Developing Your Story with Muse
We're often asked about the best ways to leverage Muse for story development. So, let's take a deep dive into a process that can help you refine and enhance your existing narrative, whether it's a play, screenplay, novel, or any other storytelling format.
Picture this: You've just completed a 90-page play. It's all there, but something's missing. Maybe it's the structure or perhaps a few crucial narrative elements. This is where Muse can step in to help.
Step 1: Chunk and Summarize Your Work
Divide your work into 10-page sections or "chunks". Why 10 pages? This size is manageable for processing and keeps the summarizing process free from any preconceived narrative theory, focusing solely on what happens in the story.
Next, use ChatGPT-4 to summarize each chunk. Ask it to:
Summarize the following and break it down into bullet points.
Bullet points help because Muse currently has an input limit, and this allows us to condense key information efficiently. We use ChatGPT as it will summarize the information without adding in any of the complex narrative concepts that Muse would add in if done within Subtxt.
Step 2: Import into Muse
With the bulleted summaries ready, create a separate document. We'll use this in Muse to delve deeper into your story structure.
Once you're in Muse, start by asking:
What are the four Throughlines of the following story?
and paste in about half of your document. The detailed response you get back from Muse is just the starting point to exploring and defining your story's skeleton.
Step 3: Define Your Storyform
From this point, you can further ask Muse questions about the Main Character (MC) Resolve, Story Outcome, and the potential implications of changing these aspects.
what does it seem like the MC Resolve is? What is the Story Outcome? What would happen if I changed the Outcome?
The goal here is to discover your Storyform, the underlying narrative structure of your piece. If you don't know any of these concepts, try starting with the Basics on Narrative First.
Step 4: Refine with Subtxt
With your Storyform in hand, you can then question how your work aligns with it. For example, if your Objective Story (OS) Throughline is in Mind and the OS Plot Progression follows a certain path, you could ask Muse to identify these elements in your story.
the following is half of an entire play. the OS Throughline is in Mind. The OS Plot Progression is Transit 1: Conscious, Transit 2: Preconscious. Split the following in half, and identify where you see these Transits showing up in the story.
Paste in the first half of your bulleted list and let Muse do its thing!
Muse can help you spot potential weak areas in the alignment between your story and its Storyform. You can then enhance these areas using insights from Subtxt.
Step 5: Work on Transits
Transits, the movements between different stages of your story, are crucial to your narrative. Muse can help you identify these transitions and even suggest improvements by rewriting parts of the story with specific narrative ideas in mind.
Transit 1 is supposed to be more about Activities and Integration. go back over that Transit, and re-write it with those ideas in mind.
Not sure what is meant by "Activities" or "Integration" in this example? Read more about Thematic Cycles in the Subtxt Guide.
Step 6: Identify Story Drivers
Finally, Muse can also assist you in pinpointing the Story Drivers, the events that propel your narrative forward. And if it can't find one, Muse can help you brainstorm possibilities that would fulfill this crucial aspect of a complete story.
can you identify the Story Driver that splits these two parts in half? It should be an Action motivated by Evaluation?
Story Drivers are always motivated by the Objective Story Problem of your particular Storyform.
Using Muse in this way makes you an active participant in your story's development. It's not about handing over the reins completely to an AI, but rather a collaboration, a dance, between your creative vision and the AI's narrative expertise. You'll also pick up a few nuggets of wisdom about how narrative structure works, enhancing both your story and your skills as a storyteller.
As context window limitations lessen and more affordable options become available, the process will become smoother. But for now, the Storyform approach allows you to segment your material and understand your story better. So go ahead, give it a whirl and uncover the hidden potential in your narrative!