Caught Between States of Emotion Within a Premise

The meaning behind vibrations.

In the previous article on A Holistic Understanding of Premise, the concept of applying an emotional state to a narrative argument found balance in aligning the self with the outside world. As many can attest, maintaining this state is an act of impossible defiance that far too often finds one off the intended path. Appreciate the differential between imbalance and outcome, and one begins to open themselves up to an entirely different story—that of being out-of-alignment.

With the Dramatica theory of story, we see two critical dynamics of narrative that help us appreciate the narrative’s state of emotion: Story Outcome and Story Judgment. Remember that a complete narrative functions as an analogy to a single human mind trying to resolve an inequity—that single mind carries a state of emotion, and the juxtaposition of these two dynamics crystallizes that emotion for the Audience.

The Linear Perspective

To the Linear thinker, a Success/Bad story is one of Personal Tragedy. While the efforts to resolve the story’s problem workout for everyone, they come at considerable cost to the Main Character’s personal sense of well-being. The Dark Knight, Unforgiven, and the first season of Westworld all share this bittersweet ending tragic to the individual.

The other side of bittersweet finds Failure in the Story Outcome and Good in terms of the Story Judgment. BlacKKKlansman, The Wife, and the pilot episode of the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel tell stories of Personal Triumph—where things don’t work out for everyone else, but end well for the primary character.

Personal Tragedy and Personal Triumph don’t do it for the Holistic. Like the all-out Triumph discussed in the previous article, there is no meaningful end for the Holistic, just an ending for now.

With that in mind, one begins to see these kinds of stories in terms of the state of vibration of the mind with external concerns. A sort of mental juggling ensues wherein the Author finds meaning in the relative balance between the internal and external.

If the Success/Good story finds the Holistic in alignment, then the Success/Bad and Failure/Good stories find this same person out of sorts with their environment—one at the low end of the spectrum, and the other at the high end.

Success/Bad - Low Vibration

These stories differ from the Triumph/Alignment story in that the self is still left in a state of emotional unrest—the whole self. The Holistic deals with the totality of experience—one tiny imbalance is enough to warrant a condition of misalignment. The balance between the objective and the subjective is so out-of-alignment that a state of low vibration consumes the individual.

Note that the low state of emotion within a Holistic Premise is not presented as a consequence of failed action. The Premise/storyform represents the totality of the experience, not merely the end result. The process of running through that experience plays a permanent role in sharing what it feels like to face that conflict.

Yes, resolution in the outside world might be found—a “Goal” may be achieved—but to the Holistic, that sense of not vibing with the outside world continues to be a source of irritation.

For instance, the first season of Wanderlust tells a Success/Bad story. Labeling it a Personal Tragedy is too simplistic, and frankly—too Linear—to capture the essence of this show.

Instead, the most accurate interpretation of Wanderlust’s Premise relies on painting a picture of the Holistic’s low vibrations:


Allowing a lower state of emotion addresses what is lacking in your relationships with others, while building resistance through unfulfilling possibilities.

With this arrangement of key narrative Storypoints, one sees the entirety of what it means to think holistically.

The Totality of Experience

The Linear sees Outcome and Judgment as coming after the story plays out—a linear progression of cause and effect with the result that suggests that this happened because of that. Give up this Element or gain that Element, and you will achieve that Outcome.

The Holistic sees Judgment and Outcome as an ongoing process that comes during the story. This is why many Holistic thinkers can sense and possibly spoil a show’s ending for the Linear thinker. To the Holistic, the Outcome and Judgment are present in each and every scene. To the Linear thinker, the end hasn’t happened yet and to guess is merely another case of “intuition” getting in the way of a good show.

That low state of emotion referred to in the Premise, that Bad “ending,” is what encourages engagement in an unfulfilling leverage point. For Wanderlust, the item that appears to bring fulfillment and possibly help the Holistic climb their ladder of emotions is a possibility—the possibility and promise of new love, and the opportunity that engaging in this kind of behavior might help a waning marriage.

The story of Wanderlust proves that, while this approach may help you get a better idea of what is lacking in your relationships, it’s still going to leave you in that low state of vibration—and out of sorts with the world around you.

Failure/Good - High Vibration

The next set of narrative potentials looks to those stories where the Holistic mind finds alignment with its truth but still fails to align seamlessly with the outside world. The path is known—just not yet taken.

With a Personal Triumph, the Linear thinker sees a Failure as worth the good feelings it brings to the individual. To the Holistic balance is everything, and while one might feel themselves in a higher state of vibration, the lack of resolution in the external continues to leave self and world out of alignment. To the Holistic, nothing is “solved” until balance returns.

Again, the path of balance is primary.

Spike Jonze’s techno-romance film her offers a look at this higher state of vibration:


Your reluctance to address the overwhelming nature of difficult circumstances allows your self-absorption to shift towards an awareness of other people, elevating you into a higher state of emotion.

A bit wordy—but when is it ever easy to describe the Holistic experience in a few simple words?

Here we see a Premise statement somewhat similar to the Triumph in that it speaks of balancing two narrative Elements, the Subjective Premise Element and the Subjective Premise Balance Element. The striking difference lies in the ability of the self to balance these two—the shift indicates an intention towards this balance, but one not yet achieved. This shift foretells of a greater alignment—a path for one to continue down if they are to find a means to bring these two into alignment.

Building a Misaligned Premise

As with every Premise, meaning consists of the juxtaposition between an Objective Premise Method and a Subjective Premise Element. With the Holistic, the Objective looks to an Issue in the Objective Story plot, while the Subjective focuses on a critical Element buried within the Main Character’s Throughline. The presence of a third Subjective Balance Element counters this—but only when the individual shifts closer towards aligning with self.

With the Low Vibration story, that personal alignment falls out of sync with the realities of the outside world, making the absence of the Balance Element crucial to expressing the meaning.


Allowing a lower state of emotion addresses what is lacking in your relationships with others, while building resistance through unfulfilling possibilities.

Reverting this Premise to its base Elements reveals the presence of only two key Storypoints:


Allowing a lower state of emotion addresses DEFICIENCY, while building resistance through POSSIBILITY.

That low state of emotion is making possibility seem like the answer for realignment. It isn’t—but it helps sync up that feeling of “lack of” with others.

Note the emphasis with the Objective Story Issue and the addition of its relation to others. To the Holistic, relationships are everything—more critical than Goals, and certainly more compelling than Consequences. Why else would one even entertain such an outlandish idea as the one found in Wanderlust?

This focus on the relationship carries over into any story featuring that low state of emotion. Consider The Social Network:


Allowing a lower state of emotion makes your unfulfilling production more bearable, allowing you to address what you should do in your relationships with others.

The Storymind of that film is a mind constantly out-of-sync with everyone around it. While that level of vibration leads to the creation of the world’s largest and most pervasive social network, it fails to fulfill—only indicating a direction one should take to bridge chasms between others.


Allowing a lower state of emotion makes PRODUCTION more bearable, allowing you to address EXPEDIENCY.

Expediency in a narrative is an indication of what one should do given the demands and needs of others—and of self. Because the mind is in a low stare of vibration, Production seems to be the answer and as The Social Network so elegantly proves—it is not.

Breaking Down a State of Higher Vibration

The High Vibration story takes a different route as it tells of the individual vibing at a higher level. The Balance Element returns, and while it indicates the possibility of balance, accurate alignment still awaits.


Your reluctance to address the overwhelming nature of difficult circumstances allows your self-absorption to shift towards an awareness of other people, elevating you into a higher state of emotion.

Breaking this Premise down into its key Storypoints, we find that indication of our journey:


Your reluctance to address the overwhelming nature of CIRCUMSTANCES allows your SELF-AWARE to shift towards AWARE, elevating you into a higher state of emotion.

Again, the balance between the two Subjective Premise Elements is not entirely aligned within this kind of story. The shift is there—an intention towards alignment—but until that point, the balance between self and environment remains out-of-sync. Moving in this direction raises the frequency of the Storymind, opening it up to the desired outcome.

Leave No Trace is a film that scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, yet virtually no one knows about. The reason? A Holistic Premise that advocates fulfillment over solving an unsolvable problem:


Intending to shift your prolonging the inevitable towards moving on raises your emotional state of vibration, minimizing your reluctance to address your constant attention to others.

Again, the intention to align the self opens up the mind to be more receptive of a potential solution—and in doing so, reveals the point of disconnect between self and the external world.


Intending to shift your UNENDING towards ENDING raises your emotional state of vibration, minimizing your reluctance to address your THOUGHT.

Encoding Bad Vibes

The Linear mind operates in an area of Goal and Consequence, Problem and Solution. The Holistic prefers Frequency and Vibration, Inequity, and Equity. Balance is the direction, a path taken when the outcome is unknown.

These two additional thematic arguments—the Success/Bad Low Vibration Premise and the Failure/Good High Vibration Premise—explore an area essential to the Holistic experience.

By presenting these new additions to Subtext, we hope to honor that process and draw those more Holistic-minded writers closer to their story.