Blog Post

Introducing Genre-Specific Storytelling for Subtext

Oct 12th, 2020

This is beyond exciting for me to share with you πŸ˜ƒ

When I started building Subtext three years ago, my original intent was to provide a way for writers to easily load and manage my Genre "Gist" Collections for Dramatica. Frustrated that it would take anywhere upwards from 10-15 minutes for Dramatica to load the hundreds of thousands of Gists I created, I set out to create a web app that everyone could access universally--and without delay.

And now that time is here. πŸ˜΅πŸ€“πŸ’₯

Over the weekend, I rolled out the experimental genesis of Subtext--Genre-Specific Storytelling!​ Found under the Advanced tab for every Narrative, you'll now find a switch that translates generic Illustrations (gists) into inspirations for great storytelling:

Genre-Specific Storytelling in Subtext

Here, I've taken the storyform for Top Gun (one of almost 500 available in Subtext), and turned on the Genre-Specific Storytelling for a Western. When I hit the Regenerate button, Subtext will walk all the Storybeats and transform the generic examples into full-fledged notions of Western-themed storytelling. 🀠

In other words, it takes this:

Generic Storybeats without Storytelling

and with the click of a button, turns it into this:

Storybeats with Genre-Specific Storytelling

With the first one, I sort of have an idea of where the story might go, but I have to do the extra work of translating someone, something, and a particular group into something resembling a story. I can do it--but once again, I have to mix the fun of creative writing with the not-so-fun aspect of translating story structure into concrete events in my story--always a struggle when working with the Dramatica theory of story.

But now, with the Genre-Specific Storytelling, I know there's an evil landowner keeping secrets (which generates all kinds of potential new storytelling), and that the Second Act will be all about fighting outlaws and liberating silver (for who? Who knows?! But it's fun to think about...), and that the very last Act is all about realizing the Mexican farmer's intentions (were they working with the evil landowner? Or were they trying to help us out all the time? Maybe they were the "outlaws"...)

As you can see, with just the click of a button, MASSIVE new ideas spring to mind 🀯

And what about that Main Character...

Generic Main Character Storybeats

Not very inspiring. What if I Regenerate some Genre-Specific Storytelling?

Main Character Storybeats with Storytelling

Much better!

Now I know he's deflating property values at the outset (is he working for the evil landowner?), then starts to worry about the rancher's future (is he starting to have guilt about working with his employer), then focuses on a professional gambler's immediate needs (maybe he needs help from someone in town), and then wraps it all up by studying a young gun's historical records (maybe the key to unlocking the truth about the farmers AND bringing down the evil landowner!!).

WOW! πŸ’ͺπŸ˜ƒ

This is totally what I was dreaming about when I started building Subtext all those years ago. A quick and painless way to convert meaningful storytelling into discernible actionable Storybeats that one could start writing from immediately!

This feature is NOW AVAILABLE for all Subtext subscribers and will only get better in the future. Simply tap the Advanced tab underneath any of your Premises and start generating exciting new ideas for your story.

And YES--you ​can​ combine different Genres. I could add Fantasy to the mix for my story above and all of a sudden jettison myself into a world where the typical references towards a Western mix with halfings and elves for a completely new story experience!!

This is just the first stage of Genre-Specific Storytelling. ​In the coming weeks, I'll be adding the ability for you to submit your own specific storytelling (with the option to keep it private, if you'd like), as well as making it possible for you to change the Storytelling on a per-Storybeat basis (instead of running through the entire story).

These new options will transform Genre-Specific Storytelling into a global collaboration of great storytelling akin to what currently exists in the thousands and thousands of Illustrations already available to Subtext subscribers.

I hope you're excited as I am to see this option added to Subtext. It's been a very busy three years, but three years well invested. I believe great stories can change the world​. And I hope this final realization of my initial vision inspires you to write something that changes your world--and the world of those around you.

And as always, if you have ANY ideas of how to improve it, by all means send me an email and let me know what you think. I'm always willing and eager to make Subtext the very best it can be.