With the foundation of your story set in Conceptualizing, the next step is Illustrating the Four Throughlines. Illustrating consists of two major components: Storypoints and Storybeats. Storypoints are those elements of a story that show up consistently from Act to Act. Storybeats are the "heartbeat" of a narrative, and carry those Storypoints from beginning to end.
While you can start from any point in Subtxt, the recommended approach is Storypoints first, then Summarize them, and then start working on the Storybeats. The more you can tell Subtxt what your story is about first, the easier it is for it to come up with great Storybeats for you to follow in your final outline.
A complete story is one where the story looks at conflict from four distinct perspectives. Subtxt continues this pattern of breaking down a narrative into the Four Throughlines:
- The Objective POV, or Plot
- The Subjective POV, or Main Character
- The alternative Subjective POV, or Obstacle Character
- The emotional relationship between Players (usually the Main Character and Obstacle Character)
These Four Throughlines are analogies to the four perspectives our minds take when addressing inequity:
- The Objective Story Throughline Plot takes the POV of They
- The Main Character Throughline takes the POV of I
- The Obstacle Character Throughline takes the POV of You
- The Relationship Story Throughline takes the POV of We
With Subtxt, you first want to work your way through each Throughline, illustrating each as if it were its own separate thread within your story. Afterwards, you'll take what you've written in the Illustrating section and weave them together into Moments (in the Plotting section) that you will eventually write from.
At the top of the screen, you will find a dropdown where you can choose between the General Encoding of a Throughline or a more Story-specific Illustration. This choice will inform Subtxt of the type of response you expect from the AI.
The General Encoding is what you described in Conceptualizing/Four Throughlines and should be used when you want the AI to use a general overview of your Throughline when helping craft a Storypoint.
The Specific Illustration will open up the option to choose specific Players when illustrating a Storypoint. Choose this when you want the AI to zero in on a particular Player when developing a Storypoint.
The checkmark denotes which selection you have made in this story.
If grayed out and unavailable, that means you have yet to describe a General Encoding for that Throughline. Return to the Conceptualizing/Four Throughlines section to add an Encoding for the unavailable option.
Throughout Subtxt, you'll find various Synopses and Summaries available to help you compact and more concretely appreciate what is driving confict throughout your story. These Synopses serve two important functions: 1) they help focus the Author and prevent them from getting too carried away with long-winded illustrations of structure, and 2) they help key Subtxt AI on the most important elements of your story.
With that in mind, there is a cascading approach to what synopsis Subtxt AI will use when helping you generate text. In order of what will be used if available, Subtxt looks at:
- the Synopsis of the Throughline (located within each Throughline's specific tab)
- the General Encoding of the Throughline (what is found in the Conceptualizing/Throughlines tab)
- the Story-specific Illustration
- the General Illustration
- the base Element itself
For example, if you have a General Encoding for the Main Character Throughline, but haven't worked your way through the Storypoints and created a Synopsis for that Throughline, then Subtxt will look to your General Encodings for an idea of what your Main Character Throughline is about when establishing both Storypoints and Storybeats. Likewise, if you have nothing in either the Synopsis or the General Encoding, Subtxt will simply look to see if you have a Story-specific Illustration. If you don't, Subtxt will "make up" a story and just use the random General Illustration assigned to the Storybeat or Storypoint.
While the latter may seem compelling, note that the responses will likely be something that has nothing to do with your current story.
With that in mind, the very best approach towards illustrating your story consists of the following steps:
- Write a General Encoding for a Throughline in Conceptualizing/Throughlines
- Illustrate the four key Storypoints for the Throughline (Domain, Concern, Issue, and Problem)
- Synopsize that Throughline in the Synopsis tab
- Develop Storybeats for the Throughline
By following this approach, the Author ensures a richness of thematic exploration to their work.
Listed on the Illustrating tab in Subtxt are the four key Storypoints for the Four Throughlines of a complete story. While seemingly vastly different in concept, they all refer to the same thing: conflict. The only real difference between them is the size of the conflict.
The Domain of a Throughline is the broadest understanding of conflict from that perspective. This is the largest scope of conflict you will find in a Throughline, and you will find them falling into four areas:
These Domains match the Domains chosen when you built your story and reflect the personality of the narrative.
The Concern of a Throughline is the type of conflict you will find from this perspective. This is the next scope of conflict one size down from the Domains. There are 16 Types of conflict at this level, and they will reflect part of the Domain while focusing the narrative more towards Plot.
Examples of Concerns range from the Past to the Future, Understanding to Obtaining, Conceptualizing to Conceiving, and Memory to Conscious. You can find the entire list in the Methods section of Subtxt (choose Type to see all 16).
The Issue of a Throughline is the thematic focus of conflict from this perspective. This is yet a more refined scope of conflict one size down from the Concern. There are 64 Variations of conflict at this level, and they will bridge the gap between Character and Plot through Theme.
Examples of Issues range from Self-interest to Altruism, Fate to Destiny, and State of Being to Sense of Self. The complete list can be found in the Methods section of Subtxt (choose Variation to see all 64).
The smallest most refined view of conflict from each perspective lies in that Throughline's Problem. While there are 256 unique Elements at this level, Subtxt compresses that set down into 64. Pursuing something within a context of Physics is so similiar to chasing after something within a context of Universe, that Subtxt refers to them both as simply Pursuit. This reduction simplifies things while making it easier for an Author to see the connections across Throughlines.
As this is the smallest scope of conflict in a Throughline, these Elements will correlate with the Characters of a narrative.
Examples of Problems range from Pursuit to Avoid, Faith to Disbelief, Chaos to Order, and Acceptance to Rejection. The complete list can be found in the Methods section of Subtxt (choose Element to see all 64).
As these Elements are closest to Character, you will also find a comprehensive listing of them in the Motivations section of Subtxt (along with examples from how they appear in various stories).
These four Storypoints also appear in the Storypoints tab of their respective Throughlines. The information entered here is reactive: meaning whatever you type here will also appear in the other section.