Writing with Subtxt

Writing a story with Subtxt is a four-step process that takes you from story idea to a meaningful outline and/or treatment. You do not do the actual writing of your story in Subtxt--that happens in your favorite writing app.

These four steps appear down the lefthand sidebar of your story (in the dropdown menu on mobile). And while you'll be best served taking a top-down approach, you can bounce back and forth throughout the development process.

These four steps are:

  • Conceptualizing
  • Illustrating
  • Plotting
  • Writing

Conceptualizing is where you form the foundation for what your story means. The order of events in a narrative carries meaning and so, if you want to know what to write in each Act, you're going to have to start here.

Illustrating is where you give life to the seemingly cold and objective aspects of your narrative Premise. This is where you find out that even if a story carries the same meaning, the Storytelling on top (the Illustrations) can be expressed differently from artist to artist.

Plotting is where you take your Illustrations of your conceptual narrative and arrange them in sequential order. While the order of events does carry meaning, there is room for adjustment between different Storybeats within an Act.

Writing is where you do your last minute cleanup and preparation for writing your story. Devoid of any previous mention of Premise or Storyform or meaning, the Writing section is the furthest place in Subtxt away from the Author and the closest to the Audience.

If you note, there is a progression of transmission from Author to Audience that occurs during this sequence. The Author Conceptualizes what their story means, they Illustrate it according to their imagination, they Plot it in a way that is surprising and engaging, and then finally they Write it all together in one seamless work of art.

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If you are familiar with the Dramatica theory of story, you will notice that these four steps correlate with the Four Expressions of a narrative. Conceptualizing is Storyforming, Illustrating is Storyencoding, Plotting is Storyweaving, and Writing is StoryReception.

Conceptualizing

While you do a signficant portion of the Conceptualizing in the pre-Story phase with the Premise Builder, you can make adjustments here in this initial view of your story. You can change the Title, the Logline, and alter the specifics of the Main Character and Influence Character Positions. Finally, you can re-generate an AI-inspired "You and I are both alike" argument based on the individual Positions of the two primary Players.

Conceptualizing Your Story in Subtxt

Premise is where you can adjust and fine-tune the meaning of your story. Storyform is where you can check back in with the thematic blueprint of your story. And Players is where you define your characters and what part of the story they will play throughout your narrative.

Illustrating

With Illustrating, you want to take an approach that moves from the general to the specific. The first four Storypoints listed here define the general area of conflict for each of the Four Throughlines. The next set of four Storypoints define the specific type of conflict found within these areas for each of the Four Throughlines.

The more you illustrate and define these eight Storypoints in detail, the better results you will get from Subtxt AI.

Illustrating Your Story in Subtxt

You will also find a set of additional Storypoints specific to each Throughline in the sections marked just below Illustrating.

Plotting

The Plotting section is divided into four Acts. Those familiar with a three-Act structure will note that Acts Two and Three are meant to be the "middle" or Act "Two" of your story. Act Four is what many consider the third and final Act. The concept of a three Act structure is a blended and biased understanding of story that unfortuantely leads to many errors of story.

Plotting Your Story in Subtxt

Storybeats must stay within the Act in which they were originally created in the Illustrating section. That said, you do have room for movement within each Act where you can weave Storybeats from one Throughline into another.

Writing

Finally, the Writing section in Subtxt is your last stop before downloading your outline and/or treatment. We've purposefully removed all instances of narrative structure, and only left the Storytelling for you to work on in this section.

Writing Your Story in Subtxt

This is how it should be: you want to get to a place where you are no longer thinking about structure, and instead find yourself only thinking of the story and your Audience's experience.

This can be difficult for some writers to break free from, especially since there's so much fun to be had with the Subtxt approach and with developing a story with AI. The fact of the matter remains, if you want to get this story out there you eventually have to drop all notions of structure and devote all your attention to the story at hand.