Embracing the Future of Narrative: Introducing Intentional Storytelling

Harnessing Technology to Transcend Traditional Narrative Craft

In the vast expanse of narrative craft, a revolutionary concept is gaining traction: Intentional Storytelling. Drawing its roots from a paradigm in software development called Intentional Programming, Intentional Storytelling proposes a fresh approach to constructing narratives, focusing on the intent rather than the mechanics of storytelling.

The Origins: Intentional Programming

Intentional Programming (IP), a concept pioneered by Charles Simonyi from Microsoft Research, encourages the separation of a programmer's intent from the specifics of implementation. In IP, programmers operate in a domain-specific language (DSL) that resonates closely with the problem at hand. The intentions captured in the DSL are then transformed into a final product, often code in a conventional language, by an underlying system. This methodology optimizes code clarity and maintenance, prioritizing the 'what' (intent) over the 'how' (implementation).

Intentional Storytelling: A New Narrative Approach

Building on this programming philosophy, Intentional Storytelling invites storytellers to frame their narratives using a DSL designed for storytelling, abstracting away from the actual prose or dialogue. This DSL could encapsulate various narrative elements like plot, characters, settings, themes, and narrative arcs.

Consider the application of the Dramatica Theory of Story as a perfect illustration of such a DSL. This comprehensive model for narrative structure encompasses elements like throughlines, character archetypes, and plot progressions. A storytelling platform like Subtxt can act as an interface to define and manipulate these elements in a manner consistent with the Dramatica model.

Authors, instead of crafting the story directly, outline their intentions for these elements, focusing on what they wish the narrative to encompass. The subsequent conversion of these intentions into a comprehensive story is achieved via an "interpreter", such as the language models used by Subtxt.

Bridging Intent and Narrative

By defining the story's structure in Subtxt, the author creates an intentional blueprint of the narrative. Subtxt then employs language models to transform these intentions into a narrative outline or treatment. This approach to storytelling makes the narrative process more accessible and manageable, allowing authors to manipulate story elements more easily.

Nevertheless, it sparks questions about creativity and the human touch in storytelling, paralleling the craftsmanship discussions spurred by Intentional Programming in the coding world.

Final Thoughts

The burgeoning field of Intentional Storytelling presents a promising and novel narrative framework, fueled by advancements in AI and narrative theory. By allowing storytellers to focus on their narrative intentions, this methodology paves the way for innovative, compelling, and finely crafted stories. While challenges and questions certainly lie ahead, the potential for reshaping the storytelling landscape is undoubtedly immense.

Stay tuned for future explorations into this fascinating intersection of technology and narrative craft. Who knows? Your next favorite novel could be an outcome of Intentional Storytelling!

Download the FREE e-book Never Trust a Hero

Don't miss out on the latest in narrative theory and storytelling with artificial intelligence. Subscribe to the Narrative First newsletter below and receive a link to download the 20-page e-book, Never Trust a Hero.