The Objective Story Throughline

The Objective Story Throughline is where the Author explore what is commonly known as the "Plot" of a story. This perspective explores conflict from an objective point-of-view. Characters are perceived as functions (Protagonist and Antagonist), and the twin Story Dynamics of Outcome and Driver help convey part of the story's overall meaning.

The Objective Story Throughline View offers Synopsis, Storypoints, and Storybeats.

The Objective Story Synopsis

The Synopsis is where you keep the bird's eye view overall understanding of what the Objective Story Throughline is all about in your story. When it comes to writing with Subtxt AI, this is the most important section as the AI will look here first to get a better understanding of what your intentions are for this Throughline.

When you tap the AI "Summarize" button in the Objective Story Throughline, Subtxt will search through your Objective Story Domain, Objective Story Concern, and Objective Story Problem to build a short synopsis of the conflict from this point-of-view. While Subtxt can create a synopsis before you explore these important Storypoints, you will find much better results if you illustrate those first and then come back here to summarize everything.

Remaining Objective

When it comes to Summarizing your Objective Story Throughline, it's important that you have at least one "Group" of Players listed in the Players section of your story. If you just have a long list of individual Players, or characters in your story, Subtxt will have a difficult time objectifying them and classifying them in such a way that it can build an effective synopsis.

Typically, these Groups break out into two: a set of "good" Players, and a set of "bad" Players, typically aligned with either the Protagonist or Antagonist, respectively. You don't have to have two different Groups, but if you can start thinking in those terms it can help you move away from the headspace of being inside the characters when really you should be outside looking down at them (from the Objective Story point-of-view).

Once Subtxt AI returns your Synopsis, you are always free to edit the Illustration directly inline within this view.

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As with all of the AI interfaces in Subtxt, there is a limit to how much you can send off for assistance. If you go above and beyond the limit set by the current interface, Subtxt will save your information but it will NOT send out the request. Please edit and clarify to stay within the character limit.

The Storypoints of the Objective Story Throughline

Storypoints for the Objective Story Throughline consist of the Story Goal and the Story Consequence. In addition, Subtxt adds the Plot Dynamic of the Story Outcome.

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Note that if you're writing a story with a Holistic Mindset, these Storypoints will be referred to as the Story Intention and the Story Overwhelm. These changes in terminology reflect the differences inherent with a story that organizes around relationships, rather than reason.

Storypoints in the Objective Story Throughline

Illustrating Goal and Consequence

The Story Goal and the Story Consequence are the key Storypoints for the Objective Story Throughline. If you want to make life easy for yourself, illustrate these before you move on to the Storybeats as they will set the narrative drive of your story.

To add a Storypoint to your story, click the gold Illustrate button.

Illustrating the Story Goal

The above example illustrates the Story Goal of Whiplash. Everyone in that story revolves around a shared common goal of being perfect (Story Goal of Being).

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Notice that both the Storypoint of the Objective Story Concern and the Story Goal are one and the same (Being in the Whiplash example). This resemblance is not a mistake. If the Players in the Objective Story Throughline share a certain Concern, one instance of that Concern will become the shared Goal that the Players are either for, or against.

The Story Consequence balances out the efforts towards resolving the story's inequity that sits within the Story Goal.

Illustrating the Story Consequence

Illustrating the Story Problem

The Story Problem is the one source of all trouble within the Objective Story Throughline. While individual Players may have their own experience with objective sources of conflict, the one thing that ties them all together thematically is this Objective Story Problem.

Illustrating the Objective Story Problem

In the above example from Whiplash, an imbalance of Cause (looking for, and arguing over the cause of trouble) drives all of the conflict in the Objective Story Throughline. Later, when it is discovered the root cause of Fletcher's early retirement, the focus is on the one responsible for the termination rather than the potential for greatness in that one who could make (cause) everything to resolve in success.

The illustration of this Element plays a signficiant role in Subtxt's AI services. As well as helping to focus and center the Objective Story Synopsis, a creative and clearly defined Objective Story Problem also helps to color the individual Story Drivers responsible for moving the narrative from one Act to the next.

Illustrating the Story Solution

The Story Solution is the quality of your story that will satisfy and resolve conflict within the Objective Story Throughline.

Illustrating the Objective Story Solution

In some stories, the Objective Story Solution arrives late in the last Transit to resolve the conflict resulting from the Objective Story Problem. These stories possess a Story Outcome of Success. In other stories, the Objective Story Solution fails to arrive with enough presence to override and dampen the Objective Story Problem. These narratives, and the lack of a strong enough Objective Story Solution, signfiy a Story Outcome of Failure.

Illustrating the Story Outcome

The Story Outcome is a Plot Dynamic, and as such, functions differently than a Storypoint. Dynamics describe the relationship between Storypoints--not static Storypoints themselves. To help with that understanding, Subtxt offers another tab labeled "Story Dynamics" and then marks each with a gradient background from left to right.

The Story Outcome presents the relationship between the Objective Story Problem and Objective Story Solution of your narrative. You'll find this Dynamic in the Story Dynamics tab of the Objective Story Throughline.

Because the Dynamics of a narrative do not directly reference a static Storypoint, or Element within the model of the Storymind, they do not offer "General Illustrations" or "Story-specific Illustrations." The writing prompt at the top of the card calls to mind the Storypoints the Dynamic references, but to change those you would have to access them directly in the corresponding Storypoints tab.

The Story Outcome of Whiplash

In the above example from Whiplash, Andrew finds success in being a perfect drummer when he ignores Fletcher's lead and instead focuses on the effect he has on the Audience. This introduction of the Objective Story Solution of Effect is what resolves the story in Triumph.

Protagonist and Antagonist / Goal and Consequence

When illustrating the Story Goal and Story Consequence of your Objective Story consider the opposing forces of the Protagonist and Antagonist. The Protagonist is driven to pursue and consider the resolution of the story's inequity through the Story Goal. The Antagonist is driven to avoid or prevent and make others reconsider the resolution of the story's inequity through the Story Consequence.

  • The Protagonist is for the Story Goal
  • The Antagonist, by default, is aligned with the Story Consequence

In the example above, Andrew is the Protagonist of Whiplash driven to be the perfect drummer (Story Goal of Being). To balance this drive out, Terrence is the Antagonist driven to prevent others from being perfect by doing things that are destructive (and influencing the failures to engage in destructive behavior).

Make sure you work out who is the Protagonist and who is the Antagonist based on which Player is driven to pursue the Story Goal (the Protagonist), and which Player is aligned with the avoidance of that Goal and is more closely aligned with the Story Consequence (the Antagonist).

The Storybeats of the Objective Story Throughline

Opening the Storybeats tab, we find our initial list of four Transits listed in the order they appear within the Storyform.

The Objective Story Throughline

In the above example from Whiplash, the Objective Story progresses through these four Transits: Being, Becoming, Conceptualizing, and Conceiving. These line up with the order predicted by Subtxt's narrative model in the Storyform:

The Order of Transits in the Objective Story

The order of events carries meaning. This order of Being, Becoming, Conceptualizing, and Conceiving are absolutely essential for conveying the message of Whiplash to the Audience. With Subtxt, these Transits are locked into this order to keep you from breaking the integrity of the narrative structure.

The Meaning Behind the Order of Storybeats

The reason why addressing all four of these Transits is so necessary, and why doing them in this order is even more valuable, is because the mind of the Story (essentially, the mind of an Audience member appreciating the story) is looking for the source of inequity in the current narrative.

Note the over-arching Objective Story Throughline Domain of Psychology. Whiplash is a story where the ways of thinking (or Psychologies) of the Players drives the conflict of the narrative. Being, Becoming, Conceptualizing, and Conceiving describe the four different ways our minds appreciate a conflict of Psychology.

Until we see all four aspects, we can never be sure exactly where the conflict lies. So, we step into Being and examine conflict in that context. Once that is thoruoughly exhausted, we move onto Becoming. And then once that is finished we move on to Conceptualizing and then Conceiving. Not until we've reached the fourth and final context and looked at all the different ways Psychology can show up as a problem can we for sure identify the source of conflict, and therefore a means by which to resolve it.

This need to address all four contexts of a certain kind of conflict is why Acts exist in a story. It's not simply to organize things off into a beginning, middle, and end. Acts are really an effort by the writer of the story to intutively address these various areas of our minds.

The Difference Between Story Drivers and Storybeats

With the Objective Story Throughline view, Subtxt also encourages writers to think of the Story Drivers in-between the four Transits. Known colloquially as "plot points," these Drivers push or pull a narrative from one Act into the next.

The Objective Story Throughline

A Story Driver is NOT a Storybeat.

When you transition from the Throughline view into the Scenes view, these Story Drivers drop out and are hidden from your consideration. A Story Driver is a Dynamic appreciation of the meaning of a story. A Storybeat is a Static appreciation of the same story. A Storybeat describes the things of a narrative, a Dynamic illustrates the relationship between things.

Use the Story Drivers here to help frame your work in the Objective Story Throughline. Let them guide you into a better understanding of how one Transit evolves into the next.

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Writers familiar with the Dramatica theory of story will recognize the Story Drivers as the place where they often fall into the argument over whether or not a story is one of 'Actions driving decisions' or 'Decisions driving actions.' Whatever you do, don't fall into this trap of overthinking things. The Story Drivers eventually drop out of consideration when it comes to writing a story and are, for the most part, self-evident as you develop your story.

In a Holistic Mindset story, the Story Drivers of the Objective Story Throughline will not be present even here in the Throughline view. As a Holistic story is organized through relationships rather than reason, identifying the cause and effect relationship of Storybeats runs contradictory to the nature of that kind of story.

Do not concern yourself with Story Drivers in a Holistic Mindset story. You will be looking for something that is anti-thetical to this kind of story.

Connecting the Problem of a Story to the Story Drivers

When you open up a Story Driver in the Objective Story Throughline view, you'll be presented with a writing prompt engineered to call to mind the meaning of your story:

The Story Driver Writing Prompt

Aligning the Story Drivers with the Objective Story Problem helps give extra added meaning to these important shifts in your narrative. While theoretically this relationship is not a hard and fast rule, writers will find making this connection beneficial to their storytelling.

Stories built prior to February 2022 will see the specific Objective Story Problem Element as shown above. Stories built after will already have a random Illustration in place to help inspire your imagination.

An Illustrated Story Driver

If you'd like another random Illustration, or you would like to replace the simple Problem Element with a Storytelling Illustration, click the Random Illustration button on the far right.

You can also tap on the Illustration itself, and select one more appropriate for your story.

Choosing an Alternate Illustration

In the above example from Whiplash, switching the Illustration from "causing anxiety amongst guests" to "inciting a group to do something" seems more appropriate for the film. Although, one can see how Fletcher's behavior in the practice room is just as much "causing anxiety" as it is "inciting" the group. This is the power and unique feature of writing a story with Subtxt: the underlying structure remains consistent and solid, while the specific Storytelling on top is up to the artist's sensibilities.

Structure without shackles.

The Initial Story Driver of Whiplash

The Ending of a Story and the Final Story Driver

In regards to the final Story Driver, a narrative with a Story Outcome of Success finds the Objective Story Solution replacing the Objective Story Problem (this is what guarantees that Success). To reflect this understanding, Subtxt exchanges the Problem for Solution in Success stories.

The Final Story Driver of a Success Story

In the above example from Whiplash, Andrew sucessfully resolves the Objective Story Throughline Plot when he marches back onstage and performs his extended drum solo. The Effect of his playing on the Audience guarantees a nod from Fletcher, cueing a Story Outcome of Success (achieving the Story Goal of Being).

The Final Story Driver of Whiplash

In a narrative with a Story Outcome of Failure, the Objective Story Problem persists, and the Objective Story Solution fails to resolve the inequity of the story. Subtxt recognizes this relationship by keeping the Problem Element at the heart of the final Story Driver.

The Final Story Driver of a Failure Story

In the above example, the story in question ends in Failure because the Problem of Temptation persists (and Conscience fails to save the day). This dynamic of narrative Elements occurs in the thriller, se7en.

The Final Story Driver of Se7en

Mills' act of vengeance on John Doe persists the Objective Story Problem of Temptation, ending the story in Tragedy. If he had instead held back and listened to Somerset's warnings, Mills would have engaged in the Solution of Conscience which would have foiled John Doe's plans and ended the story in Success.

Mills didn't, and instead engages in an Action that insures the presence of the Story Consequence.

Subtxt AI and the Story Drivers

Subtxt AI can help you come up with some ideas for Story Drivers throughout your Objective Story Throughline:

Examples of Story Drivers from Subtxt AI

The suggestions incorporate both the Story Driver itself (either an Action that drives decisions, or a Decision that drives actions) and the Objective Story Problem.

For the final Story Driver, Subtxt AI looks to the Story Outcome to determine whether it should focus on the Solution (a Story Outcome of Success), or on the Problem (a Story Outcome of Failure).

Understanding Goal and Consequence

Both the Story Goal and the Story Consequence work as polarizing forces throughout the entirety of the Objective Story Throughline plot.

The Goal and Consequence of Se7en

In the above example from Se7en, the Story Goal of Obtaining works against the Story Consequence of Becoming. As the Protagonist, Detective Lt. Somerset pursues and considers the Goal of apprehending John Doe. The Antagonist, serial killer John Doe, prevents and reconsiders that Goal and is aligned with showing how far humanity has devolved.

To help you craft your Objective Story Throughline, Subtxt presents the storytelling from your Story Outcome Plot Dynamic at the end of the Objective Story Throughline View.

The Goal and Consequence of Se7en

This reminder of the Story Outcome should help you bring your story to a meaningful ending consistent with your story's message.