Breaking Down Storybeats

One of the more powerful features of Subtxt is the ability to breakdown Storybeats into their smaller units of dramatic progression. Transits break down into Progressions, while Progressions break down into Events.

The Scope of Storybeats

The term "Breakdown" comes from my experience working in the animation industry. Supervising animators would first draw "key poses"--those poses key to communicating a certain bit of acting--and then hand off the scene to an assistant animator to "breakdown" the poses. These in-between poses would help bring the scene to life by giving the key poses fluidity and flow.

Same thing with the Breakdown Storybeats in Subtxt.

Think of Storybeat Breakdowns as the progression of the story within a specific Storybeat. If a particular Storybeat tells you that your characters are learning something (a Transit of Learning), then how they go about learning is covered step-by-step by the Storybeat Breakdowns (in this case, a set of four Progressions).

It's up to you, the writer, to determine how much you want to go into detail for your story.

Detailed Story Structure

When you first Add a Narrative to a story, Subtxt figures out the essential--or key--Storybeats for your narrative. These initial Beats are essential for communicating the essence of your Dramatic Argument (what Dramatica theory refers to as a Storyform).

Leave one or two of these progressions out, and you risk losing your Audience. Repeat the same item over and over again, and you risk beating your Audience over the head with your message.

An Incomplete Story with Various Progressions and Events

It's a tender balancing act, and one that you'll come to know intuitively the more you work with Subtxt.

Scope, Scale, and Size

If you're writing a screenplay, you likely won't need to breakdown the Transits for the Influence Character or the Relationship Story Throughlines. In fact, we strongly suggest you don't.

A Complete Story with a Typical Arrangement for Most Feature Films

On the other hand, if you're writing a novel, or longform television series, breaking down Transits and Progressions will give you the material and inspiration you need to fill in your story's larger storytelling real estate.

A Complete Story with All Transits, Progressions, and Events

If you're writing a short story, we absolutely suggest you don't breakdown any of the Transits. In fact, you're probably best served turning off some of the Throughlines. You can learn more in our section on Short Stories and Subtxt.

Breaking Down a Storybeat

Subtxt will let you know whether or not it can breakdown a Storybeat by providing a button in the Detail section of each Storybeat.

A Storybeat with Breakdowns Available

In the example above, the Transit of Conscious can be broken down into four Progressions.

Breaking down Transits into Progressions and Events is not available for stories built by uploading a Dramatica Story Expert or Dramatica Story Pro Storyform. Subtxt needs to build the story itself in order to have access to these more detailed Storybeats. If you don't see the Breakdown Button in your Transits, consider re-building your story using Subtxt's Premise Builder.