Blog Post

Building a Solid Story from a Single Premise

Sep 23rd, 2020

It's that time of year again...up here in the Northern Hemisphere the days are getting short and the nights longer--perfect weather for writing that next story. ⛅️🌖✍🏼

And it's the perfect time to start writing that story with Subtext.

In celebration of the Fall Equinox, I'm releasing Version 4.0 of my writing app, Subtext, with all-new pricing designed to make it affordable for everyone. In addition to all the great features writers have enjoyed for years, this version introduces the Premise Builder--a powerful and innovative way to find the unique narrative structure of your story by converting your message into Storybeats.

A subscription to Subtext is now only $19/month. That's right, I'm cutting the price by 30% for everyone (down from $29/month) and I'm doing the same for yearly subscriptions, now only $190/year ($100 off the previous $290/year).

By subscribing you get access to every storyform, every class (over 100 hours of in-depth educational material), every user-submitted Illustration (now over 15,000 entries!) and every update for as long as you subscribe to Subtext. I'm constantly engineering new and productive ways to write better, more meaningful stories and can't wait for you to become a part of it.

Subscribe to Subtext

Let me show you the latest.

The Premise Builder

This is the Premise Builder, an ingenious way to quickly get to the storyform for your story--without having to know a single bit of theory.

We start by choosing a Genre and Sub-genre:

Subtext reaches out into all those different stories and finds an aggregate storyform combining the most popular aspects of that Genre into a single Premise:

Of course, this is just a starting point. The specific Illustrations of this Premise are open to your interpretation:

Choose the Illustration that best fits your story, and Subtext makes the change while keeping the same narrative structure intact!

And that's not all, you can actually tweak the meaning behind this Premise by first flipping the toggles of the Trend Adjustments. These are the settings for this popular Trend:

Now, let's see what it's like when we shift the Superhero Action/Adventure into a more difficult story focused on Self:

Well, that's quite a different story! 😆

In the original trendy version of the Superhero Premise we were telling the Audience, "Abandon subjugating others, and you can exact revenge." Pretty basic. In this new version, we're telling them that they can "Address being an egomaniac by balancing their overwhelming domination of someone with being directionless." Imagine the next Batman film going through that story! 🤣

Note too, that we can change the Ending of our story. In the above example, Subtext intelligently changes our available options to match the current focus of our story (in this case, a focus on Self). If we were to set that back to the typical focus on Goals, the Endings would follow suit:

Maybe we want to buck all Trends and actually write a Superhero Tragedy. Set a Tragic Ending, and Subtext updates the Premise to match your intent:

Sounds like the latest Joker movie, right? If not, at the very least it provides some great inspiration for our own take on the Superhero genre.

And what we do if this is the story we want to write?

Click "Build a Story" and Subtext scaffolds out an entire story outline just waiting for our unique vision to apply all the storytelling:

Of course, there is a chance we might stumble across a Premise so unique that it doesn't yet exist in the Subtext database:

Simply notify us of your request, and we'll update your account with a story matching your Premise. 💪

Pretty amazing, right?

The Subtext Advantage

With Subtext, you can be assured that what you are writing is an essential part of your story's meaning, or message. Subtext won't let you meander and it won't let you write a broken story. The application is backed by my over 25 years of experience delving into the intricacies of narrative structure (mainly, the Dramatica theory of story) as well as my 5+ years developing feature films, novels, plays, musicals, video games, and television shows using this methodology.

Did I also mention that every Subscriber gets a 30-minute one-on-one on-boarding session with yours truly? I'll walk you through the application as well as make suggestions as to the strongest Premise for your story.

It's time you stop messing around and finally finish that story.

And I can't wait to help.

Current Subscribers

If you're currently subscribed to Subtext and want to take advantage of these new rates immediately, please respond to this email directly, and I will personally set you up (it's not something that can be done automatically).

If you purchased a yearly subscription in the past 6 months, congratulations--you actually bought TWO YEARS of Subtext 🤯😃

I hope these new rates breathe a bit of relief into what I'm sure has been a challenging year for you. I'm very grateful that I get to do this work day-in and day-out, and I appreciate all of you who have helped make it possible.

Have a wonderful rest of the year and we will talk soon,

-- Jim from Narrative First