Plotting Agents


Plotting Agents are designed to save you a ton of time when it comes to putting together your final treatment. Based in large part around popular paradigms of story sequencing, these Agents will do the heavy lifting of organizing all the work you've done so far in Subtxt.

Subtxt and Templates of Storytelling

Subtxt is definitively objective, unlike other popular paradigms like "Save the Cat" or "Hero's Journey," which are subjective interpretations of story structure.

By subjective, we mean Audience-based and experiential. By objective, we mean Author-based and intentional. You can layer any arrangement of sequences--such as a "Save the Cat" or a "Hero's Journey"--onto a Storyform developed in Subtxt, and the story's intent remains the same.

You can see this at work by simply selecting one of the Plotting Agents and viewing the results of the completed outline. While the superficial boundaries of "Chapter" and "Sequence" may have changed, the underlying meaning of the story remains the same.

Select another template and again, evaluate the results: same story, different wrapping.

The dividing lines between the "moments" of a story (Sequences, Scenes, Chapters, etc.) are arbitrary and ultimately meaningless when it comes to a story's inherent resonance. You can take any narrative developed with Subtxt (Four Throughlines) and filter it through any of these templates and the impact of your story will remain the same in every case.

Filtering Meaning through a Template

When you choose to plot with a template, Subtxt does not alter the storytelling work you have already done. Instead, the feature creates Moments in each Act that match the chosen template and weaves your existing work into those Moments.

For instance, in the "Save the Cat" template, the Midpoint correlates with the middle (third) Story Driver. If that Driver exists, Subtxt creates a Moment titled "Midpoint" and attaches the Story Driver to that Moment.

Similarly, the "B Story" in "Save the Cat", which attempts to describe the Relationship Story Throughline, is plotted before the final Story Driver of Act One in Subtxt to maintain narrative integrity.

The template also has sequences such as "Fun and Games" that are less clearly defined. In these cases, Subtxt creates a Moment with the corresponding title and weaves Transits and Progressions into a potential order within that Moment. You, as the Author, can then rearrange these Storybeats as needed.

A Treatment for Everyone Else

This feature is designed to help you present your narrative in a familiar and digestible pattern to your agent, editor, writing group, or friends who might not understand the intricacies of a Storyform. It allows you to focus more on what truly matters: writing your story.

The More Detail, the Better

Many of our Plotting Agents, particularly the Key Moments Agent, thrive on detailed story development. These agents are designed to work with in-depth breakdowns of your story's progression. If you've segmented your Overall Story (OS) Transits into detailed Progressions, you're in for a treat! This level of detail enables the Plotting Agents to generate all 28 Key Moments, adding depth and complexity to your narrative.

However, if your story is yet to be broken down into these Progressions, don't worry. Our system is designed to adapt. While not every Key Moment may be filled out in such cases, this doesn't detract from the overall completeness of your story. In fact, storytelling is an art that doesn't strictly adhere to a set formula. The absence of certain Moments doesn't imply an incomplete story. It's simply a different approach to narrative construction.

Remember, these Moments and the sequencing provided by the Plotting Agents are not definitive markers of a complete story. They are tools to enhance and explore the dimensions of your narrative.

Storytelling Templates

The storytelling templates available to you in Subtxt are:

  • The 28 Key Moments
  • Save the Cat!
  • The Hero's Journey
  • The Eight Sequence Method
  • John Truby's 22 Building Blocks
  • The 3-Act/9-Block/27-Chapter Method

If you don't see your favorite template listed here, please contact us and we'll do our best to add it to Subtxt.

These tools are designed to enhance your story, particularly when detailed Progressions are used. While our Key Moments agent optimally utilizes these detailed breakdowns to generate all 28 Key Moments, it's not essential that you have all of these Progressions illustrated for a complete story. Whether your narrative is fully detailed or more broadly sketched, the Plotting Agents adapt to your storytelling style, ensuring richness and depth without being restrictive.

Popularity is typically a sign of generality and convenience--and the above list of storytelling paradigms are no exception. Information on the various Moments found within each paradigm can be found elsewhere.

The 28 Key Moments of a Complete Story

Here, you'll find a Subtxt-specific approach to storytelling sequencing that marries logic and emotion, helping you develop all Four Throughlines of your story in a balanced and evocative way. Unlike many plotting templates that focus only on plot progression or character arcs, the 28 Key Moments approach is holistic, embracing the multifaceted nature of storytelling.

The 28 Key Moments of a Complete Story are part of a comprehensive template that outlines the pivotal moments in a compelling narrative. This sequence provides a roadmap for authors, guiding them through the intricate process of storytelling.

From the initial catalyst that sparks the story into motion, through escalating tensions, personal challenges, and game-changing events, to the final revelations and resolutions, each moment serves a crucial role in the narrative's progression.

This journey is not just about the events that unfold, but also about the characters' personal growth, their relationships, and the emotional undercurrents that drive them. This template serves as a beacon, illuminating the path to creating a story that is both logically consistent and emotionally compelling.

  1. "The Catalyst Event" - This is the initial event that sets the story in motion, introducing the main conflict and the characters involved.
  2. "Setting the Stage" - Here, the characters and their world are further developed, and the main conflict begins to take shape.
  3. "The Personal Challenge" - The main character is introduced to their personal conflict, which will challenge their beliefs and values throughout the story.
  4. "Rising Tensions" - The main conflict intensifies, creating tension and uncertainty.
  5. "Enter the Provocateur" - The obstacle character is introduced, presenting a challenge to the main character and adding complexity to the main conflict.
  6. "The Emotional Undercurrent" - The relationship story begins to unfold, adding emotional depth to the narrative.
  7. "Aftermath and Adjustments" - The characters react to the escalating conflict, adjusting their strategies and approaches.
  8. "The Game Changer" - A significant event occurs that changes the course of the story, often increasing the stakes and tension.
  9. "Defying the Path to Growth" - The main character resists the changes and challenges they need to face in order to grow.
  10. "The Collective Endeavor" - The characters work together towards a common goal, further developing the main conflict.
  11. "Turning Up the Pressure" - The obstacle character increases the pressure on the main character, intensifying their personal conflict.
  12. "Navigating the Maze" - The characters face a series of challenges and obstacles, testing their resolve and abilities.
  13. "Unspoken Tensions" - The relationship story deepens, revealing unspoken tensions and emotions.
  14. "The Terms of Engagement" - The characters establish the rules and boundaries of their conflict, setting the stage for future confrontations.
  15. "The Midpoint Shift" - A significant event occurs that shifts the direction of the story, often marking the halfway point of the narrative.
  16. "Emerging Challenges" - New challenges arise that complicate the main conflict and test the characters' resolve.
  17. "A Tender Connection" - The relationship story deepens, revealing a tender connection between the characters.
  18. "Escalating Tensions" - The main conflict intensifies, leading to heightened tension and uncertainty.
  19. "The Nudge into the Abyss" - The obstacle character pushes the main character towards a critical decision or action, often leading to a crisis.
  20. "Facing Dire Consequences" - The characters face the consequences of their actions, often leading to a low point in the narrative.
  21. "Plunging into Darkness" - The main character faces their darkest moment, testing their resolve and character.
  22. "The Game-Changing Event" - A significant event occurs that changes the course of the story, often leading to the climax of the narrative.
  23. "The Point of No-Return" - The characters reach a point where they can no longer avoid the main conflict, leading to the climax of the story.
  24. "One Last Push" - The obstacle character makes a final attempt to thwart the main character, leading to the climax of their personal conflict.
  25. "The Final Confrontation" - The characters face off in a final confrontation, resolving the main conflict.
  26. "Transcendence: The Final Revelation" - The main character experiences a final revelation, leading to personal growth and change.
  27. "The Dust Settles: A New Dawn" - The aftermath of the main conflict is revealed, showing how the characters and their world have changed.
  28. "Heartfelt Evolution: A New Direction" - The relationship story concludes, revealing how the characters' relationship has evolved and where it is headed.

Subtxt's 28 Key Moments of a Complete Story do not correspond with the 28 Signposts and Journeys of Dramatica, and therefore are not equal in how they divide up a story (even though they both divide a story up into 28 parts).

In Dramatica, you're supposed to look at a story in terms of Signposts OR Journeys, you're not really supposed to look at them both at the same time as they're appreciating a story from two separate points-of-view (like the difference between seeing light as either a particle or a wave). The idea of 28 sequences as a combination of 4 Signposts and 7 Journeys is a misunderstanding of the theory.

In Subtxt, the 28 Moments are a strict interpretation of only Transits (what Dramatica refers to as Signposts) to the exclusion of Journeys. They are a combination of the 16 Progressions in the OS and the 12 Transits in the other three Throughlines.