Blog Post

The Holistic Approach to Understanding a Story

Feb 15th, 2021

In this video, I cover a new understanding of The Holistic Premise. Referencing the dual aspects of the Main Character Growth and the Story Judgment, Subtxt now takes into consideration the amount of Distortion or Harmony between the objective and subjective views of a story. Combine this with whether or not the mind of the story is present or not growing, and we have the foundation for a stronger understanding of the meaning of these kinds of stories.


[00:00:00] Safari: Hey everyone. Welcome to the holistic approach to working through conflict. And what I wanted to do this time is share with you what I've been working on this past week. Which came about as a result of building up the holistic premise in Subtxt, finding a way to justify the story and figure out a way to get a really good premise from a Storyform.

So you don't have to read through all the Storypoints, but you can get an idea of what the Storyform is actually about by just reading the Premise. So in this video, I'm going to go over Steadfast Holistic stories. So if you're familiar with Dramatica, those are the ones with the Main Character Resolve of Steadfast and the Main Character Mindset of Holistic and Holistic mindset is all about relationships, all about balance.

So a lot of what you'll see here is something that's taking that into consideration. It's not so much solving a problem or fixing something or achieving a goal, but it's really about [00:01:00] managing relationships and balancing, you know, what's happening between things.

So, what I have here is an article that I wrote a couple of years back and what I always do with Narrative First is anytime I come up with a new understanding of Dramatica theory or a new appreciation of it, I go ahead and go back into the original articles and rewrite them so that it's always like a canon version of what it is that is in Subtxt.

This whole article here is part of a whole series about the Holistic Premise, but this one in particular is just about the Steadfast ones here. And I go through and explain they're really just two dynamics that I'm playing with right here. One is the Main Character Growth, which is either Start or Stop.

And the other one is the Story Judgment, which is Good and Bad. Previously. I had also tried to include the Story Driver. But as it turns out that really doesn't have a [00:02:00] huge impact on the actual justification of a Holistic storyform, it doesn't really play a huge part. So you can actually drop it out of the Premise and you're not really going to affect the story all that much.

And there's a new way in the Premise Builder that I have of actually figuring out what that is, that it really isn't a part of the actual premise. So here you have Juno, and this is a linear interpretation of it. So a Linear Steadfast story would be, "Keep having faith and you can ensure a bright future for a newborn," which really doesn't sound like Juno. But it's got that Faith character element.

And here I go over this new concept of Distortion and Harmony, which is something that my fiancé Summer had explained to me in the beginning of this year, about six weeks ago and it just really clicked with me. Like I just really understood what it was that she was talking about. And it's a different way [00:03:00] of looking at Start and Stop from a more holistic point of view, obviously she's more holistic in the way that she deals with things. I'm a bit more linear.

When you have a Stop story, when you have a Main Character Growth of Stop, the Objective story, and the Subjective story are in a horizontal relationship, right? So either they're both external or they're going to both be internal. In a Start stor,y a Start dynamic, one's going to be internal and one's going to be external. So start is vertical.

What happens is because with subjective and objective, one is looking outside and one is looking inside and then you have the two views of either external or internal. When both objective and subjective are looking at the same thing there's distortion, because the objective view is not the same thing as the subjective view. And so if you're both looking at the same thing, [00:04:00] there's going to be some distortion between the two of them.

When you have one focused on the external and the other focused on the internal that's when it feels, that's why it's, it feels like it's in harmony because both sides are looking at the same thing, but from different points of view and seeing different things.


With this concept, it's a more enlightened view of what it means to have a holistic story, you know, there's that distortion, I'm sure if you're more of a holistic writer than that idea of distortion and harmony actually probably clicks with you and probably something that's like, "Oh yeah, I totally get it right off the bat."

But that's why you have that distortion and why you have that harmony. I try and make it a little easier when you actually building a story to be able to have that, but I've incorporated that into the different premises that you'll now find in Subtxt.

The other aspect of it, so that was the Main Character Growth, the other aspect of it [00:05:00] is the Story Judgment, which is either in Dramatica theory is either Good or Bad.

Holistics aren't really, really keen on judgment. It's not really what it's all about, you know, whether or not, well, that was a good thing to do, or that was a bad thing to do. It's really about, is it uplifting emotionally or is it kind of dragging you down? And emotionally is probably just that's my linear viewpoint of what it is, but it's really more about are you moving in a positive direction or are you moving in a negative direction, whether or not it's distorted or whether or not you're in harmony. So that it comes up with four different things. Stop/Good, Stop/Bad and Start/Good, and Start/Bad.

So what is really great, and this ties in with some recent work I've been doing with the way that the holistic narrative actually goes around the quad instead of going in a typical Z pattern, is that what happens is the way that you can [00:06:00] account for whether or not it's a, a good or a bad thing is to look at whether or not the actual Premise the entirety of the story, so the premise is like the whole thing. The Storyform is the entire story.

If you are in a place where you are present, you know, you talk to a holistic or anybody, that's more concerned with relationships and inequities, they're all about staying present, staying in the present moment. And the reason for that is here you can see this is the quad for Universe: Past, Progress, Future and Present. And you can see here with the Present, that's where all the Power comes from.

So in a typical, linear narrative time in the dramatic model is this Z pattern, which is. Potential, Resistance, Current, and Outcome goes in a Z pattern. So you got a problem. There's some potential, resistance, you fight, and then there's some outcome here, right? And this, this is where all the [00:07:00] energy is.

The energy in a holistic narrative. It's actually, it's one, that's not really a step before, but it's the Power that allows the Flow and it creates this never-ending spiral that goes through the actual story.

So the way that you can account for whether or not it's Good or Bad in a premise is whether or not that message is incorporating some aspect of staying present, or is it keeping you from growing? Are you kind of stuck here in the progress part--kind of inert? To a holistic, staying inert, staying stuck, not growing is a bad thing. That's what you're gonna see in all these premises.

So here with Juno, you know, that kind of weird one that we were talking about here before now, her whole thing was not so much as she's skeptical, but [00:08:00] that her faith is a little tempered, right? It's like, I'm not sure if I totally believe that. And that's kind of where the comedy is. So having limiting beliefs keeps you present, but distorts your openness with others. And previously I had states of emotional vibration, which nobody really connected with. That was my understanding of holism at the time.

But this one I feel like is a lot closer to what it is and can really get across the point of, of the film, what it's about, you know, having those limiting beliefs keeps you present. It's it's a good thing, but it distorts your openness with others, right? So that is a stop. Good narrative. With Harvey, it's the same sort of dynamic, same distortion, but also staying present, which you can feel in the film. If you haven't seen it, it's a great film. You should check out. So here, the premise is ignoring the reality around you keeps you present, but distorts your commitments [00:09:00] with others, right? So he's able to stay present and kind of glide through everything by ignoring the reality and there's an element of Disbelief, which is kind of the opposite of the Faith that Juno had, but it distorts your commitments with others, whether or not somebody is, feels like they're committed to you, whether or not you should be committed and has that kind of vibe to it.

The next one are the Start/Good stories and those are ones where there is harmony while present. So the Stop/Good was present yet, distorted. This is harmony while present. And the best example of this is A Bronx Tale, which is something I just watched recently. So here, "Being in harmony with curiosity keeps you in the present moment, allowing your respectful nature to deepen relationships."

That feels very good and feels harmonious. C, in the film, is very curious. Keeps him in the present moment. And then his, that respectful nature actually strengthens and encourages relationships

Another [00:10:00] example of that would be from Roma, "Being in harmony with your own perceptions keeps you in the present moment, allowing your juggling of predicaments to deepen relationships." So the main character in that film, and the Premise isn't really always just applying to the main character, but you can find that a lot of it, especially in the holistic narrative, it is because that's, you know, the subjective is the most important thing, When she's so aligned and just effortless with her own perceptions of how things are that keeps her present, which then allows her natural ability to juggle predicaments and be able to, you know, there's lots of different situations that she gets into. She's able to manage those, which then deepens the relationships and that's a good thing.

So that's the Start/Good and the Stop/Good. And then we move on to the not so good, which would be Stop/Bad. And here you have again, [00:11:00] distortion because it has that Stop dynamic. But now the bad aspect is going to show up with an element of not growing.

Here in Moulin Rouge! and I think I actually changed this in the final analysis, but instead of being free, it's being wild about someone, you know, like letting your emotions just go crazy. "Being wild about someone keeps you from growing distorting, your relationships with being overly possessive". So, you know, being wild about someone being crazy about somebody crazy in love actually keeps you from growing and while it is love it's, it's a good thing that freedom actually keeps you from growing, keeps you kind of locked in that place which then distorts your relationships with being overly possessive, which everybody in that film is about, which then makes it so that everything just comes crashing down.

Another one is with 45 years, same sort of [00:12:00] setup as Moulin Rouge!, and here, "Wanting to be wanted,". It's a couple, they're celebrating their 45 year wedding anniversary, but it's not as rosy as you would probably think, "Wanting to be wanted, keeps you from growin g." When you want to be wanted by someone, you know, it's like, Oh, I'm married to him there should be some element of desire there, but that want actually keeps you from growing and distorts your relationships with finding evidence to support an idea. So the idea of that recursive sort of thing, like, "I really want to be wanted by this person". And because of that, now it's distorting my relationship with them so I'm going to find even more evidence to support the fact that I should be wanted more. And then that's just, you see how that feels like a really bad thing. That is a Stop/Bad, Holistic Steadfast story.

And then finally one, that's actually not that common really. It's only about four or five films out of the 450 [00:13:00] that I have in Subtxt right now is the Start/Bad, which is strange to think about you're in harmony, but yet you're not growing. So I think that's why it's not as popular a story to explore.

So for instance Ford versus Ferrari. Here you can see it's the same sort of thing where it's that Start dynamic, that Harmony dynamic, but with a bad or a not growing Bad judgment.

Staying in harmony with answering others, keeps you from growing, allowing reinventing yourself to challenge relationships. So again, that's a little awkward, but I'll try to explain it. When you stay in harmony with answering others. So you're really okay with reacting to people and answering their questions and doing whatever it is they need you to do and trying to manage that, it actually keeps you from growing it keeps you in this like recursive state again, and it allows that effort to kind of redefine yourself or [00:14:00] reinvent yourself to actually challenge the relationships with everybody you have. It's just creates this really bad sort of set of relationships and it really comes through in the film. And that's a really a good example of a Start/Bad story

All these will be in available to writers in their own stories in the coming months. Right now, what I'm doing is I'm going through and rebuilding all the narrative Premises here for each Storyform , and just making sure that the verbiage, the way that the algorithm goes through and takes the dynamics of the story to create the Premise , so that when it comes to actually putting that into your stories, it just becomes second nature and it's not something that I'm constantly changing. Because this idea of distortion and harmony, and then, the present moment or not growing is very simple. It's a really easy way to understand the holism in the context of a narrative. So I just want to go through [00:15:00] and make sure that it is as simple as it is to understand, I want to make sure it's effortless to actually integrate into Subtxt.

So that's what I'm going to go do right now is go through all of these hundreds of narratives and make sure all the Holistic Steadfast stories feel great and sound great. And if you have any questions about any of this, of course, you can send me an email and I love having feedback because that way I can mold and shape subtext to be the kind of thing that benefits the most amount of people. So have a great night and I will talk to you later.