If you look in the Storybeats section, you’ll see a button next to the the Add button marked
Edit. Click or tap this button, and you’ll be presented with various options to manipulate each individual beat.
As simple as it sounds—click here to remove this Storybeat from your story permanently. You’ll be presented with a warning, but once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
You CANNOT delete the last Storybeat for a particular Throughline within an Act. To do so would result in an incomplete story, bereft of meaning and substance. If you want to break your story, you’ll have to do it outside of the confines of Subtext.
If the Storybeat in question has been broken down into smaller Beats, you will have first to remove those smaller Beats. Then you can lose that bigger Storybeat.
If you’re not “feeling” a particular Storybeat, or can’t come up with Storytelling on your own, you can turn to Subtext to randomly suggest appropriate Storytelling for a particular Beat.
Once in Edit mode, click or tap the gold “shuffle” button just to the right of the Storybeat’s text. Subtext will automatically reach into its extensive vault of comparable Storytelling ideas and present you an alternate way of thinking of that Storybeat.
The structure that forms the foundation for a Storybeat is not “random”—it’s specific and essential towards communicating the story’s Narrative Argument. The Storytelling on top is literally the icing on the cake—it can change and alter while still saying the same thing.
The Randomize Storytelling button is a means to change the color or consistency of the icing on your story cake. It’s also a great way to spark your creativity and send your story off in an entirely new direction.
Subtext’s list of Storybeats is a “perfect” representation of your story’s Narrative Argument. While your story—and indeed, your Audience—would appreciate you telling the whole story, there may be times when you want to skip over something your writer’s intuition says is not all that important.
Subtext allows the writer to hide essential elements of structure by turning off individual Storybeats. By hiding a Storybeat, the writer can continue to follow their most important guide (their heart), while still being reminded of what it is they’re trying to say.
Tap or click the colored Throughline indicator, and the Storybeat in question fades into the background. While it continues to remain in your list of possible Storybeats, it will completely disappear once out of Edit mode.
A hidden Storybeat will also not appear in the final Treatment.
This feature allows the writer to experiment with different ways of telling their story, without having to sacrifice the integrity of the narrative structure.
A Word About Short Stories
Short stories are a place where the writer would want to hide several Storybeats. A short story usually only has time for one Throughline. By hiding the beats of the other Throughlines, the writer can use the power of Subtext while still staying “small.”
The last thing a writer can do in Edit mode—but, probably the most important—is re-order the Storybeats.
You CANNOT re-order Storybeats while viewing a particular Throughline. The Throughline view tells the complete story of one Throughline, and in the appropriate order. Return to the Storybeats view if you want to change the order in which they appear in your story.
The Reorder icon sits on the far right side of each Storybeat. Once in Edit mode, click or tap and drag the Storybeat into the desired position.
You CANNOT drag a Storybeat beyond the boundary of an Act, The Storybeats presented by Subtext are essential within the context of that Act and are, therefore, meaningless outside of them.
A Word About Ordering Beats
While the order of Beats within an Act is entirely up to the Author, there is one area where the Author should pay particularly close attention.
When you break down a Storybeat into smaller Beats, those smaller Beats will add a number next to their Throughline icons (within the Edit view). These numbers represent the order these smaller Beats appear within the master structure of your story.
Technically, this order is super important. In the same way that the order of Acts is essential to the message of a story, the order of the individual parts of a Storybeat is vital to the message of a story. We strongly suggest that you follow the order recommended by Subtext.
That said, as the writer gets deeper and deeper into the “weeds” of narrative structure, a fair amount of resolution is lost. One literally loses sight of the forest for the trees. While the order suggested guarantees a vibrant and robust message, a slight alteration here and there within the scope of the individual parts of a Beat would likely have little to no impact on the final message.
Subtext grants writers the ability to “fudge” their story’s structure in response to their own intuition.
You CANNOT move a Storybeat after the Story Driver at the end of the first, second, or third structural Acts. The Story Driver concludes an Act and nothing should come after it.
Leaving Edit Mode
Once you’ve completed your changes, click or tap Done and the Storybeats view will return to its original state. Note that it is not essential to touch Done to save your changes—as with all things in Subtext, the moment you make a change, your actions are recorded and saved to your story.