The Conceptualizing section of Subtxt is where you form the foundation for the meaning of your story. This is where you can change the title, adjust the logline, and jot down a quick sketch of your story's Four Throughlines.

Pretty basic stuff. 😁

Conceptualizing Your Story

Title: This is where you keep track of the title of your story. Don't worry if you can't come up with something at first. Leave it blank, and once you have developed enough of your story, Subtxt AI can help generate some ideas for you.

If you don't see the Generate Title Ideas AI button, just know that you have a bit more work to do first.

Plot Summary: The Plot Summary in Subtxt is where you keep the 400-500 word synopsis of the plot (Objective Story Throughline) of your story: perfect for a quick overview of what your story is all about. Again, as with the Title, Subtxt can help you generate this paragraph but only after you've illustrated at least two Story Drivers in the Objective Story Throughline.

Subtxt is a reactive writing tool—which means it responds to your intent across the entire story, and in every other view. You don’t have to hit Save all the time, nor do you have to Find and Replace when you decide you want to call your character something else. Make the change and Subtxt responds accordingly—giving you more time to focus on writing your story.

Narrative Personality

The section of this first look at your story is the Narrative Personality, or Genre, of your work. In Subtxt, Genre is more than a simple classification in your favorite streaming service--it's a classification of your story's personality.

Just above the grid of the Four Throughlines, you'll find a dropdown selection menu where you can add different Genres to your story. These are important as they clue Subtxt in to the kind of story you want to tell. When it comes time for Subtxt to respond with some ideas from the AI, the application will gear its responses to the types of Genres you add in this section.

Selecting Genres for Your Story

Note that while you can add as many as you want, the most you really want to shoot for is just two. Anything beyond that will likely be less beneficial than if you did nothing at all.

The Four Throughlines

Every complete narrative consists of Four Throughlines. We say narrative because a single story can contain several different narratives (think Lord of the Rings). Nine times out of ten—ten times if this is your first time writing with Subtxt—your one story will consist of one narrative, which means one set of Four Throughlines.

In practical terms, the way these Four Throughlines work in a story is:

  • the Objective Story Throughline is the plot
  • the Main Character Throughline is who the Audience identifies with the most
  • the Obstacle Character Throughline has a different way of doing things
  • the Relationship Story Throughline is most often the bond between the Main Character and Obstacle Character

You must cover all Four Throughlines to create a complete story. Leave one out, and you leave your Audience wanting; leave two, and you leave your Audience out altogether.

At the heart of every complete story is a single inequity. This inequity is indescribable—if it were, we wouldn't need to go through the trouble of writing a story about it. Instead, we talk around inequity by taking four distinct points-of-view. By illustrating what the inequity looks like from these different perspectives, we communicate the essence of our story, and we lay the foundation for a meaningful Premise.

The relationship between these Four Throughlines in the grid above sets the personality of the story. For instance, in the above example from Aliens, the juxtaposition of the Main Character Throughline in Universe (upper left) and the Objective Story Throughline plot in Physics (upper right) sets the personality of a Sci-Fi Action story. Most Sci-Fi Action stories focus conflict in the plot along physical conflict (surviving and exterminating the aliens) and the personal issues of the Main Character in some sort of externalized situation (Ripley has been dead for 50 years).

In the example below, the Narrative Personality of Get Out positions the Objective Story Throughline plot in Psychology and the Main Character Throughline in Mind. This combination is often found in Psychological Thrillers, especially one where the Main Character struggles to overcome some fixed mindset (Chris feels he's guilty of his mom's death).

The Narrative Personality of Get Out

For a completely different personality, check out the positioning of the Objective Story Throughline plot in Mind and the Main Character Throughline in Physics for the 1950s classic Cyrano de Bergerac.

The Narrative Personality of Cyrano de Bergerac

This arrangement is why the film feels so different than anything else you might see nowadays--even the remakes tend to move these Throughlines around, as this arrangement is the personality of a Dramatic Play. Plays perform better on stage as the characters can pontificate about their fixed mindsets directly (OS Throughline Mind), whereas Sci-Fi Action films feel at home in the Physics Domain.

© 2022 Narrative First, Inc.