Your Complete Story
- The Reason for Four Throughlines
- Examples of Good Throughlines
- The Difference between Main Character and Protagonist
- Brainstorming AI for Quick Throughline Development
- Clear Storytelling
In Subtxt, a complete story consists of Four Throughlines: Objective Story, Main Character, Obstacle Character, and Relationship Story. The absence of just one of these results in a story "hole" that leaves an Audience empty and feeling as if they have missed something vitally important.
The Reason for Four Throughlines
The Four Throughlines account for the four different perspectives where we can appreciate conflict:
- Objective Story (THEY perspective)
- Main Character (I perspective)
- Obstacle Character (YOU perspective)
- Relationship Story (WE perspective)
The conflict THEY experience is vastly different from the conflict I personally witness. While YOU may create problems of your own, WE struggle to develop a meaningful relationship with each other.
These four perspectives are the only way we can perceive conflict--and they are ALL the ways that we perceive conflict.
So you have to have them all to make a complete story.
Examples of Good Throughlines
Make sure when you adjust and redefine the Four Throughlines that you maintain the perspective of the Throughline. For example, when working on the Objective Story Throughline include everyone and be objective, for the Obstacle Character take care to illustrate the point-of-view this character presents to the story.
Objective Story Throughline
Focus on the general area of conflict for everyone involved. Try not to get too personal.
Rebels vs. the Empire When the Empire absconds with the Princess, Luke Skywalker and his friends must sneak aboard the Death Star to rescue her. Once freed, she--and the plans she secreted away--set the stage an ultimate battle between the Rebels and the Empire.
Renewal & Corruption in Gotham City When the Mayor is murdered, the vigilante Batman investigates alongside the Gotham City police force. Spurned on by the mysterious Riddler, the investigation begins to unravel a level of corruption unheard of, and at every level.
Integrating White People with Black People A weekend trip to meet his white girlfriend's parents turns to a nightmare when black photographer Chris Washington uncovers a diabolical plot to integrate white people with black people.
Main Character Throughline
Focus on the conflict intimate and personal to the Main Character and Main Character only.
Ellis "Red" Redding Ellis "Red" Redding is an inmate and prison-contraband smuggler serving a life sentence in Shawshank for murdering someone.
Phil Connors Phil Connors is a surly weatherman stuck repeating the same day over and over again.
Rick Blaine Rick Blaine is the owner of a nightclub and gambling den in Casablanca. He keeps to himself and "sticks his neck out for no one."
Obstacle Character Throughline
Focus on the impact or challenge the character attached to this point-of-view presents to the story.
Ben Kenobi Ben Kenobi is a former Jedi Knight who draws power from his belief in a metaphysical energy known as The Force.
Arthur "Boo" Radley Arthur "Boo" Radley is a recluse whose life is shrouded in mystery. Many treat him as if he were invisible.
Ned Logan & the Schofield Kid Ned Logan is William Munny's longtime friend. Well-situated and married, Ned leads a peaceful and simple life. The Schofield Kid is an inexperienced bounty hunter who can't see far enough to be a good marksman. Both Ned and the Kid are ill-suited to be caught up in the world of assassins-for-hire.
Relationship Story Throughline
Focus on the space between the characters and how that relationship grows through conflict.
friendship Two strangers grow closer together as they navigate the dangerous world of video games (Wreck-it Ralph).
camaraderie Fellow social pariahs find common ground in dropping out and dealing in and taking drugs (American Beauty).
superior/subordinate While seemingly equal partners in their defense of a court case, the superior lawyer holds a higher ranking than the subordinate one (A Few Good Men).
The Difference Between Main Character and Protagonist
If you used one of Subtxt's Narrative Agents to generate your Four Throughlines, you may notice something extra added to your original Story Idea in terms of the Main Character of your story.
This is a feature.
In order to help you write a complete story, Subtxt attempts to take your original concept and split it out into the Four Throughlines. Part of this process includes separating the personal concerns of the Player representing the Main Character from their role in the Objective Story Throughline. While there are many stories where a single Player is both Main Character and Protagonist (a Hero), there are as many stories (if not more), where those two functions are carried out by separate Players (Mad Max and Furiosa from Mad Max:Fury Road is just one example).
You can find this difference in what is illustrated here on the Complete Story page for the Player assigned to the Main Character Throughline with their Player Role listed beneath their name on the Plot & Players page.
This is because the Players Role as listed on the Players page is their Role in the Objective Story Throughline. Subtxt purposefully generates a random Main Character Throughline that is not a part of their role in the Objective Story. As strange as it may seem at first, try and see if you can find a way to start thinking of your character in this new light. When you just think of the Player assigned as Main Character one-dimensionally, you tend to collapse them into both Main Character and Protagonist (blending MC and OS Throughlines).
And again, if you absolutely don't like it at all feel free to tap to jot down some new thoughts in the Idea section and click the Brainstorm AI button. Subtxt will then attempt to take those ideas and come up with some new thematic material for your Main Character's personal issues.
Brainstorming AI for Quick Throughline Development
One of the core features of Subtxt is the Brainstorming AI tool, which can you be used to quickly develop the Four Throughlines of a complete story. In this guide, we will use the film RRR as an example, demonstrating how to effectively use Brainstorming AI to define each of the Four Throughlines, even when dealing with two complete Storyforms.
Step 1: Open the Brainstorming AI Idea Drawer: To begin, open the Brainstorming AI Idea drawer within the Subtxt app by selecting the Brainstorming AI button.
Step 2: Develop Ideas for each Throughline: For each of the Four Throughlines, write down a few ideas or keywords, as you imagine the Throughline. These don't need to be complete sentences and can be as simple as a couple of keywords. For example, using one of the Storyforms from RRR, your keywords could look like this:
Objective Story: "when the British abduct Malli, a young girl with a talent for artistry, from the Gond tribe. the tribe's guardian Komaram Bheem embarks for Delhi to rescue her, disguising himself as a Muslim man named Akhtar"
Main Character: "Bheem falls in love with the British lady Jenny, but because of his upbringing feels himself beneath her"
Obstacle Character: "Raju, regardless of what happens, always takes control of the situation"
Relationship Story: "Bheem and Raju, while made enemies by the British, develop a strong and meaningful relationship"
Step 3: Tap the Brainstorm AI Button or Hit Enter: Once you have jotted down your ideas or keywords for each Throughline, tap the Brainstorm AI button again or hit enter. The AI will quickly process your input and return a fully formed illustration of the Throughline, which can be used for further development throughout the rest of the app.
Brainstorming the OS Throughline
Objective Story: Following the abduction of Malli, a young artist from the Gond Tribe by the British, Komaram Bheem, the tribe’s guardian, embarks on a mission to rescue her. Disguising himself as a Muslim man named Akhtar, he sets off and discovers he must face off against a powerful British Officer with a strong desire to possess Malli and her unique artistic abilities.
Brainstorming the MC Throughline
Main Character: Komaram Bheem is a man of strong convictions and loyalty to his people and culture, but he is struggling to reconcile his love for the British lady Jenny with his feelings of inferiority, leaving him feeling uncertain and confused about his place in the world.
Brainstorming the OC Throughline
Obstacle Character: Alluri Venkatarama Raju is a natural leader who is confident in his abilities and is not afraid to make decisions and stand up for what he believes in, even if it leads to conflict. He is a strong leader who is willing to take risks and make bold decisions, setting him apart from the rest.
Brainstorming the RS Throughline
Relationship Story: Bheem and Raju start off as rivals, but eventually become close friends as they fight against the British. Through their rivalry, they learn to trust each other and rely on each other for support, and their friendship is strengthened by their shared experiences. In the end, they are able to work together to achieve their common goal.
The Brainstorming AI tool in Subtxt is an invaluable tool for quickly developing the Four Throughlines of a complete story, as demonstrated using the film RRR as an example. By simply jotting down a few ideas or keywords and tapping the Brainstorm button, users can generate fully-formed Throughlines that can be further developed within the app, making story structuring and development more efficient and enjoyable.
In some cases, you may find yourself wishing you could immediately toss out some ideas generating by Subtxt's Narrative Agents. While the AI-generated ideas can be a great starting point, they may not always align with your vision for the story.
If you find yourself in this situation, don't worry--Subtxt has a solution. Simply tap on the three dots at the top-right part of the screen and select Clear Storytelling from the drop-down menu. After confirming that this is indeed what you want to do, Subtxt will then go through any of the Storypoints or Storybeats located in that section of Imagining and erase any of the Storytelling.
This feature allows you to start fresh with your own ideas, without the constraints of any pre-existing ideas generated by the Narrative Agents. With this capability, you can tailor your story to your own unique vision and preferences.