Culture: Book: Generator
Plotline Synthesizer   (+4, -2)  [vote for, against]
Novel outlines in seconds!

They say that Shakespeare wrote all the good plots. Even if this is an exaggeration it illustrates a good point - there are only a limited number of fundamental plot twists that can be used. It should be possible to strip a book, film or any other narrative of it's background, location, style and reduce the plotline to it's basic elements (rather like what I think the film world calls a 'treatment', although that will have a little more detail than what I propose). You should then have a comprehensible plotline which would not really resemble the narrative at all, just a timeline of relationships and actions between characters. eg Romeo and Juliet: A -attracted- B. A(familysocial group) -war- B(family/social group). C *supporter of idea* (A attracted to B). Message A to C to B. Message B to C to A. I forget exactly what happens between Romeo Juliet and the Nurse, but you get the idea.

Now develop a symbology for all possible relationships and actions (characters can stay as letters). A¢ŸB = love. A¢Ÿ>B¢Ÿ>C = love triangle. A¥öB = A hates B. A¬¨B = A kills B. This would get complex after a while, but no more so than any programming language.

Any story can then be expressed as symbol based plotline. New plotlines could then be generated by analysing, combining and randomising old ones. Obviously the style, characters and backdrop to the story are just as (if not more) important, and completely reliant on the creative skill of the author, director or whoever, but it might be an interesting method of story development.
-- wagster, Jul 16 2004

(?) Ben Sinclair's Random "Law and Order" Plot Generator
"Law and Order" being a cop/lawyer show in the U.S.. [phoenix, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(generic) Evil Overlord plot generator
[phoenix, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Jerry Bruckheimer Plot Generator http://www.lanceand...bin/bruckheimer.cgi
[phoenix, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

A great tool for some film producers, who seem to cough up the same old stuff.
Perhaps they would only need one line of your code to make the films more interesting.

1. Man gets a challenge.
2. Man defeats the challenge and they all live happily ever after.

1. Man shoots someone.
2. 100mph (wow!!) car chase. Much shooting, and many exposions.
3. Someone shoots man.

-- Ling, Jul 16 2004

My codes seem to have been converted into something fairly incomprehensible - I don't think my work machine has the necessary fonts. Anyway, I don't think special symbols are necessary for this, short words would work just as well.
-- wagster, Jul 16 2004

I think American soaps have come up with some plots that Shakespeare didn't think of.
-- tasman, Jul 16 2004

You are assuming of course that a plot, a good one anyway, doesn't evoke any sense of emotion or do you think human emotion can be reduced to equations?
-- mecotterill, Feb 09 2008

um, of course.

-- mylodon, Feb 09 2008

Of course emotions can be represented mathmatically, so can relationships. They are of course too complex and ineffable for the mathematics to provide a very accurate representation, and I doubt the mathematics would be much use, certainly in the real world. You could however use it as a creative tool to generate a barebones plot. The emotion and characterisation would still have to come from the writing.

//complex... but no more so than any programming language.// I take that back.
-- wagster, Feb 09 2008

Well emotions can be 'described' mathmatically the same way they can be 'described' linguisticly, but they could never be expressed mathmatically. Relationships can be described and yes probably expressed mathmatically too.

There have been several attempts to create music by computer, with no human intervention and I think without exception what it has produced was sterile, emotionless and pretty much unlistenable.

Brian Eno was working on a lyric generator, but the last I heard it was a very long way from fruition.

I think the barebones plot tool is about all you could hope for here, perhaps it's an enevitable development. I think it could be useful for 'fixing' human made storylines - so you've got a beginning and a middle but you need an end - here are the possibilities.
-- mecotterill, Feb 09 2008

random, halfbakery