The Moments of a Story

A Moment is a Storytelling device unique to the Author. It could be a Chapter, a Scene, a Refusal of the Call, or a Fun and Games "moment." Whatever sort of intuitive sequencing devices you use to put your story together (i.e., what you're used to using), use that to delineate various Moments. What you do then is to weave the various Storybeats from all the different Throughlines into these different Moments within your story. The more Storybeats you have in a Moment the more important it will appear thematically to your reader or viewer.

The most important moments of any complete story are those that reflect the Storybeats of a meaningful structure. Whether considered scenes, sequences, fun and games, story blocks, or the crossing of thresholds, these concepts of storytelling hold the meaning in place--making them convenient constructs for Authors when writing their stories.

Moments in Subtxt help bridge the gap between deep thematic structure and the functional outline of a treatment.

Weaving Moments in Subtxt

This is where the Author begins to weave the various threads of the individual Throughlines into distinct "moments" that can then inspire specific instances of storytelling.

Confining Storybeats to a Specific Transit

While Authors of complete stories enjoy great leeway in how they decide to weave important Moments, the only strict rule is that only the Storybeats of a single Transit in time can be woven together.

One of the purposes of a single Transit in a story (what many might refer to as "Acts") is to set and explore conflict given a specific context. The Objective Story Throughline might examine conflict of Doing in the First Transit, while the Main Character Throughine might explore personal conflict having to with the Past. By focusing the type of context in one specific area, the mind of a story can explore all the different options for resolving that conflict and once exhausted--can then move on to another set of contexts.

This is the reason--and purpose--of Acts.

Subtxt helps writers maintain the integrity of their storytelling by confining the available Storybeats for Moments to a given Transit. When you click on Transit Two under Moments, you will only see the Transits, Progressions, and Events that were developed from the Second Transits of all Four Throughlines.

Adding Moments to Your Story

When you first click into a Transit, you will see that your story has yet to identify any key Moments.

No Moments in a Transit

To add a Moment, and begin weaving your Storybeats, click the blue Add button at the top of the screen.

You can add as many Moments as you want. Subtxt will keep track of their location within the entire story, and number them accordingly.

Adding Moments to a Story

Moments are signified by a "card" icon and are labeled "Untitled" at first. To customize the name of your Moment, feel free to click on the word "Untitled" and add in a title that captures this important part of your story.

Labeling a Moment

When labeling the Moments of your story, use the system of storytelling that works best for you. Originally, Moments were just supposed to be Scenes...but then many writers wondered if it would be appropriate to section them off using concepts from other paradigms of story.

And the answer is yes, you definitely can combine the various schools of thought here in Subtxt.

For instance, you might be a writer who finds great value in the Save the Cat! paradigm. Instead of thinking of Moments as Scenes, you might find it more valuable to think of them as the sequences found in that school's "Beat Sheet."

Save the Cat! Moments in Subtxt

In this way, you can leverage the power of Subtxt's insightful Storybeat structure and tailor them into a tapestry that accounts for what you've learned and come to appreciate with other paradigms of storytelling.

The Storybeat Basement

Before you start assigning Storybeats to specific Moments, all of them can be found in the Storybeat Basement at the bottom of a particular Transit.

Storybeats in the Basement will not show up in your final Treatment. While certain Storybeats may have been important in the development of the Four Throughlines, you may come to find that there are some that can "drop out" or aren't needed when it comes to telling your story.

For instance, after breaking a Transit down into the four Progressions you may find that the Transit itself is no longer necessary. As the Progressions already take into account the Transit above them (the "Fate while Past" concept), the Transits can sometimes feel like they are doing double-duty when it comes to storytelling.

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The only thing you want to make sure is that you have at least one Storybeat of a Throughline at the size of a Transit. This can either be a single Transit, four Progressions that make up a Transit, or even the 16 Events that make up the Progressions of a Transit. The only thing you want to make sure is that that notion of the Transit--whatever Thematic Issue it calls into play--is somehow woven into the Storybeats you add to your Moments.

If you would like to read more in-depth into what stories look like when it comes to weaving Transits, Progressions, and Events, you can read the article Traversing the Storybeats of a Complete Story on Narrative First.

Adding Storybeats to Moments

To add a Storybeat to a Moment, simply drag the Storybeat out of the Basement and drop it onto a Moment.

Drag and Drop Storybeats onto Moments

When you let go, Subtxt will attach the Storybeat to that Moment.

Congratulations, you just made that Moment in your story meainingful! (your Audience will thank you later). By tying that specific Moment in your story to a Storybeat from one of your Throughlines, you've made your thematic message (your Premise) and essential part of your storytelling.

NOTE: In order to drag-and-drop you must click on the "up/down" arrows located to the far right of a Storybeat. Clicking anywhere else will not have the same effect. You can also click on the Add Storybeat button (the folder icon with a plus sign) and directly choose the Moment to attach the Storybeat.

Adding a Storybeat Directly to a Moment

Interacting with Storybeats in a Moment

Once attached, the Storybeat will stay locked to that Moment unless you move it into another Moment, or drop it back down into the Basement.

A Storybeat Attached to a Moment

To quickly drop the Storybeat back down into the Basement, click the Downstairs Button on the Storybeat. Subtxt will detatch the Storybeat and place it in the pool below with the others.

Interacting with Storybeats in Moments

If you want to quickly refer back to a Storybeat in its Throughline View, simply click the Jump to Throughline button and Subtxt will refer you back to that view. You can use this interaction to move back and forth between weaving a Storybeat and illustrating it within the context of its Throughline.

You may find it easier to move Storybeats up and down by clicking on the appropriate arrow, rather than dragging and dropping (this interaction works particularly better on mobile devices). You can also do the same with the Moments themselves, and their attached Storybeats will move along with them.

If you find an up or down arrow missing, that is because Subtxt has detected that that's an operation that can be performed at that time--either the Moment or Storybeat is to close to the beginning of the Transit, or it's too far near the end.

Weaving Storybeats with an Eye on Creativity

As mentioned earlier, the Author enjoys complete freedom when it comes to weaving Storybeats in and out of various Moments.

Weaving the Storybeats of Several Moments

A Main Character Transit can come before an Objective Story Transit that then flows into an Objective Story Progression followed by several Objective Story Events...or even a combination of several different Throughlines all at once.

There really are no rules here, except what works best for your imagination.

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You'll find that at the beginning of a story, Progressions and Events tend to stay sectioned off within their own throughlines. You usually won't find complicated weaving during the First Transit. As the story progresses and the Audience becomes more and more familiar with your story, less time will have to be spent setting up the potential--and Moments will become more and more tightly woven with Storybeats from several different Throughlines. The reason why the last Transit ('Act') is usually so short is because a handful of Moments will carry the Storybeats from all the Four Throughlines all at once--completing the story in much less time than it took to set it all up.

Storybeats That Fall Out-of-Order

There is one thing you should pay particular attention to and that's the order of the Storybeats within the context of their own Throughline.

While you can weave Storybeats to your heart's content, if you pull Storybeats out-of-sequence with how they were built within the Throughline view you do risk weakening the argument of your story.

The order of events in a story carries meaning. Moving Storybeats out of sequence will weaken that meaning.

Subtxt signifies out-of-order Storybeats by painting them red when you move them out of sequence.

Out-of-Order Storybeats

In the above example, note how Objective Story Event 20 comes before Objective Story Event 19 within the 5th Moment of the story. There is a good chance that by doing this, the story will feel a bit "off" compared to all those Events that fall into sequence.

A Progression Out of Order with Events

Note the out-of-order Storybeat in the example above. The Objective Story Throughline Progression 8 is out-of-sequence because the group of Events that follow, OS Storybeat Events 17-20, are children of a Progression that should happen before Progression 8.

OS Events 17-20 are children of Progression 6 in the 2nd Transit of the example story above. Subtxt is smart enough to check the order of Storybeats at different scopes (Progressions and Events) and will alert you of an order of Storybeats that is starting to have an adverse affect on your story.

To correct any of these issues, move the Storybeat back into a position where the scope of the Storybeat is no longer red.

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The order of Storybeats at the Transit level are much more important than the order of Storybeats at the Event level. As accurate as Subtxt is, the Storybeats at the level of Events (or characters) are so close to the Audience as they risk a certain amount of subjecivity to them (i.e., they might not be entirely accurate). With that in mind, it isn't the end of the world if an Event or two is out of place, or if you bounce and back and forth between one or two of them. The order of Progressions is much more important, and the order of Transits is supreme (which is why you can't move them out of sequence at all).

Transitioning from Moments to Treatment

Continue weaving the Storybeats of the four Transits in your story until you find an order to the tapestry that connects with your vision.

Weaving Moments in Subtxt

When finished, all you have to do is click on the Treatment tab in the Writing section to see the result of all your folding and unfolding.

Moments to Treatment in Subtxt

Your treatment now consists of key meaningful Moments that tie directly back to your Premise and to the intention of your story. When you go to write your story, you can do so confident in knowing that what you are writing has a greater chance of surviving your next draft--

--because anything less than purposeful intention won't end up being a key moment in your story.

Video: The Moments of a Complete Story