Subtext: Premise when Protagonist is not MC or IC

Hello new friends!

I’m writing a story that is turning out to be less standard in terms of character roles, but it’s how it seems to want to be.

MC = Character A
Protagonist = Character B
Relationship story throughline = A+B
Influence character throughline = Character C

Given this setup, how do I interpret the premise on Subtext? Is this the from the protagonist’s POV or from the MC’s POV?


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Hi Sarah! Welcome.

I’m sure @jhull will have a better response, but in the meantime:

I think it’s more useful to think of the Subtext premise as encapsulating the entire “message” of the storyform, which is from the author’s point of view, illustrated through the characters.

That said, the formula for the Subtext premise involves the Crucial Element, which is where the MC and OS throughlines intersect, no matter who is the Protagonist.

If you’re familiar with the first season of Westworld that’s a good example of a story where the Protagonist is not the MC that you could look up on Subtext (I won’t discuss it here because of spoilers). The first Terminator movie is another.


Hi @Faery


The Premise in Subtext is the message of the story - it is neither tied to the Protagonist nor the Main Character, but rather the relationship between the Author and Audience. When you read it, imagine you (as the Author) being able to meet with every single Audience member individually and communicating to them this important message.

That’s all the Storyform in Dramatica is - a carrier wave of intention from artist to receiver. The algorithms that create the Premise are indeed a mixture of the primary objective and subjective views (Objective Story Throughline and Main Character Throughline) along with a set of Premise Appreciations. The latter look very similar to the Audience Appreciations in Base Dramatica (Tendency, Essence, etc.) with one important distinction - they are engineered to communicate message over the Audience’s apparent Appreciation of meaning. They change and adapt to other dynamics within the story based on my practical experience of using Dramatica to write stories.

In short, find a Premise that resonates with you and write your story around that intention. Everything else will fall into place.


Thanks to both of you, that really helps!!

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