A Plot-Manipulation Algebra to Support Digital Storytelling

  • Börje Karlsson
  • Simone D. J. Barbosa
  • Antonio L. Furtado
  • Marco A. Casanova
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5709)


Plot composition is examined here at a logic design level, an intermediate stage that comes next to the conceptual level wherein the intended narrative genre is specified. An abstract data structure is proposed to represent plots, together with an algebra for manipulating the data structure. Our purpose is to adapt for narratives the strategy applied to databases by Codd’s relational model. The basic operators of our Plot-Manipulation Algebra (PMA) are introduced in view of the four fundamental relations between events that we identified in a previous work. A logic programming prototype was implemented in order to run examples using the algebra.


storytelling narratology plots logic design algebraic formalisms 


  1. 1.
    Aarne, A., Thompson, S.: The Types of the Folktale. Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia (1987)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aristotle. “Poetics”. In: Classical Literary Criticism. P. Murray & al (tr.). Penguin (2000) Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Aylett, R., Louchart, S., Dias, J., Paiva, A., Vala, M., Woods, S., Hall, L.: Unscripted narrative for affectively driven characters. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications 26(4), 42–52 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bal, M.: Narratology. U. of Toronto Press (2002)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Batini, C., Ceri, S., Navathe, S.: Conceptual Design. Benjamin Cummings (1992)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Booth, W.: A Rhetoric of Irony. U. of Chicago Press, Chicago (1974)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burke, K.: A Grammar of Motives. U. of California Press, California (1969)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cavazza, M., Charles, F., Mead, S.J.: Character-based interactive storytelling. IEEE Intelligent Systems 17(4), 17–24 (2002)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chandler, D.: Semiotics: The Basics. Routledge (2007)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ciarlini, A.E.M., Pozzer, C.T., Furtado, A.L., Feijó, B.: A logic-based tool for interactive generation and dramatization of stories. In: Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ciarlini, A.E.M., Barbosa, S.D.J., Casanova, M.A., Furtado, A.L.: Event Relations in Plan-Based Plot Composition. ACM Computers in Entertainment (to appear, 2009)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Codd, E.F.: Relational completeness of data base sublanguages. In: Rustin, R. (ed.) Database Systems. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1972)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cohen, P.R., Levesque, H.J.: Intention is Choice with Commitment. Artificial Intelligence 42 (1990)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Culler, J.: On Deconstruction. Cornell U. Press (1983)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fauconnier, G., Turner, M.: The Way We Think. Basic Books, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fikes, R.E., Nilsson, N.J.: STRIPS: A new approach to the application of theorem proving to problem solving. Artificial Intelligence 2 (1971)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Furtado, A.L., Casanova, M.A., Barbosa, S.D.J., Breitman, K.K.: Analysis and Reuse of Plots using Similarity and Analogy. In: Li, Q., Spaccapietra, S., Yu, E., Olivé, A. (eds.) ER 2008. LNCS, vol. 5231, pp. 355–368. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Karlsson, B., Furtado, A.L.: PMA: A Plot Manipulation Algebra. Technical Report MCC 01/09, PUC-Rio (2009), ftp://ftp.inf.puc-rio.br/pub/docs/techreports/09_01_karlsson.pdf
  19. 19.
    Oinonen, K., Theune, M., Nijholt, A., Uijlings, J.: Designing a Story Database for Use in Automatic Story Generation. In: Harper, R., Rauterberg, M., Combetto, M. (eds.) ICEC 2006. LNCS, vol. 4161, pp. 298–301. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Propp, V.: Morphology of the Folktale. S. Laurence (trans.). U. of Texas Press (1968)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rao, A.S., Georgeff, M.P.: Modeling rational agents within a BDI-architecture. In: Int’l Conf. on Princ. of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (1991)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Saussure, F.: Cours de Linguistique Générale. In: Bally, C., et al. (eds.) Payot (2006)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Schank, R.C., Colby, K.: Computer Models of Thought and Language. Freeman, New York (1973)MATHGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Szilas, N.: ID-tension: A narrative engine for interactive drama. In: Proc. of Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment (2003)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ullman, J.D., Widom, J.: A first Course on Database Systems. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (2008)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Valmiki: Le Ramayana. Benoît, P., et al. (trans.). Gallimard (1999) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Börje Karlsson
    • 1
  • Simone D. J. Barbosa
    • 1
  • Antonio L. Furtado
    • 1
  • Marco A. Casanova
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Informática, PUC-RioMarquês de São VicenteRio de JaneiroBrazil

Personalised recommendations