Blog Post

Throughline Thursdays: A Visual Introduction to Genre and Story Theory

Dec 19th, 2017

While Subtext can quickly and easily help you find information on a certain bit of story structure, it also turns out to be a great instructional tool with the Throughline Thursdays feature.

In your Dashboard, you'll see a snapshot of the most recent Throughlines:

The Subtext Dashboard

You'll note that I do my best to keep the aspect ratios consistent but sometimes, the very best representation of a Throughline is only available in some clipped screenshot 😁

Click into a Throughline and you'll find an up-close and personal visualization of a narrative's Four Throughlines:

The Throughlines of *Doubt*

Throughline Thursdays are a feature of Narrative First that I started in 2016.

I originally conceived of this format back when I was teaching Story Development at the California Institute of the Arts. I remembered how well the students connected with the material when presented this way, and wanted to find a way to make them easily available to everyone. I packaged them together and wrote a short mini-article for each describing why each Throughline fell into those different Domains.

When I began, I published them every week on Tuesday. It wasn't long before one of my mentorship clients pointed out the alliteration inherent with Thursdays and Throughlines and Voila!--a staple of Narrative First, and now the Atomizer, was born.

A Visual Take on Genre

With Throughline Thursdays you can begin to get a feeling for Genre. The juxtaposition of conflict between the Main Character Throughline and Influence Character Throughline sets the tone, or personality, of a particular narrative.

The film Doubt above is very unique when it comes to Genre. With most American films, we typically find the Objective Story in Physics and the Main Character in Universe. Here we see the problematic concerns of insinuation under the Domain of Mind and inability to really do something about in Physics. Preconceptions and "doubt" form the basis for conflict in this film--not space battles or car chases, conflict usually found under a Domain of Physics.

The Throughline Thursdays feature as found in the Subtext include the reasoning behind the selections:

Detailed explanation of a Throughline

As well as a convenient link to the full analysis at the bottom of every storyform.

Subtext is more than simply a tool to find and develop your story's unique structure--it's an opportunity to learn and truly understand the essential ingredients of a great story.