Subtext Awesomeness 2: Insanely Accurate Story Beats

Just for fun, I imported the storyform for my work-in-progress into Subtext's "Build" feature, which presents you with a view of story beats based on the Signposts (16) and Story Driver events (5).

When you import, Subtext randomly selects a gist for each Signpost based on the Type. You can then go in and pick a new gist if you have an idea for something different.

What was crazy for me is that I was already two-thirds of the way through my first draft and many of Subtext's random gists were so accurate it was scary!

First, the HILARIOUS one:

The idea of my characters dressing up as police officers made me laugh out loud as I prepared to choose a new gist. But then I realized that this actually does happen!! After Becca is abducted by her Psych professor, the Club takes on the role of the police, steering away Campus Security and taking over the investigation. (At one point Becca even knocks Devin's phone away when he tries to call the real police, which confuses him -- how the hell can a country club handle things better than the police?)

This one is crazy accurate -- in the first act, Becca is forced to erase Devin's recent memories in order to protect him (he witnessed something he shouldn't). Later, as they're about to be debriefed, she begs Devin to cover up the fact that Professor Bertram had injected her with an unknown substance.

Though it was completely random, this one expressed what was going on in the relationship better than I could! I even had a whole thread on Discuss about it!

These two are where it started to get scary. You have to understand, by the time I was writing this part I was fairly confident in the storyform, so I knew about the MC Signpost 2 of Conscious and it did seem to fit well. But I never considered that the major brooding Devin does after Becca rejects him was the key part of this signpost! Only after Subtext filled it in (randomly!!) did I realize how perfect it was.

Mr. Hull, is Subtext powered by demons?

Becca's Signpost 2, of course, I knew about -- her mom's cancer takes a turn for the worse. But I still found it creepy that Subtext could phrase it so well using supposedly random gists. (Mr. Hull, is Subtext powered by demons?)

Now for Structural Act 3:

Here, just after the midpoint, the recruits are forced to figure out how to use their anti-gravity jumpsuits after jumping out of a plane. Subtext really helped me see how clear the BUMP between Becoming (OS signpost 2) and Conceptualizing is... Just prior to this they're worried about becoming recruits, whether they can change their natures enough to be willing to jump out of a plane without parachutes. But when that midpoint Story Driver happens (Jess loses a glove and falls and they have to save her), suddenly that Becoming conflict is gone and it's all about figuring out how the anti-gravity suits work.

This one's cool because it's backwards. Rather than Becca foretelling anything, it's Alice (a fourteen-year-old Prescient Communications Officer) who foretells that Becca is "on a bad path" and warns Devin she's going to do something terrible. Perfect IC Signpost -- the foretelling is related to Becca and influences Devin.

This one was crazy, because this was the scene I was about to write when I uploaded my storyform into Subtext -- a scene where MC Devin, training to be a starfighter pilot, has to fly one for the first time. I had imagined a bunch of fears and desires for Devin throughout act 3, but my notes for the scene were "Devin has done really well in flight simulations but is terrified of flying the real thing".  How's that for accuracy?!!

Again, I haven't written this part yet, but I find it crazy how well the random gist captures the Relationship Story beat, better than I could describe it myself. It turns out that Becca has manipulated their romance to do some truly horrific things, and Devin is guilty too: for the romance's sake he looked the other way. That should really be it for them, yet the connection between them just won't die. The romance refuses to understand its own limitations.

That's it for now, but I'll chime back in when I get to act 4!