When you tap Build a Story in Subtext, two things happen:
- Subtext sets a unique narrative structure finely tuned to the meaning of your Premise
- Subtext assigns random Storytelling Illustrations to your story
This separation is vital for the rest of your life as an Author. Narrative structure is the subtext of your story—what you give to the Audience is an Illustration that sits on top of that structure.
This is why you could conceivably create a story by random in Subtext that—without changing a thing—will magically make sense and feel deeply meaningful.
The meaning rests in the structure. Your particular take on that meaning is what you actually write.
Case in point: the Premise of your story.
Adjusting the Premise
When you tap Build a Story, Subtext pulls everything together, and then drops you off in front of your Premise.
But, something about it feels off. It kind of sounds like the Premise you chose, but the words are different.
Welcome to the separation between subtext and text.
Note the slight variation in the Premise—the bold text and dotted yellow underline. This is where the Premise Subtext set up for you is different than the one you chose—yet, somehow says the same thing. This is not a bug, it’s a feature. Subtext took the essence of the Premise you chose, and found a random Illustration to set it apart from the original work.
Tap on the bold text to interact with your Premise, and Subtext presents you a list of alternate choices—Storytelling Illustrations that mean the same thing, yet vary from one to the next.
Choose a different one. You can tap on an Illustration, hit Enter to select, scroll through the list, or cycle up and down with the error keys. If you can’t make up your mind tap outside of pop-up window or hit Esc to return back to your original view (this kind of interaction works throughout Subtext btw).
If you chose a different Illustration, re-read your Premise. Weird, right? You changed a couple words, yet the intent of the message remained the same. That’s writing a story from a purposeful intent, from structure.
And that’s only the beginning.
The rest of your development process with Subtext involves this back-and-forth between structure and illustration, between substance and experience. You write the experience for your Audience, Subtext will help keep you on track with your original intentions.