Narrative theory and storytelling with AI

Giving Your Story the Subtxt Treatment
Seeing the whole thing at once, so you can start to make sense of it

It’s hard to pick a favorite feature in Subtxt. The AI, the Premise Builder, the whole app itself? But, in my opinion, that honor should really go to the Treatment, one of the most helpful tools available for writers.

What Happens When AI Knows Story Structure
The future is already here

Joanna Penn, the host of The Creative Penn Podcast, recently interviewed Andrew Mayne, international best-selling author and science communicator at OpenAI. In an episode entitled Writing with Artificial Intelligence with Andrew Mayne the two discuss some of the creative possibilities for storytelling with AI.

Eternally Grateful for Being a Part of Eternal Spring
A beautiful look at the very best of humanity

Earlier this week, my wife Summer and I attended a screening of Jason Loftus' latest documentary, Eternal Spring. Having worked with Jason prior on his first doc, Ask No Questions, I was beyond excited to see what I consider to be one of the most emotional and beautiful works of art finally up on the big screen.

Modeling Alternate Realities in Narrative Applications
The relationship between the Failure and Consequence of a complete story

One of the most confounding aspects of the Dramatica theory of story is the relationship between the Consequence of a story and the Concern of the Relationship Story Throughline.

The Difference between Timespace and Spacetime
The impact of their relationship on narrative structure

Subtxt is the only narrative structure application that accounts for either Timespace or Spacetime when it comes to the sequencing of events.

Using Artificial Intelligence as a Co-writer, Not a Parlor Trick
Developing a new way to develop meaningful stories

GPT-3 is incredible. The "Gee-whiz" factor is undeniable. And while initial results are nothing short of pure magic, the majority of work being done in this space treats the tech as a replacement, rather than a collaborator.

Visualizing the Main Character Dynamics
More than random stabs in the dark

Using Predictive Narrative Intelligence to Write a Story
More than random stabs in the dark

Part of my plans for 2022 involve weaving GPT-3 text generation into Subtxt. You can see current incarnations of this in apps like sudowrite or LitRPGAdventures. The only difference?

The Obstacle Character in The Shape of Water
A reminder of perspective

The Shape of Water has always been particularly problematic to me (I always thought it was a cheap comic-book knock-off of Amelié 😄), so I've always resisted putting it into Subtxt. As I'm going through and updating all the Storyforms, it showed up again, and I knew I had to face it one way or another.

The Coincidence of Opposites and Story Structure
An age-old lecture sheds light on the foundation of a meaningful story

While teaching the latest cohort of The 2nd Act Solution, I stumbled upon this lecture from Alan Watts that perfectly described the center of every meaningful story. Entitled Coincidence of Opposites, this brief segment is all you really need to know when laying down the foundation of your latest work:

Traversing the Storybeats of a Complete Story
What it means to transition through a narrative

Subtxt generates an impressive blueprint of the meaning of a narrative. Based on the Dramatica theory of story, the 336 Storybeats present in each Storyform help transmit the intended message, or Premise, of a work to the Audience.

Fight Club
It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

In Fight Club, the Dramatic Argument is between Aware (Narrator) and Self-aware (Tyler Durden).

First Blood
A simple, yet coherent dramatic argument

In First Blood (Rambo), the Dramatic Argument is Reaction (Rambo) vs Proaction (Sheriff).

Writing a Dramatic Argument
Clarify the motivating forces behind two points-of-view

When developing a story around a Dramatic Argument, many writers think in terms of opposites...when they should be thinking in terms of dramatic pairs.

The Harder They Fall
Just missing the mark when it comes to a complete story.

This would be the first time I had to pull a Storyform from Subtxt...and I'm not happy about it.

On Being a Story Consultant
Appreciating the often misunderstood

Recently, a student at Falmouth University in Cornwall (studying for a Master's Degree in Screenwriting and Storytelling), asked me a couple of questions about what I do as a story consultant. While many have a complete misunderstanding of what the work entails, my role as consultant really boils down to a single concept: collaboration without the ego.

Gaining Objectivity While Writing a Story
Stepping outside of yourself to appreciate what you have written

The easiest thing for writers to do is to jump inside their characters' heads and illustrate how the story's world looks from the inside. The hardest thing is to separate themselves from that experience and look back to see what it all means.

Subtxt Podcast Author Wins Big
Writing a podcast that attracts critical acclaim

Writer Daniel Williams, a subscriber to Subtxt, achieved success this year at the New Jersey Webfest 2021.

Forrest Gump
Using narrative to advocate a message of staying present through turmoil

In this episode of Storyforming, I use Subtxt to dissect the narrative structure of Forrest Gump, one of America's top-grossing films. By analyzing key scenes and moments using the app, we'll uncover some fascinating insights about that make the film great---and what makes a story truly engaging.

Beautifully animated, but a bit schizo in the story department

Storyforming is the art of figuring out what stories are trying to tell us. That's what I do in this video when I take a look at the story structure of the film Wolfwalkers. There are a lot of films that have (almost) perfectly consistent story structure - The Shawshank Redemption, The Lives of Others, The Empire Strikes Back. Films like that are labeled as 'well-structured'. Wolfwalkers? Not so much.