Assigning the Players
Next up, the characters of your story.
But instead of characters—think of them as players, vessels for holding the intent of your story. Think of your characters as buckets of meaning. They carry the meaning of your story to your Audience.
Tap Player Roles, and Subtxt presents an impressive view for assigning your buckets to various Throughlines in your story.
For now, ignore the four boxes to the right, and instead, focus on the list of Players to the left.
The Essential Players
As with the Premise, Subtxt randomly assigned Player Illustrations—only, these aren’t as impressive. “Characters”, “Main Character”, “Influence Character”, and “relationship” fail to spark the imagination. Yet, they represent the absolute minimum for any complete story.
The Main Character
The Main Character is easy, and you likely already have someone in mind. Tap on the Player Bucket and type in the name of the character through which the Audience will experience your story—from a personal first-person point-of-view.
Note how your change instantly updates ALL references to Main Character. If you didn’t catch it, change the name, and watch how it changes in the blue box to the right.
This is also a feature.
Subtxt is a reactive writing tool—which means it responds to your intent across the entire story, and in every other view. You don’t have to hit Save all the time, nor do you have to Find and Replace when you decide you want to call your character something else. Make the change and Subtxt responds accordingly—giving you more time to focus on writing your story.
The Influence Character is next.
In every complete story, there’s always one character who does things a little differently; someone who stands out, and challenges the Main Character to grow a little. That’s the Influence Character.
Now, if you don’t know who that is yet, don’t worry—you can continue to develop your story and come back to the actual name later. As you progress in developing your story with Subtxt, your choice for Influence Character will naturally arise from everything else you are doing.
If you do, enter the name in the bucket that says Influence Character.
The Key Relationship
The vital relationship of your story is super important—and most often, misunderstood. An entire series of articles on The Relationship Story Throughline should help you out, but in the meantime, define the relationship between the Main Character and the Influence Character.
And do it from the point-of-view of someone talking about them—not from within.
When it comes to the Relationship Story Throughline and Subtxt, write about the relationship—not what it feels like to be in that relationship.
Some ideas for various relationships:
The list goes on and on. Select one, enter it, and then move on to the last bucket: the characters themselves.
The last bucket is the most abstract when it comes to characters—but also, the most basic.
Stories work because they present a point-of-view of conflict from within and from without. You already know your Main Character from within, now step out of his or her body and look back. What do you see?
Do the same for the Influence Character, and for all your characters. How are they grouped?
In the most likely sense, your story contains a group of “good” guys and a bunch of “bad” guys (Yes, truth is subjective—one man’s freedom fighter...). These groupings of characters signify an objective sense of their purpose in a story—perfect for the objective Objective Story Throughline.
Determine the central “good” guy group and enter their name into the “characters” bucket.
With buckets labeled and assigned to individual Throughlines, it’s time to start walking through your story.