AAAI Publications, Seventh Intelligent Narrative Technologies Workshop

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Expressing the Narrator’s Expectations
Nick Montfort, Erik Stayton, Andrew Campana

Last modified: 2014-10-23


We augment the text generation pipeline of a story generation system to allow expressions of the narrator’s expectations. The narrator can then remark in different ways on events that are labeled in the underlying representation as particularly surprising (or unsurprising). We develop a theory of how the narrator’s surprise can be expressed, drawing on sociolinguistic research, narratology, and our examination of particular literary texts. We show how different narrator expectations can lead to interestingly different texts and how narrators can tell stories as if easily surprised or jaded. We describe our implementation and how inverting aspects of the system allows for ironic narration in which the narrator feigns surprise. Further work along these lines, and the development of a component to automatically model cultural and narrator expectations, could lead to improvements in narrating and to systematic disnarration – saying what has not happened.


narrative discourse; story generation; expectation; surprise

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