING the resolution of that Story Goal. The Antagonist is avoiding the resolution of that Story Goal and is more closely aligned with the Consequence.
So while, colloquially you might not think of your MC as the Antagonist, as far as the story you've constructed is concerned the Player playing both Avoid in the OS and MC is an antagonistic in so far as they are avoiding the successful resolution of the story.