This is Part 2 of Jim Hull’s training. Go here to watch part one:
👉 Jim Hull I: The 4 Throughlines
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Okay. Yeah. So while we were gone cuz somebody asked about, oh main characters who aren’t protagonists. I have a couple different articles, like I said all this stuff on narrative first. Mad Max Fury Road would be another one where fur is the protagonist driving it. And then obviously Max is his main character stuff.
There’s a huge long list. Broke Back Mountain German Hall is the protagonist. How to train your Dragon. It’s splits, princess Bride, it’s split, all these different stories here where the main character’s not the protagonist. So if you wanted to check those out that would be a place to check them out.
All right, let’s talk about subtext. This is subtext and like I said, what it’s designed to do is to help you figure out. What’s the story I want to tell and give me a structure for my story. Help me put it into some kind of order so that I know exactly where I’m going and then I know what to write.
And the whole purpose of subtext is to get out of subtext as soon as you can. So this isn’t a place to do all your work cuz a lot of people get involved in and they get really excited. And then what they do is they just keep building structures all the time and they never actually write. My, my intention is to make it so that you get something well enough that has some kind of structure to it that you can use as guideposts to then go write whatever it is you want.
Because if you wanted to, you could have it spell out exactly what’s supposed to happen in each and every act and how people are supposed to talk to each other. And I know there are some that one novelist actually asked me, can you just gimme a button to push? That’ll do the whole thing for me just because he has to output so much work all the time.
I personally don’t want to do that. I’m sure I will eventually because the nice thing about subtext, if you can’t tell, is I like teaching it and I like helping people understand story from a different point of view. So it has a lot of teaching tools in it. It’s much more interactive as opposed to I just wanna do a story about elves and then it gives you a whole thing about elves cuz I, I don’t know if I’m sure maybe by next year you’ll be able to do that and then AI will do all the animation for you without you having to do anything.
I have a feeling though, based on where people are going, that those stories that they’ll get will still be just as meaningless as stories nowadays that don’t have any sort of narrative structure. Like the gray man on Netflix looks like it was written by G P T three without any sort of narrative structure attached to it.
This is Tex and what I had previous was, a lot of educational stuff and that kinda stuff. And then you would come in here into the premise builder and move the through lines around to figure out, oh, what is the story that I want to tell? If you wanted to tell a courtroom drama, then it would move these around for you, give you an idea of okay, when you have your through lines arranged this way, you’re gonna get these kind of stories.
Or if you wanted to do like a psychological thriller, it would switch it around so that it’s okay, now the objective story is here in psychology and maybe the main characters up here. And there are other stuff that goes into deciding what it is that your story’s about. You’ll see up here at the top, there’s the premise, which is your argument of the story that you’re trying to get across.
That will change and shift depending on where you put the through lines. There’s different thematic focuses. And what happens is these different families here are different families of thematic concerns that set the plot and set it in different areas. So there’s a lot that goes into deciding what it is that your story’s actually about.
This happens to be this little blue box here is what that you and I argument is all about, where it’s coming from. There’s some other dynamics that are set. What the purpose of the premises has a huge impact on the narrative structure. This would be that, does the main character abandon their way of thinking or do they maintain it?
And then the ending. So you combine all these together in their arc and what you do is you, once you get a premise that feels like what it is that you wanna say. Then you build the story and subtext will go out and build it. And if it hasn’t built it yet, there’s at least 32,000 different ones. And this has been running since March of 21.
I have 4,000 of them built cuz each one takes about 10 minutes to go through. I purposely have it slow because I’m also developing that theory. If it’s one that’s already been built it’s like instantaneous cause I just grab it. But if not, it could take like 10 minutes. If you have something that’s unique that nobody has been trying yet, and what you’ll do is you’ll get back your narratives here.
What I just did yesterday thinking about this class and all that stuff is I’m just providing that default story narrative that everybody has seen a million times, which is the same story form. That’s Lion King, black Panther, mad Max Fury Road Pitch. Perfect. Handful of others. All have the same argument, which is abandon evading something or abandon running away.
And then you can achieve something. So you can see how that works. And Lion King stop running away and you can secure your place in a circle of life or Mad Max, stop running away and you can, save your people. That kind of stuff. And the premise is a combination between the subjective point of view and the objective.
So this is character and plot. So anytime anybody tells you, oh, is this a character driven story or is this a plot driven story? They don’t understand how narrative structure works because all narrative is a combination of both character and plot. And where they cross over is this premise here. So this is something that is the much more character driven element of it.
Like these are all illustrations of avoiding. And these are both ones that I’ve put in and then users submit. If it’s like running away from teaching a class, then you can submit that. And if I think, oh yeah, that’s the perfect one. It gets added and then everybody can use it. But usually you can find one running away from someone and then you can achieve something, gain a new family member, make dreams come true.
Let’s see. How about secure your family? Say your family, that kind of stuff. And so what I’ll do is, oh, this was a short story or novella from my favorite sci-fi a. It also uses the same exact story form here. Once you decide that premise and it’s built your story, what you get is this story form.
So with this here, this is like a blueprint of all the thematic concerns that go on in your story. Like character, plot, fume and genre. And it will actually tell you these are transits, which you can basically think of in terms of acts. It’ll tell you what the objective story should be focused on in the first act.
And the sec, this is two A, two B, and then three. So this would be the objective story, plot progression. This would be what the main character is going through and their emotional vulnerabilities. This would be how the obstacle character challenges the main character from beginning to end.
And this is would be how their relationship grows from beginning to end. And then there’s a whole host of problematic concerns that are all related to one another. So these aren’t random, they’re all related. In, in some form or another so that they all resonate together. They all work together to help make this argument that you have here, which is stop running away and you can save your family or secure your family.
And I’ll just keep the chat open if anybody has, like I said, if you have any questions I’m pretty good at looking at that stuff, but then we also do it at the end. Okay. So then once you have that, then the fun part is, all right let me do the four through lines. Let me see. And this is where you get into some of the fun AI stuff that I’m adding to, because like I said, all this stuff is built prior to adding G P T three stuff, which I did in April of this year, and which I’m sure will be insane once G P T four comes out in a month.
But it’s really fun. So here, if you had any kind of ideas for the story, like if anybody wants to throw in any random idea you have for what? The plot of the story that we could do actually let’s do this first, just to get everybody’s head in the same spot. What would be the genre that you would think that somebody just put in the genre and the first person that writes it in there, they win.
And that’s what we’ll pick is we have all these different genres in here. Detective, right? Did I have detective? Yeah. Cool detective. Alright, let’s do a coming of age detective story. So coming of age, detective story. All right, cool. So you see this is all locked in based on the story form because once you have a story warrant, you really can’t change it because like I said, these are all related to one another.
You’d have to build another one if you get halfway through it and decide, oh no, this isn’t the story I wanted to do. It’s no different than if you spent months writing it out and then finding out that’s not the story you wanna do. The great part about this is you can get to it a lot quicker and save yourself a ton of time.
So if we’re doing a coming of age detective, what would be a generic plot? It doesn’t have to be long. Just some sort of idea of what you would want for the story. And we’ll show you how this works. See if anybody puts anything in there. So for instance, that if I was to put oh man, detective
investigator I don’t know the missing diamonds. That’s really boring. But somebody have, if anybody has anything, there’s a bunch of people in here. Hopefully somebody will put something in the chat. So I just did something really lame, an investigator trying to figure out where the missing diamonds are. And then subtext based on the structure is trying to help you get a better idea of what that through line would be about.
So when the world’s biggest diamond highs goes and solved, private investigator John Doe is about to crack the case with time running out, he must put all the pieces together. Pretty basic plot stuff. Anybody have anything else that’s a little more interesting? Or it could be like a ghost detect. How complex can you ghost detective?
How complex can you get with this portion of it? Can you say your detective is trying to stop a serial killer before their mo, like before the serial killer finds their mother or something like that. That detail detective for another vaguely generic one, but serial killer before the killer X.
Her daughter, what was it, right? Was that what it attacks or her daughter? Daughter or her mother? It doesn’t matter. Oh. And just before I do that, I just did Ghost Detective and it said, when a young girl is possessed by a vengeful spirit, the local ghost detective is called to investigate with the help of his team of ghost hunters.
They work to exercise the demonn and save the girl. Like I said, it’s very basic plot stuff. I actually like that. Do we need, does anybody like that? This is gonna be like, and then you would just add that in there. It just adds it. Let’s see what this comes up with. So it’s not completely random.
It’s actually tied a little bit to the structure. When a serial killer targeting mothers begins to target Detective Sir Miller’s own mother, she races against the clock to find the killer before it’s too late. With the help of her friends in the department, Sarah has to put aside her personal feelings to catch the killer and save her mother’s life.
Do we like that or do we like the ghost detective? I like the ghost detective one, but I was gonna say that the the second one there gives you even more to go on cuz it said she has to put aside her personal feelings and all of a sudden you have something more to explore. What are those personal feelings to her poor relationship with her mother?
Does she even want to save her mother or is it like something to do with work feelings, things like that. Let’s go with the Ghost detectives. That would split. That’s what the chat is saying. Everybody likes Ghost Detective. I like Ghost Detective. It’s a little more fun. And yeah, so you can see, like I said, AI’s doing what everybody else does, which is blending objective story with those main character concerns that you’re talking about.
So what we can do is we can keep this here and then let’s just do the main character through line and just say what was her name?
Ghost Detective didn’t have a name, but Yeah. We’ll just call her. Sarah Miller has mother issues. Let’s see what this says.
Sarah Miller’s a detective who’s constantly under siege by your ma mother. No matter what she does, she can’t seem to please her when a series of murders occur, serves determined to solve the case and prove to her mother that she’s good enough. All right. This is, keep it right. So that’s very personal to her.
And her emotional vulnerability is the mother, or, let’s see, what would be another thing? Let’s see. Sarah’s really dead. Let’s see if that just ripping it off from 6 cents. Oh, Sarah’s the only survivor over brutal kidnapping. She’s haunted by the events of the nineties. D Terminate. Okay, that’s a little intense.
Is the middle sister, maybe she’s the middle sister of a bunch other sister stranded on a deserted island. That one’s not gonna work. Let’s see. Sarah is a high school history teacher who’s struggling to connect with her students. When she meets a student with a passion for history, she starts to see the potential is this is the subtext trying to relate it to the objective story through line from the last one, or it’s just doing its own separate thing and you’re gonna merge them together separate, because the more separate you can get it, then when you combine them back together, it’s gonna be much more interesting.
Cuz if you just say the same thing four times in a row, which some people do, it’s gonna get really boring and you’re gonna miss out opportunities for extra storytelling. Yeah. She’s afraid of ghost. Okay, let’s do that. That’s, I was actually just, I was just thinking that too and I was gonna say, what’s your opinion on making them a little bit related?
Like you got a ghost objective story and now that’s fine. Yeah. Okay. Sarah’s a young woman who’s afraid of ghosts. She’s always been the tallest person in the class, and she’s used to being teased about it. When she starts seeing ghosts, she’s not sure what to do. That would go against her being a ghost detective.
She’s the only one in her family with the magical power. Let’s see. It’s not really keen on the ghost thing.
She was born in a laboratory. She’s haunted by the ghost. I might just keep the mother thing
left ready, that ghost. See what that comes up with.
I mean that works, but let’s see. And what you can do is you can get a bunch of different ideas and combine them into this. I’m just trying to find something. I’m tired of living in a small town that is full of superstitions. Okay, let’s do that.
Superstitions and fears. So maybe she knows gross are real and everybody else is coming from a superstitious or a fair place, but you can see how this is a personal thing that’s just intimate into her where you can see some kind of crossover. It might end up being in this place, but could also be the kind of stuff she experiences in a different story.
That would be the main character. All right, so who would be her obstacle character?
Anybody can throw out ideas.
The mother’s could be her mother’s first and preferred child. I like that Casper. So wait, I’ll just do Casper the Ghost. Let’s just see what kind of silliness it comes up with. Casper the ghost is a friendly spirit who just wants to be accepted. However, because he’s different, he’s also discriminated against this cause him to feel lonely and misunderstood.
So that could be something rival Ghost detective. All right, let’s do,
I’m gonna do Rival Ghost Detective and Ghost of the Dead 20. I’m just like ma mixing and matching different stuff. A rival ghost detective appears in town, unafraid of ghost and determin to solve the mystery of a dead twin. This causes the protagonist to reevaluate her own beliefs and approach the case.
So you can see how that would play into it. I like town priests. Let’s do that. See how that works.
Sound Priests are a group of religious leaders who are hopeful they can make a difference. They work tirelessly to help those in need and always looking for ways to improve the lives. Now, as crazy as this sounds, and I’m gonna show you like as nutty as this sounds like it, that has no connection whatsoever, I’m just gonna take it just cuz it’s the most unobvious thing and I’m gonna show how it’ll work in the story.
Cuz it can be, it doesn’t have to, like I said, it doesn’t have to have any kind of storytelling connection with it. Cuz what’s gonna make it all work is this story form. These can be so unrelated in terms of the storytelling and as long as you illustrate it correctly, the fact that there’s a story form underneath that ties it all together is what drives the audience through it.
So that’s there’s story forming, which is what is going on in here, in, in subtext. And then the storytelling, the illustrating, that’s your art. That’s up to you. I have no say over that kind of stuff, right? So let’s do, and then finally, the relationship would be a great relationship. And if you don’t know, I have this thing here, which we’ll cycle through all the different relationships that are currently in subtext.
What there is I’ve gone through and I have I think it’s 556 different unique story forms, all based on film, television animation. There’s some plays in here, Hamlet, Romeo, and Juliet, all the classic stuff, succession, all the different episodes, E every, everything that’s in there. And if you wanted to see, oh, I wanna see those stories where the main character ends up.
Changing at the end, like completely abandoning their way of thing, doing things and doing something completely different. Doll’s House, Epson’s play, that would be all these stories here where the main character in here gets challenged by the obstacle character and by the end completely tunes out of what it was they were doing before the other 50% of stories is where they were on a track and they stay on that track.
Amadeus, Chinatown, the Fugitive, like they stay and they are convinced that they’re right. And then it’s the obstacle character who is the one who changes, right? So like Braveheart, totally, a hundred percent I’m going for it no matter what to the point at the end where they’re doing all that crazy stuff to him.
And then the person that has his obstacle character, which is the Robert Bruce character, he changes out of being such a manby pamby political. Player to being somebody who actually steps up onto the battlefield. And that’s what gives that story. It’s meaning. Let’s go back to this one has changed. Oh, okay.
So do we have any relationships? Oh, nobody had a relationship. Let’s just do, let’s do siblings. Somebody had, we got family. Likely couple that would be like if she’s, they’re priests, so I don’t know if that’ll work. Actually, let’s do priests. Ghost falls in love with Sarah. Okay, let’s do that.
With detective, so the one thing somebody put murderer. There is the obje. You just gotta make sure of the objective relationship story. That’s not what you’re talking about in the relationship story three lane, it’s a different, so she’s the detective and maybe there’s a murderer. They have a, an objective relationship between them.
This is the heartfelt emotional one. And not that it has to be romantic all the time. Like I was thinking it would’ve been like family and it would’ve been a religious family. Cause she’s a ghost detective and they’re priests. So I thought, all right, maybe there’ll be something that comes out of that could be interesting.
What starts out as a somewhat normal family quickly spirals into madness is it become more and more accessory religion. The parents start to neglect their children and the home becomes a bring gun conflict. However, despite everything, the family remains close relationship with Loyal Pet Talk. Alright, let’s see, pet Owner and let’s do relationship with Loyal Pet Dog.
And this would be a case where the relationship isn’t just between the main character and obstacle character, but a separate relationship. So when a person is feeling down, Hey, I like that’s how the twin dies. The neglect, oh, the, oh, which one did Misty? Like the previous one I had? Or this one here.
When a person is feeling down, their pet is always there to provide them with unconditional love and support. However, when the person starts to act out in an obnoxious way, the person is the first to suffer. Despite this, the bond between them is unbreakable. Okay. I like this. Oh no, the one before that, shoot, I can’t go back to that one.
I’m just gonna do this one cuz it’s completely offbeat. Indifferent. But you’ll see it’s doing the he said she said thing, which is okay for now. It’s much more focused on the person, not the dog, when it’s really their bond between each other. If I just did friendship,
I have a feeling it might still focus it on the oh, this one’s a little more interesting. A woman and her loyal pet dog are best friends. The dog is always there for her no matter what. However, the dog can be a bit nagging, always calling around, trying to get attention. I’ll just put that one in there, all right. So they’ll have some kind of relationship that grows between the two of them. I’ll do this one, see how that plays out. All right, so we have these four through lines, and what you can do is also, I just added this, where you can blend the four of them together. The only reason you wanna do this is if you wanted to have kind of an overarching idea of what it is that your story is about.
So what this is doing and what most people do is blend all four of them together so that you can either attach us to the top of your pitch document. Or just have a better idea of all four of them all at once. Sarah’s a young woman who’s tired of living in a small town that is full of superstitions and fears.
So she decides to break free and move to the city. However, her plans are derailed. When she is possessed by a vengeful spirit. The local ghost detective is called to investigate, and with the help of his team of ghost Hunter, they must work to exercise. The, didn’t even say sir. The town priests are hopeful that they can make a difference and they work tirelessly to help, doesn’t eat however their efforts are challenged.
Sarah’s possession puts everyone in danger. The woman in her loyal pet to are best plants, but the dog can be a bit nagging at times. However, the woman doesn’t mind because she knows that the dog just wants to be closer to her. It’s not absolutely perfect and you can add this and then go in there and modify it the way that you want, but already it’s a rich, really full narrative and we only have 15 minutes that we’ve been working on it.
What do you think? That’s why we’re out of a job, don’t you an extent? Oh, I’m not picking up on that. So then the, it is just a way to, to start to organize your thoughts. Cause that’s what this is all about, is just getting you in the right head space. So we have this objective story through line, and the way that subtext works is here on the left, you would just work top down.
So there’s four sections conceptualizing where you put everything together. Illustrating is when you go through and you illustrate all those objective or all the different story points in each through line. And, you don’t have to do them all. These are the 16 like most key ones for each three line.
And then each through line itself has a set of left to these are all those same story beats that were in the illustrating section here with some extra ones, like what the goal of the story is and what the consequences if they fail. And what you do is you go through and illustrate all of these different story points.
You create a synopsis based on all that thematic material, and then you go into the story beats, which are the temporal aspects of what happens when, so if I pull out just a little bit here, this would be what you would usually understand is if a four act structure, which is the gray, is the actual plot, right?
So this would be act one, these two are act two with the midpoint in the middle, and then your last act with the concluding story driver. And this is just the objective story, three lines. So it’s really okay, something bad happens, so we’ll come here. And what it’s doing is all the plot points in order, they’re not just these things that just happen that are just whammies, they’re actually tied to the narrative structure such that the same problem, which is what you picked here as being the problem of the story.
Is what’s driving the conflict in the story. So these are all different versions of a void, but from an objective viewpoint and that’s how you connect subjective, emotional concerns of your main character with what’s really going on in the objective story and why they resonate. Cuz they’re looking at the same thing but from two different points of view and some Texas split up so that you have brainstorming up here on top.
So this would be AI for just coming up with ideas, like what we’re gonna do here. I’m just gonna do like a basic quick plot and then, we can, I can answer questions. So the story, this is completely outta nowhere. The story begins when Caitlyn’s mother dies and her father grief stricken an deal with the death ships her off to live with her Aunt Caitlin, not wanting to leave her friends and her life behind, tries to run away, but is caught by her aunt.
It is the only thing that she learns about her father’s family history of hunting ghosts. Reluctantly, Caitlin agrees to help her aunt, uncle with the business is during one of those cases that she’s possessed by a vengeful spirit. Alright, that’s actually pretty cool. And what I found is you get four different ideas that have the same thematic material underneath.
They all have a problem of running away from things that will change the story into a different direction. And so why I could just go ahead and add that. I don’t mind that. That’s actually cool. Or if I wanted to, I could learn more about it. So this would be the subtext, like what’s actually going on underneath.
And this will help explain to you why this should be in the story. So there’s a way of not only getting free ideas from artificial intelligence and a large supercomputer, but also helping you understand why this is even in here and what that would be like. So the conflict in this plot point, centers around the protagonists need to find a way to escape their new reality while at the same time appearing to take action.
This conflict creates a sense of tension and suspense as they wonder whether or not the protagonist will be able to escape. Cause it’s creating an inequity, the running away part, and she’s gonna solve it at the end by abandoning that, running away and actually going after something in, in the plot aspect of it.
And what you can do is, I could add that one and then just, Whether or not it’s possible to ever truly skate, you can add like a couple different ideas and then you can just ask it to merge. If you like these two but you’re not sure which one to pick you, like both of them, you can merge it.
And what it’ll do is hopefully it won’t just copy paste. That one’s not too exciting. Sometimes it gets lazy and it just merges just copy paste the two paragraph together. All right. And also the really funny thing is the artificial intelligence. Sometimes the first time you do it, it’s like real life where the person will just be lazy and do the least, the easiest thing they could do, which is just cotton paste these two paragraphs together.
And then if you ask it again, it’s okay I’ll actually try this time. And so you can see that this paragraph here is actually emerging of these two ideas, but they’re connected together because they’re both centered around this idea of escaping reality. So you can replace that and then if.
Furthermore, if there’s, if you want other, if you wanna know how that works out in other stories, if you just click on examples, then this gives you an idea of what an opening plot point might be like in other different films or plays, whatever sort of stories that have the same sort of story beat in their story so that you could then go and look at that and see how it compares to what it is that you’re working on.
And then once you have an idea of the storytelling here, you can just summarize it up at the top so that you just get a quick idea of what this first plot point is about. And the story begins with Caitlin’s mother’s death, which leads to Caitlin’s involvement in her father’s ghost hunting business.
All right. That’s cool. So now that we have how it starts, that sets up a need for a goal. So now she’s in the family business, but why? What is she going to, why is she doing that? So what I’ll do is I will make this. I’m gonna make her, I’m gonna do the classic main character is the protagonist. So I’ll just go to players and I think her name is Caitlin, right?
And I’ll make that, oh, that’s right. This story that I’m gonna work on. Let’s make the obstacle character, one of the priests call Father Jones. And let me go back to the, I’m actually, I’m not gonna do that just for the sake of this story. I’m gonna make the priest, the protagonist. All right. So we have that thing where she ends up in the family business.
And then let’s go ahead and secure funding for a project. All of these will work. So you can either flip through random ones here, get a child gain weight. Oh, okay. How about this? Restoring
Business Caitlin’s family. So what this is the general illustration of that story specific. These are all ideas of how obtaining could show up in a story, gain knowledge of a new culture, and it will work with the rest of the story no matter what you choose. But if you wanted to make it more specific, if you had an idea, if that came up, instead of waiting for me to approve it, you can just go ahead and fill in the blanks here with bits and pieces of your story so that then you can just instantly go out and call out to see, okay, what would a goal like that look based on that first PowerPoint that started up.
So when Caitlin mothers dies, her father’s ghost hunting business is left in shambles. Caitlin, who’s now the only living member of her family, is left to pick up the pieces in order to help her cope with the loss of her family. Family. Father Jones and his team of ghost hunters agree to help Caitlin rid her home of the demonn that is haunting it.
If they can drive the out the demonn, Caitlin will be able to have a sense of closure and can finally start to move on with their life. All right, I don’t hate that. So now we know how it starts, and now we have the goal, and then you can just zip to the end right here and see how it all ends up. So here you can see this is a switch.
All avoidance was causing all the problem. And so the counter to avoidance is pursuit. So every element has its own dynamic. Pair two sides of a cinema coin. And if you’re gonna talk about avoidance, then you also have to talk about pursuit. And in this case, that’s gonna be what’s gonna resolve it.
So if I go here, should give you a good idea of how it will end. Let’s see. The team of Ghost Hunter is the sweep of the house and find that the Demonn is hiding in Caitlin’s room. They set up a perimeter and he begins the exorcism. Eh,
Lin’s house is now clean of the Demonn, but she’s still struggling to deal with the loss of her family in order to help her cope. Kathleen is hesitant. That might be where she ends up at the end. Let’s see if I can get something a little more interesting. Might be something different, right? For something
Oh, I would go with,
oh, actually some of these are cool here. So this is a great example. This one here, this third one for the ending. After weeks of research and preparation, father Jones and his team are finally ready to confront the demonn. They enter the house and immediately attacked the team fights back, but they’re outnumbered to outmatch just when all hopes seems lost.
Father Jones, here’s Caitlin’s voice in his head, begging them to save her. This gives them the strength to keep fighting and eventually destroys the demonn. I would just change it. So it’s Caitlyn and does it right? It’s so Caitlin. Oops. Here’s father voice in head begging to, to save. This gives her the strength to keep fighting him, and she eventually destroys the demonn.
She’s freezing the grass and finally start to rebuild her life. Yeah, so I like that and I’ll do that at the end. Overcomes the demonn with the help of father figure can make it a little more. All right.
Okay, so now we know how it starts and how it ends. And then if you wanted to jump into let’s do the midpoint. You could just jump in here, see what happens. The situation turns down when the demons start to possess the team of ghost hunters one by one. Perfect. As they each fall victim, they’re pulled into the dark world of limbo with the demon’s ultimate goal being to keep the team in limbo with her.
They must all work together to break free and save each other. Perfect. That’s a great midpoint. So I’ll just take that and what’s happening is, what we’re doing is we’re framing the objective story narrative, like the plot. And what’s nice too is cuz this is a short story contest, at least the thing that I’m judging, you could just use this objective story as your short story, as the, what’s gonna happen in the short story.
You don’t have to do all four, three lines. And usually short stories are either just one through line or they’re all four. But just like one act, you can do that. Because they’re short, they’re not gonna be complete and they’re gonna leave a lot to it. But if you can get some sort of structure to this where there’s.
The different plot points and that they’re all tied together to a story form behind the scenes. The short story will ha mean a lot more to the people that are reading it. It’ll be much more like that. Who is the obstacle character? Oh. So they’re working together. Think of it like star Wars or something like Luke and Ben are working together, even though Ben is the obstacle character to Caitlin.
I haven’t even gone into Caitlin’s personal stuff, which is here. Like we haven’t talked about any of the stuff that we came up with here, which was she’s in a small town full of suspicions and fears, and then that priest as they work together is gonna challenge her to overcome that stuff.
So we haven’t even done that. Right now I’m just focusing on the objective story cause I wanted to show you how you could very quickly. What, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Get an overall plot to where if I came here and said, generate plot summary, it should have a pretty good idea of what this story’s about so far.
Reluctant. Okay. So the story follows Caitlin, who is sent to live with her aunt and uncle. Upon arriving in the new town, Caitlin learns that her family has a history of honey ghosts. Reluctantly, she agrees to help her aunt knuckle with the business, however, thinks take a turn for the worst one. The team of ghost hunters possessed by eventual demonn.
Caitlin must find a way to break free from the demons grasp and save the team. Perfect. I think so. I could just add that in there. And that’s just with the plot points. We haven’t even gone through and described what would happen in each act. And then if I wanted to make this a fuller story, if I was really into it, I would go through and start to develop out, like for instance, Caitlin.
So remember that main character through line in Universe, I would just do this. And these are all different illustrations of how Universe would show up. Does that summary get longer as you fill in more details? No, I try to keep it a certain length. So it’s just like a general plot. It’s really just now looking at those plot points that we just worked through.
There is a current sort of limit to like the size of things. And you’d want to keep it short anyway. So for instance, that’s actually a really good question. I’m gonna put being shown by her family. Let’s see what that is. And I will get to that cuz I, that is a good point here. So this would just be her personal stuff.
When Sarah decides to move to the city, she’s immediately shunned by her family. They’re superstitious and fear that she’ll be corrupted by the city. They refuse to speak to her. Which causes a great deal of conflict in Sarah’s life. She’s porn. Oh, I know this says Sarah. Actually, I should probably change her name.
Let’s see if any of the,
Let me change her name first, cuz it, it thinks her name is Sarah when really it should be, let me go back this again.
Decision creates a lot of conflict because they do not approve of her lifestyle choice.
Oh, let’s do this. That’s pretty classic. So she’s tired of the superstitions and fears that her family and community live by, and she wants to experience something different. So it’s I’m tired of the small town I want to get out. Just a very classic thing. And that would be universe. Like she’s, it’s like Luke Scar.
I’m stuck in this small town. I want to get out and explore things. That’s their personal thing that they’re dealing with. And you could continue to you could do what most people do in real life, which is just keep adding stuff. But you’ll see like eventually here, it’s gonna get too big. And that’s a way of trying to help the author okay, I know you’re excited about having all these ideas, but it’s way too much.
Trying to focus down on something that’s nice and small and concise so that you can get an idea of what it is that she’s actually dealing with personally without getting carried away with a lot of extra stuff. So this would be her personal through line that she wants to be out and she’s gonna be focused on the future.
Like, all right, I want to live for the future. So I’m just gonna take the random things that come up here. And this is like getting more and more detail as to what it is that she’s dealing with. Additionally. Okay, so she’s afraid of leaving her family friends. However, Caitlin is hopeful that her future will be better than her past.
So that would be one way of doing that. She’s excited about the opportunity to start fresh. Let’s do this one and then I’ll just do a random one. Planning ahead. And you can see these all have something to do with future predicting the destiny. Oh, here, I like that. Looking forward to being an artist.
All right. And let’s see. She’s an artist and feels like she’s not able to express her creativity in a small town. She decides to move to the city where she can be around other artists. The only thing I like is this part, so I would just take, actually I could do this. Get rid of this part,
the two of them together and it’ll work cuz they’re both tight around. Future should do a pretty good job.
This part, I just the artist thing cuz I can relate to that. I’m trying to find stuff that I could relate to. And then to get into a little bit more detail, she has issues with delay, which is, I mean that one’s probably gonna be more the same, like procrastination. People telling her, put her dreams on hold.
Very main character type.
She’s afraid of leaving her comfort zone, but she also knows that she can’t stay in her town forever
longer. She delays the harder it becomes. Let’s just put that one in there. And then finally, this is her personal thing about a void. So we have the avoid in the big picture of the objective story and then now her personal through line is, she’s also dealing with this. But on a personal level, Caitlin’s motivation to escape her small town often leads to her making impulsive decisions.
Ooh, cool. I didn’t know that. Now I know that Caitlin is impulsive because she’s motivated to run away. Like for whatever reason, this creates conflict because it puts her in a difficult financial position and makes it harder for her to adjust to city life. Additionally, Caitlin’s avoidance of her small town.
Perfect. I like that. And now that I have those four, when I go to the synopsis, I can have subtext, merge all those ideas together and give me a nice profile for what Caitlin’s gonna be dealing with in her own personal through line. So let’s see what this looks. She’s an artist who wants to move the city.
However, she faces resistance from her family. Caitlin has to choose between staying or a small town or going to the big city. But she’s held back by her fear of the unknown impulsive decision to escape her small town, create conflict within those and around her. That’s okay. Let’s see if it can do, it feels like she most likely gets a different job and this will be first and quits it forcing her to take the job with her family instead.
It’s pretty much more the same. Someone steal Rob’s thing here. Feels like she’s most likely gets a different job of the city first and quits it person from me. Oh, okay. Actually I’ll show where that’s gonna come up for Rob. Okay. So this would be a synopsis of these different story points here, which describes her through line in this whole schematic of the story form.
And then you would go into the story beats and then this is what’s happening to her personally outside of all the stuff that’s going on with the ghosts and all that stuff. So improves your situation. I wanna take Rob’s idea, improves your situation
job. So that would be an idea. So Rob just threw that idea out based on kind of stuff that he is seen, which is great. So it’s like inspiring different story ideas. And her personally, she’s gonna be dealing with how things are changing in the kind of stuff that she’s gonna be going with in this first act.
But her fear of the unknown holds her back and she’s forced to confront her own demons, which is interesting because I think in the objective story, she gets possessed by the demonn. And so you can see how there’s the personal demons that she’s dealing with are running away, which are gonna be juxtaposed against the demons and the big story.
And then you can have all these great analogies between the two.
Oh, when she’s about to board the bus, she overcomes her fear, her family’s relieved. And because I’m doing this on the spot, I have a feeling I’m a little confused as to whether or not she’s in the big city or the small city. I know she goes and helps out with the family business. Those are like storytelling things that you can fix.
It’s not gonna be perfect. You’re gonna have to like, you’re gonna have to do a little bit of work. But I know overall it’s gonna work out when I put it all together. So I’m gonna put this one here, and maybe try a different one here. Oh, maybe she move in a negative direction
and all I’m doing is just kinda have different ideas of what’s gonna happen for her in the first story or in the main character. Throwing on,
I guess this one is fine for now, just for this example, and then after the first act turn, which is here, which I don’t know what’s, see what that happens. I think that’s spelled wrong. Shooks one’s duty.
The story takes turn when the team’s investigation the demon’s origins uncovers a massive grave from the size and shape that they’ve deduced this. Ooh, that’s depressing. This revelation fills in with a sense of dread as they realize the demons could be one of the many lawful buried there. The demonn could be any one of the innocence put to rest.
This leads them to make the decision to stake the entire site and burn to the ground. That’s probably a bad idea, but I’m gonna take it cause I have a feeling that might make things worse for everybody.
But do you see how that’s alright, just gonna start working on the business here. Then they’re gonna find that grave site and it’s gonna be like, oh, let’s, I guess they’re gonna decide to burn it to the ground. Then they’re gonna start learning that. What happens when you start messing with stuff like that?
Things get. And then you’re gonna get possessed. So then at the end of the second act, it’s gonna be fighting to escape from all that possession until finally here. There’ll be something that happens that will then drag it into the last act where they finally get the understanding of how they’re supposed to defeat these guys or take care of them.
Did it come on with something? No. Did not come through? Let’s see. Avoiding your dreams. I don’t know if that’s
Oh, okay. However, the Shama is located in the demons realm. All right. This might be a possible
last act. And again, because these have changed, I can go back into the plot summary and make it even better now.
Oh, the story’s about a girl, Caitlin, who’s possessed the spirit, is dead of a child who was buried em masque seeking revenge. The team of Ghost Sons, Caitlin must find a way to destroy the demo and oh, that’s actually cool and anybody is free to take this story and write it if you’d like. Nobody has say over this.
I was gonna ask who’s gonna call dibs on this story? And then and I’ll just do this real quick, I won’t do the whole thing. But once she finds the grave and they burn it and stuff, then you could see how, oh, now she’s gonna have to deal with her own past. Sometimes, something like that comes to term with recent past events.
Oh, recovers. Maybe there’s something about her family history, which would be very personal to her. Let’s see.
Caitlin’s frustration with her small town life leads her to start researching her family history. She’s surprised to find that her ancestors were actually from the city, and that they left under mysterious circumstances. The more she digs, the more she realizes that her family’s hiding a dark secret.
Maybe they were the ones who buried the children. The secret changes her perception of her small town and gives her the courage. I love that. So she’s going on her own emotional journey as they’re trying to, defeat the demons or whatever sort of detective stuff is going on there. And then you would find out what happens in the next.
And the emotional journey seems to be tied to the plot as well. Like she’s finding out about her family’s secret, which you can easily, because her personal stuff is escaping, running away. And so at the end, she’s gonna stop running away from everything and actually run towards something. Which will help solve the objective story, right?
Because they need somebody who’s running towards something as opposed to trying to prevent something. So Caitlin’s always been the type of person to run away from her problems, but when she finally decides to face her fears and pursue her dreams, she discovers that she’s much stronger than she ever thought possible.
That works great. And then you’ll find that when you go to the last beat here exists in the here and now. Let’s do this. Some great so Rob says some great red herring ideas here too. And you could use one idea to trip the reader into thinking native and secret. Be actually using a different beat.
Totally. So what that red herrings and like stuff where you like the work you do here is for you as the author, and this is like the truth. This is what’s really going on. And then you can obscure it any way possible when you actually tell the story. This is how things really unfolded. And then cuz it’s a mystery, you wouldn’t want to pull the veil over your own eyes as you try to figure out your story.
That’s why I said like Subtext is very much author oriented. You wanna find out what actually happens and then you can make it as fun as you want to in the end thing. So something like Memento or Prestige where things are presented out of order, that’s a storytelling thing that’s done after you know exactly what happens when from beginning to end.
And then you can weave it any way you want in the final product. So at the end, she could take all the stuff she learned in the family business and maybe pursue a big city dream of it elsewhere. But the more she realizes she has the strength to overcome anything, this new frown strength allows her to take on the challenges of city life.
The last scene would be her going off into the big city and she’s got rid of a demonn and now she can go do whatever she wants to because she’s had this emotional growth. So then just real quickly too the next section would be the plotting, which is where you would actually figure out what scenes happen when.
So you can, depending if you want to use, say the Charact or you want to use Hero’s Journey or whatever, you would just add different moments here. These could just even be chapters, this could be I don’t even remember what they are names stated debates. I think something like that break into.
Two, I think is what it’s called. So what, however you wanna organize it, whatever works for your sort of process, then you would just take all these beats that you’ve developed in the different three lines and you can just weave them like a tapestry into your story to figure out, okay, maybe oh, maybe opening image.
So if I wanted to do, these are like nonsensical things. I really don’t have meaning except that they spark an idea. So you could put the main character opening image here. So what you’re doing is you’re taking all those story boots that you’ve worked out. Oh, here we go.
Initial story driver. So that will put that in the theme stated, which is probably don’t run away from your dreams, and you just attach ’em and you weave them. In the beginning they’ll be really separate. And then when you get to the last act, you’ll have climax here and then off to the big city.
So then this would probably be off to the big city. Oh, sorry. No, this would be in the climax. And then her personal thing would be here. So the end of the objective story doesn’t like the, roll credits. It’s the end of the story. You, the fourth three lines. Theoretically you should end at the same time, but that’s not how real life works.
So it’s like the objective story ends, and then you could play out the main character. So this could be the last scene of her getting on the bus. And then when you leave subtext, we just go to the treatment and you can download it into whatever your favorite app is to do the actual writing. But you have just the storytelling.
We don’t have any of the. Complicated story form stuff cuz you don’t wanna get caught in that loop of trying to constantly figure things out. You’ll just have a really rich narrative that you can then take and expand upon. And then just really fast, just cause before we forget cuz we’re gonna talk about how these priests we’re gonna have some kind of impact on her.
Let’s just do this, all right. Let’s say it’s all about haying broccoli, which you’re gonna think that makes no sense whatsoever. How could that actually work? And let’s see, usually this works out well. Let’s see.
Anything about broccoli in here? All right.
All right. The Town Priests app, importance of broccoli challenges the main character’s, long-standing, love of the vegetable. The main character must grapple with the idea that there are things in the world that she once thought were good, but now that she realizes are bad, this conflict forces the main character, confront her own preconceptions, and to expand her understanding of the world.
Additionally, the town priests work to help those in need challenges, the main charact of belief that she can live a selfish and self-centered life. So as ridiculous as that is the idea that hating broccoli, let me see if I can make it says main character. Did I not name? Oh, let’s do this. It’s to call this Caitlin and Father Jones here.
Now I’m gonna do it again. I’ll probably be better. And this would be outside of their ghost fighting duties. Ding.
Father Jones hate for broccoli challenges. Caitlin’s belief that she can live a happy and healthy life without eating broccoli. Caitlin must grapple with the idea that there’s some things in life that are good for her, even if she doesn’t like them. This conflict forces Caitlin to confront her own picky eating habits and embrace the idea that she can premier help without helping others.
All right? It’s all about her being healthy. Caitlin Musk Grappl with the idea that her hatred of broccoli is not a personal failing, but is a, instead of saying that she is not open to new experiences, which could be, Hey, you’re holding yourself back, and the broccoli is a symbol of that. So it could be as ridiculous as that.
Or you can just do something a little more realistic. Let’s see. Very nice. Everybody’s being fixated. Oh, thinking a village valuable. Let’s just do that.
I probably sound like thinking religion bag. Let’s see.
Oh, okay. The town priest’s belief that their village is valuable challenges, Caitlin’s belief that the village is not worth saving. Caitlin must grappl with the idea that there are people who see value in the village and that it is worth saving. This conflict forces Caitlin to confront her own sense of despair and embrace the idea that there’s still hope for the village cuz she wants to leave.
And so they’re, feeling that’s a thing that’s worth trying to make a difference in the world.
Oh, maybe, yeah, I put more materialism into brace. Maybe she’s a little more materialistic. And then Craig put, oh wait, Rob said, wow, this broccoli’s metaphor for personal growth concept is really quite good. Maybe I should have kept it. I didn’t want it to be completely ridiculous. And even if the broccoli doesn’t make it, it’s getting the idea.
Yeah, that’s totally it. So this one’s probably a little more legitimate, but you can see how it’s their, it’s the story form that is actually challenging. It’s taking care of the thematic concerns. Her concern is a small town I need to get out, and everybody knows what that’s like. And they’re saying, Hey, your need to get out was just the same as ha broccoli as having a fixed mindset and having preconceptions and sometimes.
Things that are worth saving. And maybe you want to, maybe there’s something good about the small town that you should try and save first. And so that’s where this is coming from. And then these different aspects here are what are gonna challenge her to grow from act. That’s why you have the acts.
These are, it’s not just because stories need ax or because Aristotle said beginning, middle, end. They’re here because it’s bit by bit tearing down the justifications that the main character has in terms of universe. Like these four are the four ways that you can describe universe. That’s why they’re here.
And that’s why after the fourth one, the story has to end. Because if you went back to another one, you’ve already gone over it. So why would you keep, why would you keep going over it over and over again? You explore all these different areas to see where the problem is and where a potential solution is, and that’s how you get that sense of a, it’s another way of how to get a complete story.
And then lastly, the last thing would be the relationship, which was the dog being irresponsible. That’s probably gonna be okay. Let’s see. Because you can see it’s got a cool plot and we got some main character thing. I gotta get out of town. Hey, some things are worth fighting for.
And then a nagging dog. However, the dog can be a bit nagging at times, always falling around trying to get attention. This is a lot of a repeat of the same being terrifying, breaking down psychologically. I’m trying to say something. That’s nice. Let’s see. Because it doesn’t always have to be negative conflict.
It could be like a con positive conflict being a role model being abusive. See if there’s something fun. Coping with somebody. Oh, okay. Now the only reason I say that is because coping with a nagging dog could be like the juxtaposition of coping with your own demons. The dog’s always there for her no matter what.
This conflict that arises from the dog’s nagging is actually a positive thing because it allows the woman to see that the dog just wants to be close to her. My only thing is this is very, who said? She said I’ll keep it for now and I will just get to this aspect. No, probably just leave that.
I would probably want this to be less about just how the dog is bugging her and how they can be better friends. But that’s definitely an aspect of the story that’s not there that I would want to beat out in a little more. And then that’s it. And then you just have more fun going through all the different story points and layer.
You could just take what you have right now this and just go with it and start writing it. Or you could find out what happens in each through line and beat that out. I tend to tell people, you could go into a lot of detail where then each transit, each act actually has four things that happen for each through line.
And then believe it or not, there’s four events that happen underneath that, which I generally tell people’s a bit overkill. It can be fun in the beginning and to get you used to what it’s like the rhythm of a story, but you can do this is how, so these are those transits and they break down into progressions and then those break down into events.
So it’s like stories within stories. This is probably the most you want to do for, especially when you’re getting started out just one transit per through line, and then you have a complete story. For screenplays and novels. You might go in and figure out what happens in the progression.
Definitely the objective story, maybe the main character. I wouldn’t do it for the other two through lines, so it’s just too much. If you wanted to do them all, it’s 336, which is interesting, but is probably less. It’ll become probably too mechanical by the time that’s all done, but this is usually complete enough where there’ll be some progressions and some transits, some not.
As long as you can get an idea of what all those different transits are for each through line, then you’ll have the sense of a complete story, and then all you do is just take that out into your favorite writing app. And then you write your story and then you just rinse your feet and do it again. And then, like I said, this is just this one idea of, this classic idea.
If you change and you stop running away from things and you go after things, then you’re gonna find success and it’s gonna be a good thing. But, there’s all kinds of different stories where it might not work out so good in the end, you could change and then things could turn out really bad and you could feel really miserable about it.
And those would be your tragedies, like Hamlet Othello Platoon, welcome to Dollhouse. These are all tragedies, or the main character changes and things get just abysmal. Or you could change and things turn out good. And emotionally you can feel great Rain Man doesn’t get the money, but hey, I got a brother to kill a Mockingbird American Beauty, Hey, I figured out what things are, but maybe a little bit too late.
So these are stories that end up a little more virtuous. Stand by me. You don’t get the body, but you feel really good about the adventure. And then the other way is if you get success, but things work out, not so great for you, unforgiven, you get the reward money. But now he’s back to being a killer. Terminator, she stays a day, but now she’s on her own on the run.
Dark Knight live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Those are success bad stories where the changes. That’s why I said there’s like thousands and thousands of different structures all based on what it is you wanna say. And then you can take that and write great stories. So that would conclude my very short presentation on the totality of all things narrative structure.
I. It’s going here. Thank you very much, Jim. I switched my camera. If you wanna stop sharing your screen. Yes. I dunno what’s happened to my camera’s the wrong one. I’m looking down here. All right. Thank you Jim for doing that extremely inform. Lesson. The four through lines, just the concept of it, I think is enough to get a lot of writers going with their ideas and on their way to creating great stories.
Subtext itself is clearly a very sophisticated program and looks like a lot of fun to use. I can see how effective it would be to collaborate too, just like this. If you got a couple people on a call spat out ideas how it’s, how effective kind of brainstorming ideas and getting a cohesive plot.
It’s amazing how fast you are able to do that. We’ve working on it for about an hour and you’ve got. A story that could reasonably be turned into a novel without a whole lot of extra work. Just gotta start writing. Leon. Leon called dibs on that story I saw in the chat. Sure. Everybody, if you have any questions, throw them in the Slido app.
I think because we’re way over time here and I noticed that we have been losing participants in the last half hour. That we’ll take the questions and maybe Jim can answer some of them later. And I’ll send out a document with them instead of using people’s time on the call. And so if anybody wants to play around with subtext and use it, I believe Jim has set up a special discount on the software for elegant literature members.
Which would it be easiest if I sent that out as an email to everybody that’s watching? Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, definitely. And yeah, so if you have any questions, put them in the Slido, email them to me if you think of one in, the next couple hours or something like that. And we’ll get them on to Jim San Susan.
Still want Nana’s ghost in there. Yeah. Yeah, so I’ll send her an email to everybody. This recording will be made available to you shortly if you wanna re-watch it. And that’s great. So thank you Jim, for sharing this with us. Yeah, you’re very welcome. And if it’s okay to say too, if anybody ever wants to email me or to ask me any questions, like any follow up stuff, like I said, I love talking about this.
It’s what I do. 24 days, 24 hours, seven, seven days a week. So you’re more than welcome to either through Craig or however you want to. I really appreciate everybody showing up and giving me their time and attention so I can talk about breed storytelling. Great. Alright general, I guess I’ll just ask you to stick around after, but everybody else, you are released, go with your ideas and start writing.
Start outlining your next story cuz I’m sure that you’re, you’ve been inspired by this. I know. I have.