Story Engine Difference Between Dramatica 5.3.1 and Subtxt


I’ve been using Dramatica for quite a few years now, and decided to give Subtxt a spin on an old story idea of mine. However, I’ve found that, for my particular choices, the two story engines don’t generate the same story form, no matter how I try to enter the settings.

Here are the details:

Character Dynamics: Steadfast, Stop, Be-Er, Holistic
Plot Dynamics: Action, Optionlock, Success, Good
Static Story Points: Goal=Memories, Consequence=The Past, Cost=Understanding, Dividend=Developing a Plan

In Dramatica, the IC signposts are: 1-Gathering Information, 2-Understanding, 3-Doing, 4-Obtaining
In Subtxt, they come out as: 1-Understanding, 2-Doing, 3-Obtaining, 4-Learning (Gathering Information)

In Dramatica, the RS signposts are: 1-The Present, 2-The Past, 3-How Things are Changing, 4-The Future
In Subtxt, they come out as: 1-The Past, 2-Progress (How Things Are Changing), 3-The Future, 4-The Present

So, in both cases, Subtxt shifts the 1st Dramatica-generated signpost so that it is the 4th.

However, ALL other values in the Storyform are exactly the same.

As a result of this, I can’t start developing my story further. I think that Subtxt is correct, but that is just a hunch.

Can someone else with access to both platforms see if they can reproduce this issue? It is driving me nuts. They can’t both be right.



Hi Julie,

Jim can give you more details on why, but long story short he’s made some changes to Subtxt that yield different signpost orders, and the beats (Variations) underneath are even more different. My experience on my own story (so far) is that the Subtxt version feels more accurate.

I think the static story points are exactly the same.


Well darn. I was really looking forward to using Dramatica for the bulk of my story outlining and augmenting it with what Subtxt generated. I don’t suppose there is a way to “force” the signpost rearrangement in Dramatica and keep the rest of the storyform intact? This doesn’t work by manually setting the Signposts first, because then the other throughlines change. Gosh, how I’ve tried to get it to work! And yes, you are right, the variations are REALLY different, too. Along the way, I think I saw that the other through line variations weren’t affected by this, but I’d rather not have to create two separate DSF files and mentally merge the results together. This storyform is unorthodox enough as it is.

But I’m not giving up on Dramatica yet. So, if anyone has any helpful hints, please let me know.

Thanks. – Julie

I don’t think so. I guess you could illustrate all of the static story points in Dramatica and then apply what you’ve come up with to the signposts/variations inside Subtxt (and then export the Subtxt treatement).

As I understand what Jim Hull has explained, Subtxt takes into account the mental sex of the story. Due to computing limitations when Dramatica came out, the software had to assume all stories were explored with a linear mindset. A holistic mindset has the final two parts of the dramatic circuit (the power and current) switched.

You can upload a Dramatica Storyform into Subtxt.

You just won’t be able to use any of the Scene or Scene Beats features as they are different.

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Jim can you explain how we are supposed to use the PSR report from an existing Dramatica File upload? I don’t see any of that information in my Subtext story. You suggest above that you can’t use the scene or scene beats. So what is the PSR uploading? Where is that information?

Conversely, I’ve already done extensive work on my Dramatica story form and I want to keep using it. But I’m not quite sure how to replicate it in Subtext. I can’t seem to find a way to set it up using the same options. Is this possible? If not, how do I work with Dramatica?



Hi Chris,

The best way to get support is through Subtxt’s in app chat (bottom right), but the short of it is:

For Storyforms, Subtxt needs a Story Engine Settings report from Dramatica (txt file)

For Sequences, Subtxt needs the Plot Sequence Report from Dramatica (txt file)

You can read all about it here: Uploading Alternate Structures

And if you’re still having trouble uploading these files, contact me through the app and I will help you out.