An understanding of narrative structure from the other side.
A complete story is a model of the mind at work. Narrative structure depends on the nature of that mind's base operating system: does it lean towards problem-solving or justification? While the Male Mental Sexed approach to Premise building is clear-cut and forward, the Female Mental Sexed approach is more complex.
Free your Storymind
One of the standout features of Subtxt is the Premise. Based on a previous article entitled How to Build a Narrative Argument, the breakdown of a premise allows an Author to determine the critical structural Storybeats of their narrative. Reducing the complexity of a Dramatica storyform down to a single sentence opens up greater understanding and draws the writer closer to their intuition.
If, in fact, that intuition is appropriately honored.
Unfortunately, early versions of Subtxt skewed the Premise towards a specific segment of the population, i.e., the Male Mental Sexed thinker. Enraptured in goals and problem-solving, these cause-and-effect thinkers speak of Premise in a way that is simple to understand—and even easier to code.
Do this, and you get that. You might fail if you let go of this, but you’ll feel better for it.
Clear-cut and concise.
The latest version of Premise within Subtxt addresses a somewhat under-served portion of the world, the kind who prefers balancing issues, rather than solving goals. While much of the conflict we experience can be zeroed out by the Male Mental Sex thinker, there is another that recognizes an inequity is never indeed solved: the Female Mental Sex thinker.
The Female Mental Sexed mind operates from a position of receptiveness—understanding that while we may know the answer, an even better one may show itself if we are willing to receive it.
Sometimes to resolve inequities, we need to align ourselves first before the solution presents itself. We literally can’t see the answer because we’re too unbalanced and confused in our own minds. And even when we achieve that balance, the inequity is never entirely eliminated—the leveraging between various inequities continues from now until the end of days. The Female Mental Sexed aligns the self to hear with better eyes.
Male problem-solvers deal with on or off, Problem and Solution. Solve the problem and conflict disappears—like turning off a light switch.
Female problem-solvers—if there were such a thing—deal in waves of tendency and the balance of concerns holistically. Balance the inequity and the potential for conflict wanes—like singing a nostalgic and patriotic song to brighten a room full of national adversaries.
The Female Mental Sexed mind solves problems by justifying--by balancing self with the environment with the justification that emphasis over here will somehow help address conflict over there.
A Changed Resolve narrative deals with a Dilemma—with the imbalance between Problem and Solution. Male Mental Sexed minds attack these kinds of stories by problem-solving. They find the Element creating conflict, label it a Problem, and then fix it with a Solution.
Female Mental Sexed minds resolve inequity by justifying—by coming into alignment with themselves and balancing the relationship between self and environment. They recognize the inequity for what it is and seek equity elsewhere.
They recognize the inequity for what it is, and seek equity by balancing out the source of inequity (the Condition) with its other half (the Balance).
One problem-solves, the other justifies.
Problem-solving is easy. It’s even easier to program as most of coding is a linear approach to solving a problem (if x = 5 then goto 20).
Justifying requires a different skill set of mental gymnastics. Applying that to a premise requires capturing the essence of the self being in alignment, or balance, with forces external. Finding the right balance of narrative concerns then leads one to seek leverage points that open the path to the desired outcome.
See—even explaining it involves a more sophisticated appreciation than only if this, then that.
To a Male Mental Sex mind, a Successful Outcome and a Good Judgment is a Triumph. To the Female Mental Sex mind, the same set of narrative dynamics feels less like achieving a Goal and more like bringing oneself into a sense of Composure.
The Matrix is structured with this sense of Composure--and that’s why it feels so much different than Star Wars or Star Trek. As Main Character, Neo (Mr. Anderson) seeks balance in all things, trying to find the balance between his self-doubts and what everyone else thinks he can do.
If he were Male Mental Sexed, and the film structured appropriately, the Premise would be:
::premise Abandon your being aware of everyone around you and you can reveal what has happened to everyone. ::
To a Male Mental Sexed mind, that statement reads true. And for the first year and a half of Subtxt, that’s how the Premise read.
But it isn’t The Matrix.
To a Female Mental Sexed mind that inequity of being aware of everyone around you never goes away completely—it’s always there, needing to be addressed and dealt with day after day.
A Female Mental Sexed version of the same Premise, and one that captures the essence and feel of the message of The Matrix, would be:
::premise Address resistance towards being predestined to be someone by balancing your overwhelming awareness of everyone else with your seeing the world from one's own perspective. ::
To the Female Mental Sex mind, that statement makes far more "sense" than the previous one. To the Male Mental Sexed, it might appear as if one is not facing their problems or making excuses for not merely doing what needs to be done, but the Female Mental Sexed knows otherwise.
Sometimes, what needs to be done is to compose oneself through a gentle balance—and then the solution, or outcome, presents itself naturally.
This is why a Female Mental Sexed mind might sometimes refer to the “universe” as providing them answers. Explaining this behavior to Male-minded folk requires using a primarily linear language to justify a process that sits outside of linearity. The only way to kind-of-sort-of discuss the kind of knowledge that doesn’t emanate from consciousness is to equate it with the universe working in tandem with the self.
To the Male Mental Sexed, this line of thinking sounds like kooky-nonsense, to the Female Mental Sexed it perfectly describes how answers come to them.
Breaking down the Male Premise into its principal components reveals two key Elements:
::premise Abandon AWARE and you can PAST. ::
Aware is the tie to the subjective point-of-view from within and defines the Character aspect of the Premise for The Matrix.
Past defines the Story Goal of The Matrix and solidifies the objective point-of-view of conflict in that film.
Problem and Solution. Goal and Consequence. If you do this, then that will happen. Strict linearity in narrative form.
Breaking down the Female Mental Sex Premise reveals a slightly skewed version of similar thematics:
::premise Address resistance towards DESTINY by balancing your overwhelming AWARE with your SELF-AWARE. ::
Instead of the Goal, we now focus on the Objective Story Issue for objective footing—in this case, Destiny, or the future path an individual will take.
Aware finds its way in their again, but instead of seeing it as a Problem, we view it subjectively as a point of imbalance—with Self-aware on the other side of the scale.
The Female Mental Sexed Premise acknowledges this alternate way of thinking by shifting the emphasis of the Objective Premise Element away from the Story Goal, as it is found in a Male Mental Sex approach, and down to the Objective Story Issue. In this way, the Premise continues to focus on the differential between self and external—but does so by referring to the more ephemeral and balance-laden appreciation of an Issue familiar to the Female Mental Sex mind.
With this approach, we capture the essence of both the Male and Holistic approach and provide Authors from all across the spectrum a means to better appreciate the narrative dynamics within their stories.
As indicated, this latest development calls for the addition of two new Appreciations of narrative: the Subjective Premise Element and the Objective Premise Method. The combination of the two within a single context determines a wide range of narrative dynamics responsible for the structure of a story.
True to form, the Female Mental Sex mind requires more explanation and a third Appreciation: the Subjective Premise Balance. Appearing as Self-aware in the example of The Matrix above, this balancing Element identifies the leverage point needed to counteract and bring into alignment the Subjective Element.
While the specifics of the Overall Premise Element shift dependent upon the Mental Sex of the narrative, the Subjective Premise Element is always the Main Character’s Pivotal Element within the argument of the story.
In Dramatica theory, the Pivotal Elements were referred to as "Crucial Elements" as they were always deemed crucial to the narrative, signifying the connection between the objective and subjective views. This concept of the Subjective Premise Element defines specifically why it is so essential to the understanding of a story.
All this to describe one possible narrative—the one where the self is brought into alignment resulting in a state of composure. But what about those moments when we balance the inequities within yet find ourselves in a low state of emotion or disconnected entirely?
If this new appreciation of Premise—a Female Mental Sexed appreciation—recognizes the understanding that no problem is ever indeed solved, then this first step will act as a temporary balance of concerns. By bringing ourselves into alignment with the Female Mental Sex experience, we open ourselves up to receiving the answers we seek and the outcome we desire for ourselves.
For now, the potential for greater understanding is balanced—until the next one comes along.
A realignment of purpose that sends the mind in a new direction
In the previous article on A Female Mental Sex Understanding of Premise, the concept of applying an emotional state to a narrative argument found balance in aligning the self with the outside world. As many can attest, maintaining this state is an act of impossible defiance that far too often finds one off the intended path. Appreciate the differential between imbalance and outcome, and one begins to open themselves up to an entirely different story—that of being out-of-alignment.
With the Dramatica theory of story, we see two critical dynamics of narrative that help us appreciate the narrative’s state of emotion: Story Outcome and Story Judgment. Remember that a complete narrative functions as an analogy to a single human mind trying to resolve an inequity—that single mind carries a state of emotion, and the juxtaposition of these two dynamics crystallizes that emotion for the Audience.
To the Male Mental Sexed mind, a Success/Bad story is one that tells of a Bleak ending. While the efforts to resolve the story’s problem workout for most everyone in the story, they come at considerable cost to the Main Character’s personal sense of well-being. The Dark Knight, Unforgiven, and the first season of Westworld all share this bittersweet ending tragic for the individual.
The other side of the bittersweet ending finds Failure in the Story Outcome and Good in terms of the Story Judgment. BlacKKKlansman, The Wife, and the pilot episode of the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel tell stories of Virtue—where things don’t work out for everyone else, but end well for the primary character.
Notions of Bleak or Virtuous endings do little for the Female Mental Sex mind. Like the all-out Triumph discussed in the previous article, there is no judgment, and no meaningful end for the Female Mental Sexed mind, just an ending for now.
With that in mind, one turns to the Flow of Power throughout the Female Mental Sex Storymind. Is the mind shifted into a greater sense of the Present, or into a new sense of Stagnation? In contrast to the Steadfast Female Mental Sexed stories, these stories of the mind abandoning an old path for a new one introduce presence and inertia to the mind.
If the Changed/Success/Good story finds the Female Mental Sex mind in Composure, then the Changed/Success/Bad and Changed/Failure/Good stories find this same person out of sorts with their environment as the result of their new intentions—one direction finding presence, the other finding stagnation.
Changed/Female/Success/Bad stories differ from the Triumph/Composure story in that the self is left in a state of emotional unrest—the whole self. The Female Mental Sex mind deals with the totality of experience—one tiny imbalance is enough to warrant a condition of misalignment. The balance between the objective and the subjective is so out-of-alignment in these stories that a state of low emotional vibration consumes the individual--or what many commonly refer to as "a case of the doldrums."
Note that this new emotional state is not presented as a consequence of failed action. The Premise/Storyform represents the totality of the experience, not merely the end result. The process of running through that experience plays a permanent role in sharing what it feels like to face that conflict.
Yes, resolution in the outside world might be found—a “Goal” may be achieved—but to the Female Mental Sex mind, that sense of not vibing with the outside world continues to be a source of irritation.
For instance, the Premise for Election paints a picture of the Female Mental Sex mind's new encounter with emotional stagnation:
::premise Looking out for others in order to indulge temptations keeps you from growing, leaving you feeling stuck and unfulfilled. ::
With a new path, the Female Mental Sex mind juggles both external and internal concerns, played out within the Premise with the juxtaposition of both Character and Plot, of Temptation (Character) and Altruism (Plot):
::premise ALTRUISM in order to TEMPTATION keeps you from growing, leaving you feeling stuck and unfulfilled. ::
With this arrangement of key narrative Storypoints mixed with emotional stagnation, one sees the entirety of what it means to think holistically.
The Male Mental Sex mind sees Outcome and Judgment as coming after the story plays out—a linear progression of cause and effect with the result that suggests that this happened because of that. Give up this Element or gain that Element, and you will achieve that Outcome.
The Female Mental Sex mind sees Judgment and Outcome as an ongoing process that arises throughout the story. This is why many Female Mental Sexed minds can sense and possibly spoil a show’s ending for the Male Mental Sexed mind. To the Female Mental Sex mind, the Outcome and Judgment are present in each and every scene. To the Male Mental Sex mind, the end hasn’t happened yet and to guess is merely another case of “intuition” getting in the way of a good show.
The story of Election argues that, while indulging temptations may help you look out for others, the process keeps you stagnant and unfulfilled--a new direction that leaves you out of sorts with the world around you.
The next set of narrative potentials looks to those stories where the Female Mental Sex mind begins to find alignment with truth, but still fails to align seamlessly with the outside world. The path is known and sense of presence enters the mind—but it is a path not yet fully embraced.
With a story of Virtue, the Male Mental Sex mind sees a Failure as worth the good feelings it brings to the individual. To the Female Mental Sex mind balance is everything, and while one might feel themselves feeling a bit more present, the lack of resolution in the external continues to leave the self and the world out of alignment. To the Female Mental Sexed, nothing is “solved", only a level of balance.
The path of balance is primary.
Spike Jonze’s techno-romance film her offers a look at this higher state of vibration:
::premise Opening yourself up to greater awareness of others manages unexpected circumstances, while sending you down the path of becoming more present. ::
A bit wordy—but when is it ever easy to describe the Female Mental Sex experience in a few simple words?
Here we see a Premise statement on the way towards being eventual Composure (a Female/Changed/Success/Good story), but definitely feeling a sense of being more Present. The path forward lies in a new direction for the Character while managing the issues of the Plot:
::premise Opening yourself up to AWARE manages CIRCUMSTANCES, while sending you down the path of becoming more present. ::
The striking difference between this new sense of Presence and one of Composure is the indication of an intention towards balance, but one not yet achieved. This shift foretells of a greater alignment—a path for one to continue down if they are to find a relative peace between self and the outside world.
As with every Premise, meaning consists of the juxtaposition between an Objective Premise Method, or Plot component, and a Subjective Premise Element, or Character component. With the Female Mental Sex mind, the Objective looks to an Issue in the Objective Story Throughline, while the Subjective focuses on a critical Element buried deep within the Main Character’s Throughline.
While the Female Mental Sex story of Composure introduces a third component to balance out the subjective, or Character element, these stories of Stagnation and Presence leave that Element for another day. With the "Venturing into Doldrums" stories, that personal alignment falls out of sync with the realities of the outside world, making the absence of the Balance Element crucial towards expressing its meaning.
To the Female Mental Sexed mind, relationships are everything—more critical than Goals, and certainly more compelling than Consequences. Without that key balancing agent of the third element, these Premises express a palpable sense of ennui.
This focus on the relationship carries over into any story featuring a move towards emotional stagnation.
Consider The Social Network:
::premise Moving to the front of the line in order to produce something keeps you from growing, leaving you feeling stuck and unfulfilled. ::
The Storymind of The Social Network is a mind constantly out-of-sync with everyone around it. While that level of vibration leads to the creation of the world’s largest and most pervasive social network, it fails to ultimately fulfill oneself—only indicating a direction one should take to bridge the chasms between others.
::premise EXPEDIENCY in order to PRODUCTION keeps you from growing, leaving you feeling stuck and unfulfilled. ::
The balance of a mind driven to produce something (a Method of Production) with the external implications of moving to the front of the line (a Method of Expediency) manifests emotional stagnation--a place where the self can't quite gel with the outside world.
The Path of Presence story takes a different route as it tells of the individual on the way towards greater balance. While it indicates the possibility of balance, accurate alignment still awaits.
Leave No Trace is a film that scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, yet virtually no one knows about. The reason? A Female Mental Sex Premise that advocates eventual fulfillment over solving an unsolvable problem:
::premise Opening yourself up to a moving on manages having to give someone constant attention, while sending you down the path of becoming more present. ::
In contrast to the Premises for The Social Network and Election--which focused on the Element keeping one stagnant, the Premise for Leave No Trace indicates the Element at the heart of a new direction.
::premise ENDING manages THOUGHT, while sending you down the path of becoming more present. ::
Again, the intention to align the self opens up the mind to be more receptive of staying present—and in doing so, reveals the point of disconnect between self and the external world.
The Male Mental Sex mind operates in an area of Goal and Consequence, Problem and Solution. The Female Mental Sex mind prefers Frequency and Vibration, Inequity and Equity, Staying Present or Stagnation (Not Growing). Balance is always the intended direction, a path taken when the outcome is unknown.
These two additional thematic arguments—the Changed/Female/Success/Bad Emotional Stagnation Premise and the Changed/Female/Failure/Good High Path of Presence Premise—explore an area essential to the Female Mental Sex experience.
By presenting these new additions to Subtxt, we hope to honor that process and draw those more Female Mental Sexed writers closer to their story.
The first casuality of separation is an isolated self.
Connection is everything to the Female Mental Sexed mind. When you measure your experience in terms of balance and relationships, the separation felt from being cut off is one of life's greatest tragedies. It's almost impossible for a holistic to dwell in total isolation—which explains why there are so few stories about these horrible circumstances.
The current version of Subtxt offers well over 500 different unique story structures. Of those, only seven feature a Female Mental Sexed structure where the mind of the story changes while in a state of extreme disconnection. It rarely happens—because the Female Mental Sexed mind would never entirely change without the security of knowing it was in tandem with the Universe.
Seven stories. Out of 500+ storyforms.
One of those is so challenging no one really talks about it (I'm Thinking of Ending Things), and another is so strange that it only served to cement one filmmaker firmly in the independent zone (Tod Solodnz and Welcome to the Dollhouse).
Of course a third, the Milagro episode from the sixth season of The X-Files, happens to be one of my favorite stories—but it's also about the tragedy of being a writer and features John Hawkes—so the show has a couple bonuses working in its favor.
Disconnection is the ultimate tragedy for the Female Mental Sexed mind--certainly not a place they want to visit often.
A Male Mental Sexed mind finds Tragedy in the juxtaposition of two key Storypoints: a Story Outcome of Failure and a Story Judgment of Bad. Hamlet, Othello, Manchester by the Sea, and The Florida Project all portray a Male Mental Sexed mind that resolves to change its approach—but finds Failure and more considerable angst (Bad) in the process.
The Holistic takes the same two Storypoints and builds a sense of disconnection throughout the entire story. That emotional state of being isolated, of seeing the solidity of self separate from the Universe, envelops the mind in tragic desolation. Depression and hopelessness kick in, bringing the frequency of vibration so low, that every choice only draws one further and further away from the desired outcome.
Consider Oliver Stone’s Platoon:
::premise Victimizing yourself with the uncertainty of rash and impulsive behavior disconnects you from the outside world, clouding your recognition of truth with shades of being untried in combat. ::
Sounds like that depressed state of emotion, right? The Female Mental Sex mind can't make the connections it needs while in that low state of vibration and thus, falls into greater and greater despair.
The Female Mental Sex lives for balance. Living in this separated state only draws it further and further away from home, and closer and closer to a Male Mental Sexed mind's experience of life—something that seems dreadfully simplistic and ultimately pointless to the Female Mental Sex mind.
That's why the Objective Premise Method of this Female Mental Sex story falls back on the Male Mental Sexed mind's preference for Goal and Consequence. When in alignment, or close to it, the Female Mental Sex mind vibes with the analog variations of the Objective Story Issue. While in this depressed state of low vibrations, the Female Mental Sexed mind turns to the Story Consequence—mimicking the Male Mental Sexed mind in an attempt to find stable ground.
But it never works. And it never fulfills.
The Female Mental Sexed mind can never be sure of linearity and thus, merely finds it a last option of sorts until it can find that connection once again.
Juxtaposing the Objective Premise Method of the Story Consequence with the Subjective Premise Element of the Female Mental Sexed Main Character's attempt at equity (Intention) creates a basis for appreciating this depressed state of emotion:
::premise Victimizing yourself with the uncertainty of PRECONSCIOUS disconnects you from the outside world, clouding your PROVEN with shades of PRESUMPTION. ::
Proven is the Main Character Pivotal Element and the Preconscious, or impulsive and rash behavior, is the Story Consequence of Platoon. Taylor proves himself a soldier as he intended, with the unintended consequence of finding out that man's instinct for war runs counter to his nature.
When you factor in the totality of experience, as a Female Mental Sex mind does, you feel that overwhelming sense of hopelessness in the Premise.
Let's try another one of those six films, this time The X-Files episode Milagro:
::premise Isolation disconnects natural talents from the outside world, allowing the uncertainty of misunderstanding one's purpose into your experience. ::
If you're familiar with this episode, you know this Premise absolutely captures its tragic and offbeat essence.
The difference in structure of this Premise with the previous is a result of separate narrative dynamics. Platoon is an Overwhelming narrative (a Main Character Growth of Stop and a Story Judgment of Bad). The Milagro X-Files Episode is a Bearable, or Surmountable narrative (a Main Character Growth of Start and a Story Judgment of Bad). With an Overwhelming narrative, the Objective Premise Method precedes the Subjective Premise Elements. A more Bearable narrative finds the Subjective Element appearing before the Objective Element.
::premise Isolation disconnects ABILITY from the outside world, allowing the uncertainty of UNDERSTANDING into your experience. ::
Ability is the Main Character’s Pivotal Element and Understanding, or in this case Mis- understanding, is the unfortunate Consequence. Writer Padgett removes himself from the world by allowing himself to be open to misunderstandings. This openness disconnects subject and object, thereby confusing abilities for desires.
A complete and utter low state of emotion—especially for a story about a writer trying to capture his heart's real intention.
With this final Premise structure within the Changed Resolve category, the Female Mental Sex mind samples the loneliness of the Male Mental Sex mind's experience. Lonely from the point-of-view of the Female Mental Sexed, not the Male—for if you asked the latter, he would most likely tell you he prefers the isolation to the connectedness, as that's the only way things can indeed get solved.
No approach is better than the other. One is merely more appropriate in different contexts. Nailing down and appreciating that meaning is the job of the Premise—which is why being able to ascertain Mental Sex from this simple sentence becomes so essential to a writer.
Having explored the various meanings present in a story where the mind resolves to move in a different direction, we now turn our attention to narratives where the mind stays the course and ends up changing the world around her.
Justifying as a means of solving problems.
Our minds take one of two paths when faced with an inequity: the way of problem-solving or the path of justification. Problem-solving seeks to resolve the inequity. Justification aims to hide the inequity from the mind. The trick with the Female Mental Sex mind's approach to inequity is that its version of problem-solving is actually just another form of justification.
A complete and functioning narrative consists of several vital dynamics. One of those dynamics, the Main Character Resolve, sets the nature of the story itself. A Changed Main Character Resolve, one where the Main Character adopts an entirely new point-of-view, signifies a Dilemma story.
The Steadfast Main Character Resolve story, one where the Main Character retains their world perspective, differs from the Changed Resolve in that the focus lies in the Work to be done, not the Dilemma. In fact, in these stories, a Dilemma never truly exists—the emphasis instead lies in maintaining that justification to carry on despite difficulties.
With the shift away from outcome incurred by a Dilemma, the Female Mental Sex narrative rests its meaning on the growth of self throughout the story. What is the process that draws one closer to an outcome?
Here we see the Female Mental Sexed mind's preference for justification as a method for conflict resolution. As conflict increases, the Steadfast Resolve must continually build up reasons, or justifications, for their approach.
The Male Mental Sexed mind problem-solves by problem-solving and justifies by justifying. The Female Mental Sex mind problem-solves by justifying and justifies by justifying.
The Female Mental Sexed mind) never wins in the eyes of a Male Mental Sexed thinker—they're always justifying, always making "excuses" for their behavior.
The Male approach to Steadfastness advocates a point of focus or a direction to take. Steadfast stories with a Main Character Growth of Stop draw attention to that point of focus. Those with a Main Character Growth of Start highlight the direction the work takes within the story.
A Male Mental Sex-minded approach to the Premise of Juno would read:
::premise Keep having faith and you can ensure a bright future for a newborn. ::
Do this, and you get that.
Clear and simple.
As the Female Mental Sexed mind is always concerned with self first, and that relationship between self and the outside world, their process of Steadfastness involves something much more complicated than simply flipping a switch.
With a mental operating system enginnered for relationships, the Female Mental Sexed mind constantly measures subjective with objective, Seeing both as a whole, the Female Mental Sexed intuits a vibration beyween the two that ranges from Distortion to Harmony on its path towards transcendence.
When aligned, subjective and objective account for both aspects of observation (internal and external) When distorted, both objective and subjective observations focus on one area to the exclusion of the other (internal over exterbal, or external over internal). The result of the former is a distorted view of the entire picture.
In Dramatica theory, this Distortion appears as a Main Character Growth of Stop: Objective Story Throughline and Main Character Throughline Domains are either both Universe and Physics (external) or Psychology and Mind (internal).
Harmony appears as a Main Character Growth of Start: both Domains are either Universe and Psychology (external and internal) or Physics and Mind (external and internal).
Knowing this is important as it sets the relative relationship between time and space in both the objective and subjective points-of-view.
Adjusting the Male interpretation of a Steadfast Premise to account for this need to measure objective against subjective, the Female Mental Sexed Premise for Juno now reads:
::premise Limiting beliefs distort your issues with being open hearted, while pointing you towards transcendence. ::
As with previous Female Mental Sexed incarnations of the Premise, the Objective Premise Method, or key Plot Element, moves away from Goal and Consequence to rest its eyes upon the more dynamic Objective Story Issue.
In Juno, that Issue is an Element of Openness. The Subjective Premise Element, or key Character Element remains in the Main Character Pivotal Element space--in this case, Faith—limiting beliefs that hold you back.
Those limiting beliefs (Juno's skeptical nature) clash with the openness issues surrounding a teenage preganacy and subsequent adoption to create a sense of distortion within the mind of the story. Conversationally speaking, the film illustrates this distorition through comes the snarky and cynical Juno. The fact that this snark fails to pull her (and the story) out of the present moment grants a light-hearted "Good" feeling to the entire narrative.
The same Distorted Transcendence appears in the Jimmy Stewart classic, Harvey. A Male Mental Sexed mind would interpret the meaning of that film as:
::premise Keep ignoring reality and you can change the people around you. ::
Close, but not quite the essence of the film.
A Female Mental Sexed interpretation, on the other hand, would see:
::premise Ignoring the reality around you distorts your issues with commitments, while pointing you towards transcendence. ::
Again, that element of transcending signals to the Female Mental Sexed mind a positive direction of growth (a Story Judgment of Good). The distortion makes it known that the journey will be a bit of a struggle.
When objective and subjective co-exist, each accounting for either external or internal observations, Harmony settles in. This, combined with the Power of staying in the present moment affords us a Premise more in-line with a Female/Steadfast/Start/Good dynamic.
A Bronx Tale carries this particular set of Dynamics:
::premise Being in harmony with being open minded about a group allows your issues with being respected by others point you towards transcendence. ::
sounds more like the essence of A Bronx Tale, especially when compared what the Male Mental Sex mind would see given the same set of narrative dynamics:
::premise Keep being curious, and you can evolve with the times. ::
Again, the Male Mental Sex version is close to the meaning of the film--but the Female Mental Sex version is even closer. And with Subtxt, we want to get as close as we can to the intension of the work in question.
Consider the Premise for Roma:
::premise Being in harmony with reading things a particular way allows your issues with difficult situations point you towards transcendence. ::
Some dislike this film, suggesting it was a mistake to give Alfonso Cuarón the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Nine times out of ten, this disgruntled nature is the result of a predominantly Male Mental Sexed mind struggling with the impracticality of the above statement.
How does "being in harmony with reading things" keep you in the present moment [or point you towards transcendence]? You read things the way you read things, end of discussion. And even so, how does the way I see things possibly help me fix a difficult situation?
It doesn't. One doesn't lead to the other in a typical cause-and-effect manner. Which is why the particular set of conflicts encountered in Roma long for a Female Mental Sexed mind to counter them. You can't "fix" social and cultural revolution—but you can manage it. And Roma offers up one possible direction to address that kind of crisis.
If growing towards transcendence signals a positive direction, then "not growing" alerts us to someone stuck, and headed in the wrong direction.
Consider the Female Mental Sex Premise for Moulin Rouge!:
::premise Going wild for someone keeps you from growing, distorting your relationships with being overly possessive ::
By remaining in that justified and disorganized state, Christian (Ewen McGregor) keeps himself distorted and unavailable to grow beyond his wild and freeing behavior. This distortion clouds his relationships (and the relationships of others) with this drive of being overly possesive.
A Male Mental Sexed mind might try and write the same story with this Premise:
::premise Everyone suffers the tragic consequences of losing everything when you keep living free ::
And now you know why Moulin Rouge! is a Female Mental Sex narrative and not a Male Mental Sex one. Not quite the same impact. Not quite the same meaning.
Moulin Rouge! is unique to this current discussion in that the Story Outcome, or Story Intention, ends in Failure. The mind of story becomes Overwhelmed with notions of Obtaining. We see this play out in the Premise with the Objective Story Method, or key Plot Element, shifting to the Story Consequence of Obtaining, rather than the Objective Story Issue of Responsibility.
The drama, 45 Years aligns itself more closely to the previous examples with a Story Outcome of Success. The Intention of remembering and recognizing the anniversary (an Objective Story Goal of Memory) ends in Success (Story Outcome of Success). Unfortunately, for the Main Character, things turn sour:
::premise Wanting to be wanted keeps you from growing, distorting your relationships with finding evidence to support an idea ::
Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) creates more and more distortion in that film as she contends with her husband's illicit affair and a subsequent aversion to her. Finding evidence to support the idea that she isn't wanted only distorts the very relationship she sought to memoralize.
Years later, I can't remember the plot of the film, but I do remember this sense of emotional blockage that infused the entire experience. That is the experience of the Female Mental Sex narrative—relationships over plot.
If the Steadfast/Female/Stop/Bad illustrates a failure to grow through distortion, then the Steadfast/Female/Start/Bad dynamic illustrates inertia while in the presence of harmony--equally as disturbing for the Female Mental Sexed mind. To reflect this sense of uncomfortableness, harmony transmutes into a simple "continuation."
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) allows confusion from every corner to seep into the narrative with its central Premise:
::premise Continuing to be unpredictable keeps you from growing, allowing confusing situations with others to persist ::
What a strange and alien notion, yet one that makes complete emotional sense. The Female Mental Sexed mind thrives on being open and receptive. When in a state of inertia (not gorwing), this justified state only confuses the mind with an inability to know which end is up. And whether or not what you're inviting it will increase or decrease that sense of disassociation.
With The Manchurian Candidate, that inertia attracts unpredictability and in turn allows the mind to fall into a state of confusion over who is who and what is what. There is no solution, no goal to be achieved, no stakes to overcome. Just a pure experience of deep emotions and chaos as a mind navigates its place in the world.
Interestingly enough, this is not a popular set of narrative Dynamics to explore. Scanning through Subtxt's collection of hundreds and hundreds of Storyforms, only four fit into this emotional state: The Glass Menagerie, The Manchurian Candidate, Eve's Bayou, and Mrs. Miniver.
Does this make this narrative any less of a story because the central character is not the driving force or that the "stakes" aren't big enough? No. Because a story is an analogy to our mind's approach to inequity and sometimes, that process of inequity resolution is more about the state of mind rather than solving a particular problem.
As with previous instances of a Female Mental Sex Premise, the Subjective Premise Element references the Main Character Pivotal Element, and the Objective Premise Method taps the Objective Story Issue.1
In stories where the Main Character's Resolve is Steadfast, the Work becomes more critical than the Dilemma. The focus of the narrative lies on the point of attention and the response towards that perception of inequity. In Changed stories, the Main Character Pivotal Element refers to either the Problem or Solution shared between the objective and subjective views of the narrative. Steadfast stories look to either the Focus or Direction element shared between these two perspectives.
Female Mental Sex stories adjust the dial even further in terms of understanding. To the Female Mental Sex mind, the Focus is a reference to Resistance, the Direction an indication of flow, or Allowance. Placing them alongside their Male counterparts in the Dramatica model, we begin to appreciate the differences between the two mindsets and the quality of narrative structure present in both:
Focus and Direction almost walk the line between the two mindsets, not wholly Male and not entirely Female. Recent versions of Dramatica cemented the Male approach by converting Focus into Symptom and Direction to Response.
The Female Mental Sex mind does not deal in Focus, and their responses are rarely a reaction to what they think is a "problem." When it comes to inequities, they appreciate resistance and allowance (or flow) in relation to that irritant.
Stop stories find the Female Mental Sex Storymind appreciating this Resistance through Distortion. Start stories draw Flow through Harmony.
Reduced down to its base elements, the Premise for Juno, a Steadfast/Female/Stop/Good story, reads:
::premise FAITH distorts your issues with OPENNESS, while pointing you towards transcendence ::
Faith is the shared Focus/Resistance Element creating Distortion, and Openness is the Objective Story Issue.
Moulin Rouge!, a Steadfast/Female/Stop/Bad story, takes a different path:
::premise Free keeps you from growing, distorting your relationships with OBTAINING ::
Both narratives describe an experience of Distortion in the Female Mental Sex mind. One builds up resistance by refusing to grow (a Bad Judgment), while the other manages the resistance by staying present (a Good judgment).
Peeling away the layers of storytelling wrapped up in A Bronx Tale reveals these key Elements:
::premise Being in harmony with UNENDING allows your issues with WORTH point you towards transcendence ::
Tennessee Williams's play The Glass Menagerie is another instance of Female Mental Sex Allowance, but one where that flow reamins static:
::premise Continuing to SUPPORT keeps you from growing, allowing DELAY with others to persist ::
Both narratives focus on Flow or allowance. One allows that flow through staying present (a Good Judgment), the other finds that flow keeping one from growing (a Bad Judgment).
With this final set of narrative arguments, we complete our exploration of the Premise. The "Greed leads to self-destruction" approach is no longer sufficient enough to describe the thematic intent of a story. A Premise needs to combine both objective and subjective concerns together, and it needs to address the Female Mental Sex or Male Mental Sex mind of the narrative itself.
A complete story is a total mind—one that explores conflict from several different points-of-view, and one that approaches the underlying inequity conflict through either problem-solving or justification. With the Female Mental Sex approach to the latter now explained, writers of every mindset can now find a Premise that supports and helps foster their unique view of the world.
Except in cases where the Story Outcome ends in Failure and the Story Judgment is Bad, as in the above example with Moulin Rouge! Those stories gravitate towards the Story Consequence, or Overwhelm, of Obtaining. ↩