Embedded Narratives and the Structure of Plans
The plans of characters in narrative, just as those of people in real life, are particularly rich in what I call "embedded narratives." Within plans, embedding is produced by transfers of control, i.e. by projected episodes in which the planner depends on the participation of sub-agents to achieve his own goal. Three types of constructs are shown to be necessary to the understanding of plans: (a) the actual plan of the main agent, i.e. the events he really wants to make happen; (b) the projected plans for the subagents, i.e. the plans by which these sub-agents, in the projection of the main agent, will be seeking to fulfill their own goal; and (c) the virtual plan of the main agent, i.e. what he presents to the sub-agents as being his intent, in order to secure their participation. Depending on the relations among these constructs, the attitude of the main agent towards subagents is sincere, deceptive, or doubly deceptive.The last section of the paper describes an attempt to simulate by computer the generation of plans with actual, projected and virtual components.
The Heuristics of Automatic Story Generation