Stories and Narratives

Subtext is the first software application for writers that allows for multiple narratives within a single story. For more on why, see The Difference Between Structure and Story within the QuickStart Guide.

In short, a single story may contain several different narratives.

The more narratives, the larger the work.

Adding a Narrative

Adding a Narrative

Subtext provides four methods for adding a narrative to your story:

  • the Argumuent Builder
  • from a Source of Conflict
  • Upload a Structure from Dramatica
  • grab a Random narrative
  • Storyform Connections

Each of these options provides you a powerful means at which to arrive at the Narrative Argument of your story.


The Narrative Argument is everything in Subtext--as the order of thematic issues and character development within a story is based entirely on the message being communicated to the Audience.

The Narrative Argument

The order of events has meaning. A slap followed by a scream means something entirely different than a scream followed by a slap.

This is why the Narrative Argument is so essential to the outline of your story.

What you want to say determines the order of events. An argument that leads to Triumph will begin and end in a completely different place than a Cautionary Tale or Tragedy.

The Narrative Argument of Rain Man

This is why templates based on cultural mythology, heroic journeys, or saving cats ultimately fall apart--they don't mean anything.

Subtext analyses your theme and then gives you an outline that communicates its message.

No two Narrative Arguments are the same. However, there are some stories that consist of the same Narrative Argument--even if on the surface they appear to be completely different.

Finding Nemo makes the same argument that Michael Mann makes in Collateral.

Birdman conveys the same argument as Star Wars.

The Lion King and Black Panther make the same argument. (Come to think of it, those two really aren't all that different on the surface either!)

Selecting the right Narrative Argument for your story is the most important decision you need to make when starting to write your story. If you don't know what your story is about, how are you going to decide what to write about?

Of course, Subtext can also help you out if you don't even know what you want to write (see Random Structures).