Modeling Plots of Narrative Texts as Temporal Graphs

:speech_balloon: Speaker: Leonard Konle and Fotis Jannidis

:classical_building: Affiliation: Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

Title: Modeling Plots of Narrative Texts as Temporal Graphs

Abstract: The paper outlines a formal model of plot (and syuzhet) for narrative texts. The basic unit are scenes and the motif repertoire instantiated in the scene. The motif repertoire consists of three sets of (closely related) elements: character stereotypes, types of verbal actions and action types. It is assumed that the motif repertoire is highly dependent on the corpus which is analyzed, in our case a corpus of romance and horror novels published as pulp fiction. The resulting information is represented in a temporal graph which in turn is used to compute relevant information on the scenes and characters. Scenes are also characterized by their valence and their arousal value. A second representation which offers with a topic model of the direct speech and the narrative text a simple proxy for the types of verbal actions and the action types is also created. To assess the ability of these information structures to indicate changes in the temporal structures three evaluation methods are used based on artificial data. We can confirm that a very abstract representation of the plot is able to do so, but contrary to our expectations the more information-rich model which makes use of the topic model is not better in doing so. The main contribution of this paper is its attempt to integrate different research proposals into one integral model. We offer a descriptive framework and a proposal for the formal model of plot, which makes it possible to identify research problems and align existing approaches.

:newspaper: Link to paper