The Four Throughlines

Visual explanations of basic story structure principles

Pretty Woman

The balance of conflict found in a complete and lasting story is not a matter of luck—it's the result of an intuitive sense of narrative as an analogy to the mind's problem-solving process.

James R. Hull

Firefly: Season 1, Episode 8

A complete argument—or complete story—is an analogy to a single human trying to solve a problem. Character, Plot, Theme, and Genre simply stand in for this psychological process we all know. Reducing the problem-solving process down to its larger pieces, one finds Four Throughlines in every complete story

James R. Hull

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Complete narratives establish four distinct points of perspective on the story’s central conflict. Correlating with the four different ways our minds perceive inequity, these Throughlines set the areas of exploration for the Author to write and the Audience to experience.

James R. Hull

Thor: Ragnarök

Fun, playful, and supported by a solid story structure that advocates running away over charging in to fight the bad guys.

James R. Hull

Aliens

A complete narrative represents a single approach towards resolving an inequity. To encapsulate all the different ways one can solve an inequity, the construct of 'a story' presents four different perspectives on this same imbalance. Conflict plays out differently depending on the point-of-view you take and therefore, it's essential that we see everything.

James R. Hull

Blade Runner: 2049

A functioning narrative is an artifice—a construct for understanding the means by which we resolve an inequity within a set of contexts. The purpose of these Throughlines, therefore, is to offer different ways to see the same inequity.

James R. Hull

se7en

The immediacy of physical violence sets the tone and personality of this thriller.

James R. Hull

The Prestige

An objective account of a narrative’s thematic structure requires one to distance themselves away from the concerns of individual characters.

James R. Hull

Paterson

A rare and unique account of growth through a holistic lens.

James R. Hull

Get Out

The kind of conflict encountered in the Four Throughlines of a narrative determines the Genre of that story. Align the Objective Story Throughline in Psychology and the Main Character Throughline in either Universe or Mind and establish the foundation for a Psychological Thriller. Or rather, establish the umbrella for a Psychological Thriller.

James R. Hull

Dunkirk

A complete narrative examines conflict from all points-of-view. We can’t simultaneously be both within ourselves and without; in a story we can. With both objectivity and subjectivity present, greater meaning rises from the text.

James R. Hull

Moonlight

Complete stories require the presence of all Four Throughlines. In order to make a convincing or coherent argument, the Author needs to include all the different points-of-view one can take in regards to a particular problem

James R. Hull

Sing!

Reliable & familiar, like a decent American Standard.

James R. Hull

Doubt

To tell a complete story one must consider all points-of-view. To leave one out risks writing a one-sided argument that many discount as imbalanced or unfair. With a balanced and fair look, the narrative simply functions as an argument against the inappropriateness of the methods use to address this problem.

James R. Hull

The Social Network

Intentional or not, great stories emplore four different perspectives to shed context on the conflict at hand.

James R. Hull

The King's Speech

In an attempt to communicate something we can't see, our minds developed the need for narrative.

James R. Hull

Captain Fantastic

Complete stories provide Audiences with an account of conflict from all different sides. Instead of focusing on one point-of-view to the exclusion of others, an effective narrative quad-rangulates subject matter leaving no stone unturned.

James R. Hull

Jane Eyre

The Four Throughlines of a complete story provide an opportunity for the Author to communicate his or her point-of-view on the best way to approach solving problems. Rather than thinking of them as "storylines" or individual characters, if you see them for what they really are--four separate perspectives--their purpose shines clear.

James R. Hull

The Americans

In the span of one hour, this Pilot episode accomplishes what many films twice its length fail to achieve.

James R. Hull

Field Of Dreams

If conflict is the stuff of narrative, then looking at conflict from every possible angle ensures a completeness of that narrative. With no stone left unturned, Audiences respond with gratefulness towards the respect and thoughtfulness of the Author (think Oscar).

James R. Hull

her

For a story to be functionally complete within the minds of the Audience, it must serve up four different contexts from which to examine the story's problems.

James R. Hull

Manchester By The Sea

Regardless of how tragic, a story connects to an Audience when it adequately covers the four major contexts of conflict. By crafting a complete story, *Manchester* tells more than a tragedy--it tells something lasting and meaningful.

James R. Hull

Arrival

When identifying the source of conflict in a complete story, only one arrangement works across all Four Throughlines. You can always find elements of each Domain in every Throughline, but there were only be one Domain for a Throughline that resonates with the other three Throughlines.

James R. Hull

Jungle Book

Visually stunning and cleverly cast, this Jon Favreau take on a classic beloved by animators tells an effective and complete story by addressing all Four Throughlines.

James R. Hull

Back to the Future

The arrangement of the Four Throughlines sets the personality of a story. Rambunctious time-travel is a conflict of physics, with everything else falling into complementary positions.

James R. Hull

Sideways

A sad sack author takes road trip through Central California wine country with his womanizing best friend.

James R. Hull

Macbeth

Complete stories last an eternity, through culture and generation, as timeless as the problems and solutions they explore. While our stories may trend towards triumph, there will always be a place to speak the horrors of unbridled ambition.

James R. Hull

The Dark Horse

Brothers square off over familial responsibility and the efforts to lift oneself up.

James R. Hull

Hunt For The Wilderpeople

A well-constructured narrative accounts for much of this film's critical acclaim. An atypical approach to a typical arrangement of Throughlines, the film acts as a wonderful example of how fantastic storytelling transforms effective structure into something truly unique.

James R. Hull

Kramer vs. Kramer

Though typical in its arrangement, the Throughlines of this Academy Award-winning narrative still work together to seamlessly deliver the Author's message.

James R. Hull

Nightcrawler

A sophisticated story that uses all Four Throughlines to examine the fallout from ambition.

James R. Hull

Zootopia

A bold and inventive take on the thematics experienced by all the characters in this story drives this film to stand out amongst its peers.

James R. Hull

Up in the Air

The critical acclaim for this film rests in the sound narrative structure of its four Throughlines.

James R. Hull

Whiplash

Want to be truly great? Take a look at how *Whiplash* accomplished their feat of monumental storytelling.

James R. Hull

Moulin Rouge!

Genre, as seen from a Dramatica point-of-view, clues us into the way a story feels. The various arrangements of Throughlines carry with them an undeniable je ne sais quois for the story in question. In short, the Domains the Throughlines fall into determine the narrative's unique personality.

James R. Hull