May 14, 2024

GPT-4 Rolls Out to All Subtxt Users

Explore narrative creativity with our latest GPT-4 tools

It's an exciting time at Narrative First as we announce a transformative update for all our Subtxt subscribers: the general release of GPT-4, the latest and most advanced AI from OpenAI. This update is designed to empower your creative process, enabling you to develop stories with an intelligence and sophistication previously unreachable.

What’s New for All Subscribers?

As of today, logging into Subtxt will greet you with a ready-to-go setup featuring GPT-4o. With just a simple tap on the newly marked Subtxt Muse button, you can start exploring depths of narrative and character development like never before.

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned writer, the enhanced capabilities of GPT-4 are designed to seamlessly integrate into your creative workflow, ensuring that the only limit is your imagination.

Exploring the Modes of Muse: Choose Your Creative Companion

One of the most exciting features of the new GPT-4 upgrade is the ability to access different "modes" of Muse by tapping the Mind button at the top of the screen. This functionality introduces what we like to call "Mueses"—a playful plurality of Muses—each tailored to distinct aspects of storytelling and theory.

Muse Mode: Your Default Creative Partner

The default mode, Muse, is your go-to for direct story development. Here, you can craft narratives, develop characters, and refine plots with the enhanced intelligence of GPT-4. Muse acts as your personal story consultant, offering insights and suggestions that enrich your narrative framework.

Theory Mode: A Deep Dive into Decades of Narrative Wisdom

For those looking to deepen their understanding of narrative structures, Theory mode offers a wealth of knowledge. By selecting Theory, you tap into a comprehensive database of over three decades of articles, analyses, blog posts, podcast transcriptions, and support emails. This mode is designed to educate and inspire by providing a deep dive into various parts of narrative theory, helping you to see your story through a sophisticated lens of storytelling principles.

Future Expansions: More Muses on the Horizon

Looking ahead, we’re excited to expand this concept with more specialized Mueses. Soon, you'll also be able to invoke Muse Personas from the older version of Muse, which offer even more personalized advice and insights tailored to your unique storytelling needs.

Tailored Experiences for Pro and Infinite Subscribers

Our Pro and Infinite subscribers will continue to enjoy additional benefits. These tiers offer more extensive content possibilities and a larger memory bank for Muse. Moreover, Muse can intelligently select the most suitable Muse-mode for answering specific storytelling queries or for fleshing out different parts of your story . We’re also rolling out exclusive Storyforming tools that simplify and enhance the story development process, making it easier to bring your vision to life.


Comprehensive AI Enhancements Across Subtxt

It’s not just Muse that’s getting an upgrade; we’ve enhanced all AI interactions across the Subtxt app to ensure a seamless and more engaging user experience. With the integration of GPT-4, you will notice improvements not only in how you interact with Muse but across all functionalities of the platform.

Faster Response Times

We’ve optimized our systems to ensure quicker response times throughout the app. This means less waiting and more doing, allowing you to flow from one idea to the next with minimal interruption. Whether you're querying Muse, navigating through narrative theory, or exploring different story possibilities, everything now happens faster.

Friendlier and More Intuitive Interactions

Along with speed, we’ve focused on the tone and style of interactions. Expect responses that are not just faster, but also friendlier and more intuitive. We understand that the creative process is not just about efficiency but also about enjoyment and ease. Our AI now not only understands your questions better but responds in a way that is more aligned with the supportive and creative spirit of Subtxt.


Understanding the Different Subtxt Subscription Tiers: Subtxt, Subtxt Pro, and Subtxt Infinite

As we celebrate the integration of GPT-4 across all our subscription levels, it's important to understand the distinct capabilities each tier offers. While all our subscribers benefit from the latest updates, the difference in experience comes down to two key factors: memory and context capacity.

Subtxt: Ideal for Everyday Storytellers

The standard Subtxt tier is designed to meet the needs of everyday storytellers who wish to harness the power of the new Muse and GPT-4. This tier includes a daily usage limit that supports a wide range of story development activities without overwhelming the user. Once the limit is reached, the system automatically transitions to using GPT-3.5, ensuring you can continue working on your story with a slightly reduced model. This ensures that all users have fair access to our resources while still enjoying a robust storytelling tool.

Subtxt Pro: A Power User’s Dream

Subtxt Pro is tailored for power users who need more from their Muse. With a usage cap that is 5x that of the standard Subtxt tier, Pro users are far less likely to experience any rollback to the smaller model. This tier is perfect for users who engage in more intensive writing sessions, especially useful during peak creative times like weekends.

Subtxt Infinite: Unlimited Creativity

For the ultimate narrative development experience, Subtxt Infinite offers unlimited usage without any daily limits. Subscribers to this tier enjoy an extended memory context—sometimes double that of Pro—allowing for more complex and longer narrative threads to be maintained without interruption. This tier is ideal for professional writers, researchers, and anyone deeply involved in extensive story crafting or theoretical exploration.

Continuous Improvement and Updates

As we progress, we will continue to enhance and update our models to ensure that each tier benefits from the latest advancements in AI technology. This ongoing development means that Subtxt, Subtxt Pro, and Subtxt Infinite will evolve, offering increased capacity and improved features that align with the cutting-edge of AI technology.


Key Updates for Today's Release

  • Muse Popup Version: Initially, the popup version of Muse will use the older system to avoid disrupting any projects currently in progress. We will introduce an option to switch to the newer Muse version in the popup later this week.
  • Usage Limits: At launch, there are no usage limits for Subtxt subscribers. If you see any messages indicating otherwise, please know it's just a bug that we're in the process of fixing.
  • Document Uploads: We are aware of issues with document uploads in the new Muse, stemming from complications with OpenAI's API. Uploading through the older version of Muse remains a viable option until this is resolved.

A Leap Forward in Storytelling

We believe that the introduction of GPT-4 to Subtxt will revolutionize the way our users engage with story creation. The enhancements are not just improvements; they are a leap forward in digital storytelling tools. We are eager for you to experience the nuanced intelligence and dynamic capabilities of GPT-4.

This enhancement to the Subtxt platform underscores our commitment to evolving with your creative needs, ensuring that every story you tell is not just told, but masterfully crafted.

Happy writing! 📚

May 10, 2024

Locke

A wonderfully unique experience and fantastic narrative

Locke is more than a clever “indie” film with tremendous acting. This tight hour-and-a-half car ride with a single character stands as a shining example of solid narrative structure with very limited resources. The focus on intention—on the support and propagation of the premise—allows an economy of storytelling. Scenes and sequences fall away effortlessly when you stay within the context of the Storymind.

Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) starts the story with a single decision. Caught between the birth of his illegitimate child in another city and the career-defining project starting before dawn, Locke chooses the former. As we find out later, his father abandoned him at a young age—and Locke isn’t about to repeat the old man’s mistake.

This contentious relationship between father and son is perhaps the most interesting and compelling aspect of Locke. Typically, the Main Character and Influence Character of a story carry out the defining relationship of a narrative; it is the relationship between them that serves as the heart of a story.

With Influence Character and colleague Donal on the opposite side of a call, the story of Locke takes advantage of the fact that the Relationship Story Throughline is a perspective of conflict within a relationship, not any specific relationship. Donal can supply the alternate point-of-view that challenges Locke to grow as an individual, while Locke himself can work out the particulars between father and son.

This approach permits the heart of the story to rest between an uncompromising man and the ghost of his father. In this respect, Locke calls to mind Shakespeare’s Hamlet. One could even imagine this film playing out on stage as a one-man show.

And that has everything to do with the narrative structure of both this film, and Shakespeare’s defining play.

Narrowing in on the Narrative Personality

Genre is personality, and the specific arrangement of the sources of conflict within a narrative set the nature and feel of that personality. Locke is not a Marvel superhero film because Hardy doesn’t wear a bodysuit, it’s not a superhero film because the overall source of conflict is internal, not external.

Locke’s uncompromising attitude sits at the heart of all conflict within the narrative. It drives him to leave town, undermining the construction project in the process. It creates anxiety and panic in his friend Donal. It incites frustration and hopelessness in Gareth, his boss. It incurs hurt in Bethan, the woman having his child. And it ignites anger in Katrina, his wife.

It even manages to drive his current sons towards sadness and loss.

Locke’s drive to do the right thing (physically represented by his literal drive to do the right thing) focuses the source of conflict for everyone in the story in the area of problematic fixed attitudes. That’s why it feels like Hamlet, why it works so well as a one-man show, and why it so casually made $5 million worldwide at the box-office. Cinematic audiences don’t generally react well to narratives focused in this area.

Contrast this with another one-man show, the Ryan Reynolds thriller, Buried. While far less masterful in its narrative construction and storytelling, Buried made four times what Locke did in theaters. The reason? The emphasis of conflict in Buried weighed more heavily towards the external—towards being trapped in a coffin—rather than being trapped in a coffin of one’s mind.

While Locke’s drive as Protagonist to be thought of as a good man might not play as strongly in theaters as Reynold’s drive to escape being buried alive, it’s every bit as reasonable to examine, and far more eloquent and moving in its execution.

Especially since he ends up repeating his father’s mistake.

The Growth of the Main Character

Locke’s psychological need to fix things is his undoing. Driven to respond to the call of parenting in a way his father never could, Locke focuses all his attention on possibilities. He’s going to make it work. He’s going to be there for this child. And he’s going to make sure the foundation of his construction project runs smoothly from the very start—

—the construction of “his” building, and the construction of this new life.

His colleague Donal, the only one who can help insure the former, stands in Locke’s way philosophically. Locke believes you can always think your way out of any situation—Donal can’t climb his way out of a paper bag. The subordinate lacks a plan, a strategy to make it all work out, and challenges Locke to give up by way of refusing to respond.

At least, at first.

Act by Act, Locke doubles down on his steadfast resolve, eventually driving Donal to stop fighting—and instead, start making allowances for Locke’s precarious situation. This change of resolve sets like concrete with Donal’s bittersweet reminder that they all used to find Locke an acceptable and good man.

Something Locke’s wife refuses to entertain. To her, there’s a world of difference between once and never—and her uncompromising stance on this point locks in his failure.

Locke is a story of Personal Triumph. While he fails to maintain that universal opinion of himself as a good man, the idea that he is present to hear the sound of his child’s cry is more than enough to resolve his feelings of inadequacy from the past. Bethan asks if he’s coming, Locke smiles, and makes the decision to complete his task.

May 9, 2024

Revamping the Narrative: Subtxt's Latest Framework Enhancements

Subtxt updates methods, appreciations, and abstraction tones

At Narrative First, our mission to provide the very best creative writing app is an ongoing journey. This commitment involves a constant evolution and development of the foundations of our narrative framework. We strive to avoid stagnation in 20th-century thinking regarding the relationships between concepts within the framework.

To stay at the forefront, we continuously evaluate and measure responses between Subtxt and the AI services we integrate with, ensuring alignment with the best practices of the framework. As we adapt to advancements in large language models, some concepts and terminology require updates to better serve our users and maintain relevance.

Updated Methods

We have refined two methods of conflict to better encapsulate their narrative roles:

  • Free is now Abandon

    • Abandon: This method represents a character who scatters their energy in all directions, embracing total immersion in their environment without regard for boundaries or constraints. It highlights a breaking away from traditional limits, offering a sense of liberation. However, excessive abandon can lead to a loss of focus and potential relational strains due to erratic behaviors.
  • Unending is now Continuing

    • Continuing: This method fosters perseverance and an unwavering pursuit of goals. It views potential endpoints as opportunities for redirection and resilience. While this trait fuels motivation and helps overcome challenges, it can also hinder recognition of necessary conclusions, potentially impeding progress.

Updated Appreciations

To enhance clarity, especially in narratives involving Female Mental Sex, we have updated the appreciation formerly known as Revision:

  • Revision is now Adjustment (OS Adjustment, MC Adjustment, OC Adjustment, RS Adjustment)
    • This change also applies to the Relationship Story Throughline in Male Mental Sex stories, ensuring a consistent and clear communication of this concept.

Abstraction Tones

We have also refined the Abstraction Tones to better define their roles as storytelling elements:

  • Situation is now Situation(s)
  • Activity is now Action(s)
  • Mentality is now Justification(s)
  • Standpoint is now Position(s)

These updates not only maintain the functional essence of these tones but also enhance their communicative clarity by emphasizing their plural aspects, which reflect the multiple dimensions they can represent in a narrative.

We are excited about these updates and are committed to continuously refining our tools to keep pace with technological advancements. As we grow and expand, we ensure that our narrative framework does too, always aiming to provide you with the best possible resources for your creative endeavors.

Thank you for being part of our journey. We look forward to bringing you more updates as we evolve together in the ever-expanding landscape of narrative creation.

May 7, 2024

Muse: Your Story's Best Critic and Coach

Reviewing and refining your story elements

Do you ever wonder how your story stacks up against the greats? Or how you can elevate your narrative to resonate more profoundly with your audience? With Subtxt Infinite, your screenplay or novel isn't just written; it's crafted under the watchful guidance of Muse, a feature designed to not only generate content but also critically review it. Let's dive into how Muse can transform your story with its unique review capabilities.

Harnessing the Power of Muse

Imagine you're working on a gritty Western set in the late 1890s. Your Main Character (MC) is embroiled in a deep-seated struggle with 'Conceptualizing,' trying to grapple with complex ideas in a harsh, unforgiving frontier. How do you ensure this theme resonates through every page? That's where Muse comes into play.

Step 1: Drawing Inspiration from the Masters

First, we tap into Muse's extensive library to find examples of MC Concern of Conceptualizing in other narratives. Take, for instance, the film Lone Star. By analyzing how this concern is portrayed in such a story, Muse provides a foundation upon which to build your narrative.

Step 2: Tailoring the Theme to Your Story

Using the inspiration from "Lone Star," Muse then assists in rewriting these instances to fit the context of your late 1890s Western. This isn't just about fitting a square peg into a round hole; it's about reshaping the peg to complement its new environment perfectly.

Step 3: Focusing on the Core Concern

With a solid example in place, Muse crafts a focused paragraph that zeroes in on the MC's Concern of Conceptualizing. This paragraph isn't just narrative filler; it's a cornerstone of your MC's developmental arc, designed to highlight their inner conflict and growth.

Step 4: Review and Refine

Now, here’s the clincher: Muse reviews this critical piece of your story. By simply asking for a “review”—Muse evaluates the paragraph and provides intelligent and knowledgeable feedback. It's not just looking for coherence; it seeks depth, engagement, and the emotional weight of the narrative.

Based on this review, Muse offers actionable suggestions to enhance your story beyond the basic structure, moving past a 'mad-libs' style of story-development to something that feels organic and impactful.

Muse's suggestions might include deepening the emotional layers of a scene, enhancing dialogue to reflect the thematic concerns more clearly, or tweaking the setting to better mirror the inner turmoil of the MC. This feedback is gold—it's like having a seasoned editor sitting beside you, dedicated to your story's success.

Why Muse Matters

Muse isn’t just another tool; it’s your partner in the writing process. It combines the analytical prowess necessary to dissect great stories with the creative finesse of a skilled storyteller. Whether you're drafting a potential box-office hit or a novel that could redefine its genre, Muse ensures every element of your story is polished to perfection.

So, upload your draft to Subtxt, engage with Muse, and let the magic happen. Your story deserves more than just being written; it deserves to be masterfully crafted.

Ready to see how Muse can enhance your story? Check it out here and start your journey to a narrative that's not just told, but unforgettable.

Happy writing! ⌨️

May 5, 2024

New Storyform Added to Subtxt: The Iron Claw

New Addition to Muse's Narrative Matrix

We are thrilled to announce the latest addition to Muse's Narrative Matrix with the Storyform for the gripping film The Iron Claw. This powerful narrative delves into the tumultuous lives of the Von Erich family, set against the backdrop of professional wrestling, exploring themes of legacy, identity, and the burdens of familial expectations.

Four Throughlines of "The Iron Claw":

  1. Objective Story Throughline (Physics): The film captures the intense physicality and competitive spirit of the wrestling world, where the Von Erich family battles not only their opponents but also the immense pressure to maintain their legendary status. This Throughline showcases the external conflicts and challenges faced by the characters as they navigate the highs and lows of their wrestling careers.

  2. Main Character Throughline (Universe): Kevin Von Erich stands at the center of this narrative, wrestling with the weight of his family's storied legacy and the so-called "Von Erich curse." His journey is marked by personal struggles and moments of introspection as he seeks to reconcile his desires with the expectations placed upon him.

  3. Obstacle Character Throughline (Mind): Fritz Von Erich, the patriarch, embodies the mental and emotional barriers that challenge Kevin and his brothers. His rigid beliefs about the family's wrestling destiny and the curse shape the psychological landscape of the film, influencing decisions and family dynamics.

  4. Relationship Story Throughline (Psychology): The heart of the film lies in the complex and emotional relationship among the Von Erich brothers. Their deep bond, characterized by shared challenges and mutual support, provides the emotional core of the story, exploring how they cope with their father's demands and the legacy they are expected to uphold.

The Iron Claw Storyform offers a comprehensive analysis of these Throughlines and more, providing insights into the narrative structure and thematic depth of the film. For those interested in exploring this Storyform in detail, it is now fully available in Subtxt. Whether you're a writer, a filmmaker, or a storytelling enthusiast, the detailed analysis provided by Muse's Narrative Matrix is an invaluable resource for crafting engaging and meaningful narratives.

May 1, 2024

Subtxt Infinite: Elevate Your Storytelling to New Heights

Subtxt Infinite: Muse remembers, you create effortlessly.

Narrative First is thrilled to announce the launch of Subtxt Infinite, a groundbreaking enhancement to our beloved Muse platform. This latest evolution is specifically designed to cater to the ever-expanding needs of professional writers, film studios, and creative entities looking to dive deeper into the art of storytelling.

The Birth of Subtxt Infinite

Inspired by the vast feedback and requests from our community, Subtxt Infinite represents a major leap in narrative development technology. With an almost infinite context for conversations and an unmatched understanding of narrative structure, Subtxt Infinite is set to redefine how stories are conceived and told.

Subtxt Infinite

Key Feature of Subtxt Infinite

Infinitely Expanded Muse Memory: Subtxt Infinite introduces a revolutionary enhancement to Muse’s memory capabilities. Now, the platform remembers every detail of your story and prior conversations, regardless of when they occurred. This massively intelligent memory eliminates the need to remind Muse about the context of your narrative or previous discussions.

Writers can stay fully immersed in the creative flow, ensuring that every session with Muse is as productive and uninterrupted as possible. This feature not only boosts efficiency but also deepens the engagement with your narrative, allowing for a seamless storytelling experience.

Subtxt Infinite

Special Downloads for Our Community

To demonstrate the powerful capabilities of Subtxt Infinite, we have prepared two exclusive PDFs:

  • From Image to Epic: Follow the development of a story inspired by a random yet intriguing image from our favorite Bluesky account. Read "Echoes into the Void" PDF
  • A Christmas Carol Reimagined: Explore an alternate history narrative where the classic tale of Dickens is imagined through the structural lens of the modern film Elf. Read "A Tale of Two Spirits" PDF

Both of these documents are available for download on our Discord channel, providing a firsthand look at the potential of Subtxt Infinite in crafting compelling narratives.

An Irresistible Offer

To celebrate the launch of Subtxt Infinite, we are delighted to extend our special release day discount of $50 off the first month of Infinite(regularly $250). This offer has been extended for an additional 24 hours, providing a perfect opportunity for professionals who are either embarking on a new project or seeking breakthroughs in ongoing work.

Open Access for All Subscribers

In our commitment to inclusivity and providing value to our community, we are opening access to Subtxt Infinite for users across all subscription levels. Basic and Pro subscribers will particularly benefit from this:

  • Basic subscribers can send up to three messages a day, and Pro subscribers up to six, subject to server capacity. This limited daily interaction is designed to provide a taste of the Infinite experience without overwhelming our servers.

  • Special Flexibility for Yearly Subscribers: If you’re already committed to a yearly Basic or Pro subscription, you have the unique opportunity to "try out" Subtxt Infinite by simply purchasing a single month. Test it out to see if it fits your creative needs before making any changes to your subscription. You can always cancel at any time, and Subtxt will revert back to what you already had in place.

  • Month-to-Month Flexibility: This also means that you can use Subtxt Infinite just for a month to intensely develop your story, then switch back to your regular plan and get down to the actual writing—after all, the story isn’t going to write itself!

This temporary open access is our way of saying thank you to our community and inviting everyone to experience the future of storytelling with Subtxt Infinite. Whether you’re experimenting with it for a month or considering a permanent switch, we’re excited to support your journey and see the incredible narratives you'll craft.

At Narrative First, we believe every great story deserves the perfect platform to be told, and Subtxt Infinite is our latest commitment to providing just that. We invite our subscribers and new users alike to join us on this exciting journey to explore the depths of their creativity and craft narratives that resonate and inspire.

Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm. We look forward to seeing the incredible stories you will create with Subtxt Infinite.

Learn more or register for Subtxt Infinite

Happy writing!

April 26, 2024

The Power of an Objective Approach to Narrative Structure

Crafting stories that stand strong

Ever watched a movie or read a book and found yourself interpreting it in a completely different way from someone else? While personal interpretation is a beautiful part of experiencing stories, there's another layer to storytelling that often goes unnoticed but is crucial: the objective narrative structure.

Unveiling the Objective Narrative Framework

At the heart of every compelling story lies a solid framework—think of it as the skeleton or the blueprint of the narrative. This objective framework doesn't change based on who is watching or reading. It’s the structural integrity, the bones of the story, that ensure it can stand on its own, irrespective of the audience's subjective views.

In a subjective approach to narrative structure, the observer plays a key part in the appreciation and interpretation of a story’s meaning.

In an objective narrative, the elements of the story—the sources of conflict, thematic issues, and narrative dynamics—are meticulously crafted to interact in specific, deliberate ways. This structure is independent of the observer; it doesn’t bend based on personal feelings or interpretations.

In an objective approach to narrative structure, the only meaning arises from the relationship between the sources of conflict driving the story.

The Importance of Objectivity in Storytelling

Why focus on the objective aspect of stories? Because it's what makes a narrative reliable and robust. A story built with a clear, objective framework will resonate more deeply and widely, as it delivers a consistent message and experience to all its observers.

For writers and creators, understanding and utilizing this objective framework means being able to craft stories that are not just subjectively good but are objectively strong and coherent. It’s about creating narratives that don’t just depend on the audience’s background or state of mind but thrive on their own merits.

Transforming Narrative Creation

By adopting an objective approach to narrative structure, creators can revolutionize the way stories are built and understood. This method isn't about restricting creativity—it's about enhancing it by providing a solid foundation upon which complex, nuanced stories can be constructed.

Subtxt operates on an objective narrative framework. We champion this approach because we believe in the power of well-structured stories to captivate and resonate universally. Our tools are designed to help you identify and strengthen the structural elements of your narratives, ensuring they stand the test of time and interpretation.

Let’s Build Together

Are you ready to dive deeper into your storytelling process and explore the objective structures that underpin your narratives? Visit Subtxt to learn more, or visit the Subtxt Guide for a walkthrough of our approach.

Together, let's redefine storytelling with structures that are as solid as they are inspiring.

March 28, 2024

Subtxt with Muse: Bringing Your Drafts to Life

Asking questions that get to the heart of the matter

Ever find yourself knee-deep in the pages of your latest novel or screenplay, wondering if you've really extracted all the juicy conflict you can from your story? Well, you're in luck, because Subtxt with Muse is here to help guide you towards making a meaningful difference.

Imagine you've just finished the first act of your screenplay, feeling somewhat like Alexander Payne on a good day, but with The Holdovers in your hands instead of Sideways. You've poured your heart and soul into it, but something's niggling at the back of your mind. Is your Main Character really resonating with your audience the way you intended? It's time to call in a little help from our friend, Muse.

Muse isn't just another writing tool; think of it more like your creative partner. It's that friend who's not afraid to tell you what's working and what's not, all with the aim of elevating your story to its highest potential. And its advice is more than just some random gibberish that came out of its foundational model’s pre-training.

Let's dive into how this magic happens.

Muse, What Should I Fix?

Let's say your Main Character has a problem, and it's not just any problem – it's a Main Character Problem of Conscience. Yes, you've crafted a character so concerned about not messing up the young minds he's in charge of, so terrified of being too lenient, that he's actually missing out on the joys of life. Sounds just like Paul Giamatti’s character Paul Hunham, right? Well, this is where Subtxt with Muse steps in.

After uploading your draft into Muse, you decide to zero in on this MC Problem of Conscience. You're essentially asking, "Hey Muse, how can I make sure this character's struggle really hits home?" And just like that, Muse, with its decades of experience and narrative know-how, offers you actionable insights. Maybe it suggests deepening a scene where your character's dilemma comes to a head or adding a dialogue that highlights his inner conflict. It's like having a story coach by your side, offering bespoke advice tailored to your story's DNA.

And the best part? You don't need to overhaul your entire draft based on a hunch. Muse helps you pinpoint exactly where and how you can tweak your story to make sure every character arc, every thematic nuance, sings in harmony with your intended Storyform. It's not about changing your story's soul; it's about refining its voice so your audience can hear it loud and clear.

Whether you're crafting the next indie film sensation or penning a novel that'll keep readers up at night, Subtxt with Muse is here to ensure your narrative compass is pointing true North. So, upload that draft, dive into your Storyform, and let's make your story the best it can be. After all, every great story deserves a little fine-tuning.

Happy writing! ⌨️

March 27, 2024

Training an AI on the Subtext of a Story

What it takes to make a difference in the quality of storytelling generated by artificial intelligence (and humans)

Over the past couple of months, I’ve found myself gravitating more and more towards Bluesky, a new social network built around the network’s protocols, rather than the company who built the network. With the demise of X/Twitter and any semblance of its usefulness to my work, I find the quality of conversation on Bluesky more suited to my demeanor.

One recent conversation kicked off around the idea of being able to train an AI on the subtext of a story, rather than the story itself. This ability is the key to Subtxt’s advantage over every other creative writing AI system out there. Training on the text of a story is guaranteed to fail every time--as its the message behind the words that we strive for as audience members (and as authors), not the vectorized embeddings of the words themselves.

I invite you to follow me on Bluesky (and, of course, follow Narrative First on Bluesky), as I’m pretty confident that I’ll be having many more conversations like the one below in the coming years.

Finding What Lies Beneath

You can train an AI on the underlying meaning of a work (subtext), rather than the work itself. Once you separate storytelling from narrative intent, you can focus on the latter and help authors better understand what it is they’re trying to say.

The way an AI works is it takes a word and attaches it to a number then it calculates the probability of what numbers are most likely to go next to each other. That's all it's doing. It's telling you what words are statistically likely to be next to each other, then adjusting the stats

Remember the other day when ChatGP "went mad"? It was because the number generator was slightly off so it was putting the wrong numbers in the sequence and thus generating nonsense words. The current model of AI are number generators, that's all. There's no subtext in AI writing.

What there is is the chance to analyze broad strokes patterns, which might be interesting in many fields but isn't useful to writers. Just because your words match a pattern doesn't mean you're communicating well. Writing to match the pattern is a good way to be boring.

I wasn't referring to pattern matching. The order of events in a story, regardless of how they're expressed, carries meaning. A slap followed by a scream means something different than a scream followed by a slap. You can train an AI on that underlying meaning, and that is helpful to writers.

But you can't though, at least not with how AI currently works. What you can do is feed a lot of text into it and find out which one people write more often. AI can't distinguish meaning. It can only generate text based on probability based on what texts you used to train it.

If you have a narrative framework specifically built around the meaning of a text rather than the text itself, then yes you can have an AI that distinguishes that meaning. I've already built it and its currently identifying the subtext of thousands of different stories.

Yeah I confess to confusion. The meaning of a text is communicated by the text and you can't really separate it. In some regards the "meaning" of text is always going to be up to reader interpretation to begin with. So how any AI, even AGI, could codify it is beyond me.

It kind of reminds me of how my a pair of english teachers at my high school would teach texts. Like the entirety of meaning was stuff like "the ducks Holden Caulfield feeds represent childhood" and that boiled down to them wanting an excuse to fail kids they didn't like personally.

You can always extricate storytelling from storyform (the underlying meaning, or argument of a story). _West Side Story/Romeo & Juliet _are best example. Different words, same story. Braveheart/Gladiator are another: headstrong warrior convinces politician to take action for country's future.

That's because genre is also a kind of category imposed by readers on the text from outside. It comes from outside experience and can influence how a writer works but you're not going to extract it from the text. Nothing fits perfectly into a genre because ideas about genre change but text stays

Genre isn't the same thing as meaning but they are both products of reader interpretation. No idea how you'd train an AI to recognize them and even if you could it wouldn't be helpful because again those ideas tend to change a lot over time

If you see Genre more as an indicator of various areas of conflict/inequity rather than drop-downs in Netflix (Comedy, Action/Adventure, etc.) you can start to build a mental model of narrative exploration through each (e.g., Slasher Horror on physical conflict, Psch Horror on psych conflict)

So you know how AI works? It records things and then reproduces them based on probability. You can modify those probabilities but the patterns AI picks out aren't the same thing as meaning. AI generates text by using it's training set to predict what set of words is likely to follow the previous set

When you claim to train an AI on meaning I don't know what you mean because that's not actually possible. You can train it to produce some words more than other words but that's pretty much the extent of it. AI can't think for itself, it can only reproduce what its shown based on statistics.

Yes, I know how AI works (intimately). I’m not talking about training on the meaning of text embeddings, but rather the underlying message the author communicates with their story (their argument/purpose/intent). Training on former, I agree, will always get you garbage.

How? Like are you deciding what an author means writing it out and then feeding it into the AI? What do you do about disparate interpretations of texts? If EL James screams "No rape in 50 Shades read the book!" at rape survivors do you take her word for it?

No, that would be too subjective. If you model narrative to include an objective POV to measure the subjectivity, you base the meaning on the story’s exploration of resolving inequity (conflict). With that context an AI can “read” a text and suss out the underlying argument (i.e., message).

There's no such thing as an objective POV to measure subjectivity. Most writing doesn't have an "argument". It has elements that people can analyze and take ideas from but different people are going to see them totally differently. Your AI is reading a thing that doesn't exist

I think you're doing the grammar check thing I tried to point out to the previous guy. You're trying to define an absolute meaning (arbitrarily honestly) and telling people who use your app that it's the only truth because you used a scientific model (that you can't explain)

By definition there can be no subjectivity without objectivity (two sides of the same coin and all that). And yes, my POV presumes author’s intent to argue the appropriateness of various paths towards resolving conflict. Most stories are built this way whether author knows it or not.

March 25, 2024

The Resurgence of Visual Storytelling: Exploring New Horizons with Sora and Muse

Expanding AI tales from Boutique Shorts to Feature Films

In a world where creativity knows no bounds, OpenAI has once again bridged the gap between imagination and reality, this time, in the realm of filmmaking. The recent showcase of artists and filmmakers taking their inaugural flight with Sora to generate films has been nothing short of revolutionary. Among the myriad of innovative creations, the tale of the “Balloon Man” stands out, not just for its ingenuity but for its embodiment of storytelling in the digital age.

The Balloon Man's story, as narrated, was captivating, to say the least. It was a tale that mingled the simplicity of childlike wonder with the depth of adult interpretation, making it a perfect candidate for a resurgence of MTV-style visual storytelling. But at Narrative First, our curiosity led us down a path of exploration: what if we could weave a narrative around this idea, using another marvel of technology, Muse, to generate a short story?

The idea was to not only pay homage to the original tale but to expand upon it, adding layers and dimensions that could then be transformed into a visual masterpiece through Sora. Muse, with its ability to craft stories with a touch of humanity, was tasked with this creative endeavor. The initial results were as expected--a story that tried to wrap up life's complexities with a hopeful bow.


Certainly, James! Let's craft a short story around your unique character, focusing on the Present as his Concern, and incorporating Variations of Work, Attract, Repel, and Attempt in that order. Here's a structured outline to guide your story development:

Title: "The Balloon-Headed Man"

Setting:

A bustling city where appearances and social status are everything. Our protagonist, whom we'll call Balloon, navigates this world with a literal balloon for a head, filled with hot air.

Objective Story Concern: Present

The story revolves around Balloon's current situation and circumstances, emphasizing his unique condition in a society that values conformity and physical normalcy.

Act 1: Work (Introduction and Setup)

  • Introduction to Balloon: Introduce Balloon as a charismatic, ambitious individual who is well aware of his unique condition. Despite his balloon head, he's determined to make his mark in the city, working in a high-profile job that values creativity and innovation.
  • Conflict with Work: Balloon faces challenges at work. His ideas are brilliant, but his colleagues are distracted by his appearance. He must navigate professional environments carefully, always mindful of sharp objects and situations that could lead to his "popping."

Act 2: Attract (Rising Action)

  • Attracting Attention: Balloon's innovative ideas start gaining traction, attracting attention from higher-ups in his company. He becomes a symbol of thinking outside the box, drawing both admiration and envy from his peers.
  • Romantic Interest: A new character, whom we'll call Grace, is introduced. She is intrigued by Balloon, not just for his appearance but for his intellect and charisma. Their budding relationship adds a new layer to Balloon's life, offering him a personal stake beyond his professional ambitions.

Act 3: Repel (Climax)

  • Repelling Envy: As Balloon's success grows, so does the envy and sabotage attempts from his colleagues. They plot to put him in situations where his balloon head might be compromised, forcing Balloon to be even more cautious.
  • Relationship Strain: The pressure from his work life starts to strain his relationship with Grace. She feels neglected, and Balloon struggles to balance his professional ambitions with his personal life, fearing that his pursuit of success might lead to his downfall.

Act 4: Attempt (Falling Action and Resolution)

  • Final Attempt: In a crucial meeting, Balloon is put in a deliberately precarious situation by his envious colleagues. However, he cleverly navigates the threat, using his intellect and quick thinking to not only save himself but also to secure a significant victory for his company.
  • Resolution: Balloon realizes that while his ambitions are important, the connections he's made and the love he shares with Grace are what truly matter. He decides to take a step back from the cutthroat corporate world, focusing on a balance between work and personal life, ensuring he and Grace can build a future together.

Ending:

The story concludes with Balloon and Grace walking through the city, hand in hand. Balloon has learned to embrace his unique condition, using it not as a hindrance but as a symbol of his resilience and creativity. He's no longer just full of hot air; he's full of love, ideas, and a balanced perspective on life.

This outline provides a framework for your story, focusing on the Present as the main concern and weaving in the variations of Work, Attract, Repel, and Attempt to drive the narrative forward. Feel free to expand, modify, or add details as you see fit to bring "The Balloon-Headed Man" to life. 🎈


However, creativity thrives on challenges, and we decided to introduce a twist: what if the balloon "popped"? This added element of surprise and conflict introduced a new dimension to the story, enriching it with the unpredictability of life's journey.

The revised narrative from Muse reflected this change, showcasing how even the simplest stories could evolve into narratives of depth and meaning.


Ah, I see where you're going with this, James! Let's adjust the story to incorporate a significant attempt that leads to failure in the last act, adding depth and a poignant twist to Balloon's journey. This will shift the tone of the resolution and offer a more complex exploration of his character and the story's themes. Here's how the revised Act 4 and ending could look:

Act 4: Attempt (Falling Action and Resolution)

  • The Ultimate Challenge: Balloon is presented with an opportunity that could cement his legacy in the corporate world. It's a high-risk, high-reward project that, if successful, would not only prove his detractors wrong but also potentially change the industry. However, this project requires him to push his limits and possibly risk everything he's worked for, including his safety.
  • The Attempt and Failure: Balloon, driven by a desire to prove himself and secure a future for himself and Grace, decides to take on the challenge. Despite his intelligence, creativity, and careful planning, the project proves to be too much. In a critical moment, his balloon head is compromised, leading to a public and humiliating failure. This failure not costs him his job but also damages his reputation, making him a subject of ridicule.
  • Reflection and Growth: In the aftermath, Balloon is left to pick up the pieces of his shattered dreams. However, this failure brings an unexpected clarity. He realizes that his worth isn't tied to his success or the approval of others. His unique condition, which he always feared would be his downfall, has taught him resilience and the value of genuine connections.
  • Resolution The story concludes not with Balloon and Grace hand in hand, but with Balloon alone, yet not defeated. He's learned a hard lesson about ambition, pride, and the dangers of pushing too far. Grace, though supportive, needs time to process the events and their implications for their future together. Balloon starts to rebuild, focusing on smaller, more personal projects that bring him joy and fulfillment. He's no longer chasing the approval of others but is instead seeking a more authentic and fulfilling life.

Ending:

The final scene shows Balloon, now more grounded and introspective, working on a project that brings art to the city's less fortunate areas. He's found a new purpose that aligns with his values and passions. Though he's faced a significant setback, he's not without hope. The story ends on a note of resilience and the understanding that sometimes, failure can lead to a more meaningful success.

This revised ending introduces a significant failure for Balloon, challenging him in ways he hadn't anticipated and forcing him to reevaluate his priorities and identity. It adds a layer of complexity to his character arc and leaves the reader with a thought-provoking message about the nature of success, failure, and personal growth. 🎈


But why stop at a short story? The beauty of narrative is its ability to expand and contract, to fit into the confines of a short film or blossom into a feature-length movie. The Balloon Man's tale, with its foundational elements of hope, resilience, and the inevitability of change, provides a fertile ground for such an expansion. The process of broadening this narrative into a feature film involves delving deeper into the characters, their backgrounds, motivations, and the world they inhabit, turning a simple tale into an epic journey that resonates with audiences on a personal level.


To develop a full-fledged feature film storyform for your story about the man with a balloon for a head, we'll use the Subtxt Narrative Framework to structure the narrative. Given the key elements you've shared, let's focus on the Concern of Present and establish the other Domains and Throughlines, ensuring a balanced and complete story.

  1. Main Character (MC) Throughline: The man with a balloon for a head. His unique condition places him in the Universe Domain, dealing with a fixed external state—his balloon head that sets him apart from everyone else. His personal journey revolves around the Concern of Present, focusing on his current situation and the societal perceptions he faces.

  2. Objective Story (OS) Throughline: The broader narrative involving the societal pressures, the protagonist's attempts to prove himself, and the collective journey of the characters. This Throughline is in the Physics Domain, dealing with activities and endeavors, with a Concern of Learning. This reflects the characters' journey to understand and adapt to the challenges posed by the protagonist's unique condition and the societal implications it brings.

  3. Obstacle Character (OC) Throughline: The character or force that provides an alternative perspective or challenges the MC, embodying the societal norms or pressures. This Throughline is in the Mind Domain, dealing with a fixed internal state, and has a Concern of Conscious, representing the societal expectations and the pressure to conform, which challenges the MC's desire to live in the present and accept himself.

  4. Relationship Story (RS) Throughline: The evolving relationship between the MC and the OC, exploring how their interactions and conflicts impact their journey. This Throughline is in the Psychology Domain, dealing with manners of thinking, and has a Concern of Conceiving, focusing on the changing perceptions and understanding between the MC and the OC.

Given this structure, the Problem Element would likely be Acceptance, reflecting the societal acceptance or lack thereof towards the MC's unique condition, and the Solution Element being Rejection, representing the MC's journey towards rejecting societal norms to embrace his uniqueness, we have a foundation for a Failure story with a Changed MC Resolve. This narrative framework provides a rich thematic exploration of acceptance, identity, and the struggle against societal pressures.

This refined Storyform offers a comprehensive structure for your feature, ensuring a balanced and thematically consistent narrative that resonates with audiences.


OpenAI's recent showcase, especially the “Balloon Man” story, revealed the power of AI in visual storytelling. We at Narrative First took this inspiration further, experimenting with Muse to expand the tale and explore its cinematic potential. This process highlighted how AI can not only assist in crafting stories but also in evolving them into something greater, like a feature film. It's a clear signal that the future of storytelling, with AI's help, promises more diverse and engaging narratives, making the art of storytelling more accessible and expansive than ever before.

Find out how you can partake in these new advances by learning more about Subtxt.