Working From a Finished Draft

Many storytellers wonder if it's possible to take an already finished draft, and plug that into the Subtxt narrative framework.

The answer is: absolutely.

The process is no different than starting from scratch (i.e., using the Premise Builder), save for the fact that you likely already have a really strong idea of what your story is all about.

Finding the Premise

Since you already have it all written out, it's likely that you'll be able to determine the Premise, or intent, of your work based on what you already have written. The trick is to look at what you have, find what is most important to you about what it is you wrote, and then translate that into a workable Storyform (using the Premise Builder).

Once you have the Storyform for your work based on what you wanted to say with the piece, you can then go through and outline your current work based on that new Storyform. When you find areas that aren't reflected in your current draft, you would take note of them, and then develop them to eventually weave back into your final work.

In this way, you are intelligently re-writing your story using intent and purpose, rather than subjective "notes" or feedback from friends, families, and agents (and studio executives). You'll be able to identify quickly what is missing, and Subtxt will provide a ton of different meaningful ideas for filling the holes.

An Example of an Incomplete Storyform

A good example of this is the Storyform for Top Gun: Maverick that you can find in Subtxt. As opposed to the original Top Gun, which did illustrate a complete Storyform, the current incarnation of the series fails to adequately supply both the Influence Character and Relationship Story Throughlines. The Influence Character Throughline is almost there, bringing the argument of Control vs. Free between Rooster and Maverick respectively, but the RS Throughline is missing entirely.

(The attempt at a relationship with Penny is insuficient for this all-important Throughline).

Looking at the Storyform in Subtxt for that film, you can see what thematic items would be needed in order to complete and round out that story so that it feels as meaningful and as complete as the first film.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong per se with the second film, it's a fun and thrilling ride and has done quite well at the box office. That said, in a year or two, most everyone will forget and be unable to recount the story of Top Gun: Maverick. Compare that with your ability to do the same with the first film and note how easy it is to remember and relate what happened in that film.

Audiences don't remember stories, they remember the narratives behind the stories. Once the glitz and glamor of the storytelling wears off (the thrill-ride experience), audiences are only left with the purpose and intent: the argument of the story.

If that argument is ill-formed, or missing key pieces, the result is a "broken story"--and one that will unfortunately be forgotten over time.