Collaborating with the AI

Developing a story with Subtxt AI is no different than writing with a friend, or a team of writers. You need to be able to get your ideas across clearly and concisely, without going on and on exploring every single avenue of thought that pops into your head.

Keeping It Concise and Clear

Throughout Subtxt, those inputs for Storytelling and Subtext that are tied to an AI augmentation will notify you when you've written too much.

Too Much Storytelling

When you see this red number in the bottom right hand corner, know that you've extended your thoughts for this Storypoint or Storybeat beyond what the AI can handle.

You know that feeling when a friend asks you to look over their story, or some ideas for a story, and they give you pages and pages of notes that could stand a lot of editing? This is the same thing...only it's about working with a backend language system, rather than a living, breathing person.

Though really, it's the same idea.

The more concrete and concise you can be, the better results you will get from the AI.

While it was painful to get rid of some of the more broader ideas presented in the first version of the Storytelling example above, cleaning it up and getting to the heart of the matter really helped me focus in on what is most important for this Storybeat:

Just Enough Storytelling

If you go above and beyond the limit know that, while Subtxt will save your information, this paticular set of Storytelling will not be used when it comes to summarizing Storypoints or brainstorming ideas for your Storybeats. The system will default to a generic understanding of your Storypoint or Storybeat and you will miss out on making the story uniquely your own.

Don't Make it Too Short

That said, if you err on the side of caution and don't write enough, the AI will find it difficult to give anything constructive back to you. GPT-3 is all about human interaction and communication. The better you can hit that balance between too long and not enough, the better the collaboration experience will be for you.

Limitless Storytelling

Every time you click the AI DNA icon in Subtxt you're going to receive back something different. If you don't like what you get, try again!

In fact, we've found that the AI tends to give you the easiest and quickest ideas first--almost like it's trying to take the easy way out, and not think too much about it (like most writers!). You will find that a second tap on the AI buttons will often generate something much more imaginative than the first set of responses.

Trying out different Illustrations from the dropdown, or entering Story-specific Illustrations, will also help when it comes to finding something perfect for your story. With the Unlimited Plan, you can tap that button over and over and over again until you stumble upon just the right answer.

This is also why there currently is no "1-button" complete story option (even though many writers ask for it!). While we could conceivably write the whole thing for you, the human-interaction-element (you) is extremely important to us. Not to say that we won't want to add that sometime in the future, but for now--it's You and AI.

Writing Story-specific Illustrations

When working with Subtxt, you will find insightful and enlightening responses even when just using the drop-down suggestions in the General Illustrations. That said, there will be times when you want even greater control and that’s where the Story-specific Illustrations come into play.

A General Illustration in Subtxt

Often, you’ll find a General Illustration that refers to “someone” or “something” or even “a group.” And while you can submit suggestions for us to add more specific Illustrations to Subtxt, you can skip past the approval process and replace those words right in Subtxt by editing the Story-specific version of the same Illustration.

Simply tap on the Story-specific section and replace those words with something more appropriate and focused for your story.

A Story-specific Illustration in Subtxt

When writing a Story-specific Illustration take care not to venture too far away from the original intent of the General Illustration. Don’t add character names to the front of the Illustration, and try not to alter too much the meaning of what was behind the General Illustration.

An Example of What Not to Do for a Story-specific Illustration

The General Illustrations in Subtxt have been fine-tuned to allow the greatest amount of leeway in interpretation while still maintaining the integrity of meaning behind the Illustration. If you modify them too much, you risk losing clarity of your story’s message (i.e., you will break story structure).

To ensure that you’re getting the most out of Subtxt, try and stay as close to the General Illustrations as possible.

An Acceptable Alteration of a General Illustration in Subtxt

Behind the scenes, we take care of adding appropriate character names, descriptions, and relevant thematic material to return the very best response possible from the AI. Why? Because the more you focus on writing these Illustrations as they appear, the more you develop your own intuitive sense of story. Working with Subtxt is more than generating meaningful responses—working with the application as intended actually fine-tunes the way you think about narrative, which in turn will make you a better storyteller.

Grab The Very Best Ideas

The very best way to use Subtxt AI is to generate a bunch of different ideas, each based on different Illustrations, Merge them into one cohesive thought, and then tap Continue to see what comes next.

If you take this approach for every Storybeat, we guarantee that you will end up with a complete and meaningful story.

  1. Set a General Illustration, or Story-specific one, and then tap the AI
  2. Tap the "Heart" icon to save the ideas that strike you as interesting.
  3. Set a different Illustration, and then tap the AI again, saving the ones that work

What is really great about this approach is that Subtxt will maintain the Thematic Intent of the Storybeat you're working on, while giving you room to explore all kinds of different ideas. This is the standout feature of the Subtxt approach to writing stories. While there are many tools out there that leverage GPT-3 for writing stories, Subtxt is the only application that makes sure what you get back is meaningful and tied to the theme of your story.

  1. Once you have enough ideas, tap Merge to bring them all together.

Sometimes, this just means Subtxt will copy and paste the exact same sentences into a single paragraph. Other times Subtxt might add some key insights or find a way to bridge all the ideas together. You can't go wrong with Merging, and again--if you don't like what you get, tap Merge again to get something different.

  1. If you like the Merge generation, tap Replace to have Subtxt replace your ideas with the single paragraph.
  2. Set another Illustration, and then tap Continue...

When you hit Continue, Subtxt will do more than simply generate ideas--the app will write what happens next in your story based on that Illustration and what you already have in the Storytelling box.

Keep the Story Going

When using the AI to help generate Storytelling, try not to finish your story too early.

Part of how the magic works is that the AI breaks what you write down into "tokens." (Note this has nothing to do with Credits/Tokens for Subtxt AI). These common sequences of characters are then used to generate and predict "what happens next" in your story.

For example, here is some Subtext broken down into tokens:

An Example of Tokens in Sentence Structure

You'll note that quite often these are whole words, but sometimes it takes a portion of these words, splitting them out into common patterns of language.

One of the patterns it looks for is a "Stop Sequence." This is when the AI knows that the idea, or string of thoughts, or sentences—has come to a logical end. If you hit a Stop Sequence in your writing, the AI will hit a wall, and not know where to go next.

What this means is that if you tell your entire story in the Storypoints, beginning, middle, and end, and then that somehow works it's way into your synopsis, when it comes time to generate Storybeats, Subtxt will consider the story finished upon reading your entire synopsis and then simply re-generate what you had already written.

To resolve this, make sure that when you illustrate ANYTHING in your story, leave it open-ended. Set up the potential for conflict in the Storypoints, and in the Synopses, so that the AI can predict what will come next—

—instead of just tell you what you already know.

Different Approaches for Storytelling and Subtext

It's REALLY important that when you illustrate the Subtext of a Storypoint or a Storybeat that you keep it objective and general. Do NOT refer to any particular Storytelling (Players, world, etc.). Focus it on what it is: the subtext of what is going on, not the Storytelling.

For example, this is an example of Subtext that over-explains through Storytelling:

The conflict in this Storybeat is caused by the fact that the protagonist is trying to conceive of a new way to help wayward motorists, but his Bride thinks that they will be perceived as a problem if they haunt them. Helping them seems like a good idea but it could have dangerous and unforeseen consequences.

This is an example of the same Subtext just without the Storytelling:

The conflict in this Storybeat is between those who want to maintain the status quo and those who want to change it. The problem is that the change appears to be coming from a place of privilege and those who are trying to change things seem to be unaware or unwilling to acknowledge the potential problems that could arise from their actions.

It's the same idea as ending your story too soon: if you close the pattern loop through specific Storytelling, it won't be able to generate new ideas for you.

Subtxt AI and Your Story

Whenever Subtxt seeks to summarize either a Storypoint or Storybeat of your story, it proceeds in this order:

  • Storytelling (since this is your story)
  • Subtext
  • Story Specific Illustration
  • General Illustration
  • Element direct from the Storyform

If either of these is left blank, Subtxt moves down the chain to find the first one you illustrated. If you haven't illustrated that particular Storypoint yet, and the AI needs to summarize it, Subtxt will generate a temporary understanding of the Storypoint and insert it into your summary.

© 2022 Narrative First, Inc.