Thinking in terms of Protagonist and Antagonist works great for developing the basic plot of your story, but what about the more heartfelt aspects? After all, meaning is more than a rational factor of who wins and who loses the conflict. Where is the emotion in all of that?
Underneath the Objective Story in the Throughlines section, Subtext lists three more essential parts of your story:
- Main Character
- Influence Character
- Relationship Story
These subjective perspectives complement the objective Objective Story. They are the emotion to the logic of your basic plot.
Tap on each to find three sets of four Storybeats, different in Thematic nature than those of the Objective Story. Note, too, the absence of Story Drivers. Story Drivers only hold meaning within the context of the Objective Story. Objectivity sees the drive, subjectivity flow. These views reflect that understanding of perspective.
Subtext automatically assigns the appropriate Player for each Throughline (as designated in the Player Roles section). If you dropped several players into a Main Character or Influence Character role, you could change the Beats to choose a different Player within the context of that Throughline.
Work your way through each Throughline, adjusting Illustrations the same way you did with the Objective Story Throughline. When needed, add extra Storybeats to support the emotional growth of your characters. Make sure to adopt the proper perspective for each Throughline:
- Main Character: what am I dealing with?
- Influence Character: what are you going on about?
- Relationship Story: how are we growing?
While you can add extra Storybeats to each Act, know that one is more than enough. It’s all that is necessary. Adding three or four or more Beats to a singular Act is akin to hitting someone over the head with your Theme.
Your Audience gets it with one Storybeat. Don’t overwhelm those investing in your story with too much.
The Relationship Story Throughline
Relationships always grow; they are never static. Even the Earth and the Moon regularly change their relationship with one another—falling into, and then apart, in never-ending cycles.
Your story is one cycle.
Make sure you add at least one Relationship Player to act as the end of your story’s cycle. If the heart of your story is a father/son relationship, label one Relationship Player “estranged” and the other, “united.” If writing about the dissolution of a marriage, label one “married” and the other “separated” (or bitter enemies, depending on your story).
This approach ensures that your Relationship Story doesn’t fall into the trap of remaining static. Static relationships are not relationships; there must be some element of growth to capture a vital factor of conflict resolution.