Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Narrative Understanding

Nader Akoury, Faeze Brahman, Snigdha Chaturvedi, Elizabeth Clark, Mohit Iyyer, Lara J. Martin (Editors)

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Association for Computational Linguistics
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Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Narrative Understanding
Nader Akoury | Faeze Brahman | Snigdha Chaturvedi | Elizabeth Clark | Mohit Iyyer | Lara J. Martin

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Hierarchical Encoders for Modeling and Interpreting Screenplays
Gayatri Bhat | Avneesh Saluja | Melody Dye | Jan Florjanczyk

While natural language understanding of long-form documents remains an open challenge, such documents often contain structural information that can inform the design of models encoding them. Movie scripts are an example of such richly structured text – scripts are segmented into scenes, which decompose into dialogue and descriptive components. In this work, we propose a neural architecture to encode this structure, which performs robustly on two multi-label tag classification tasks without using handcrafted features. We add a layer of insight by augmenting the encoder with an unsupervised ‘interpretability’ module, which can be used to extract and visualize narrative trajectories. Though this work specifically tackles screenplays, we discuss how the underlying approach can be generalized to a range of structured documents.

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FanfictionNLP: A Text Processing Pipeline for Fanfiction
Michael Yoder | Sopan Khosla | Qinlan Shen | Aakanksha Naik | Huiming Jin | Hariharan Muralidharan | Carolyn Rosé

Fanfiction presents an opportunity as a data source for research in NLP, education, and social science. However, answering specific research questions with this data is difficult, since fanfiction contains more diverse writing styles than formal fiction. We present a text processing pipeline for fanfiction, with a focus on identifying text associated with characters. The pipeline includes modules for character identification and coreference, as well as the attribution of quotes and narration to those characters. Additionally, the pipeline contains a novel approach to character coreference that uses knowledge from quote attribution to resolve pronouns within quotes. For each module, we evaluate the effectiveness of various approaches on 10 annotated fanfiction stories. This pipeline outperforms tools developed for formal fiction on the tasks of character coreference and quote attribution

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Learning Similarity between Movie Characters and Its Potential Implications on Understanding Human Experiences
Zhilin Wang | Weizhe Lin | Xiaodong Wu

While many different aspects of human experiences have been studied by the NLP community, none has captured its full richness. We propose a new task to capture this richness based on an unlikely setting: movie characters. We sought to capture theme-level similarities between movie characters that were community-curated into 20,000 themes. By introducing a two-step approach that balances performance and efficiency, we managed to achieve 9-27% improvement over recent paragraph-embedding based methods. Finally, we demonstrate how the thematic information learnt from movie characters can potentially be used to understand themes in the experience of people, as indicated on Reddit posts.

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Document-level Event Extraction with Efficient End-to-end Learning of Cross-event Dependencies
Kung-Hsiang Huang | Nanyun Peng

Fully understanding narratives often requires identifying events in the context of whole documents and modeling the event relations. However, document-level event extraction is a challenging task as it requires the extraction of event and entity coreference, and capturing arguments that span across different sentences. Existing works on event extraction usually confine on extracting events from single sentences, which fail to capture the relationships between the event mentions at the scale of a document, as well as the event arguments that appear in a different sentence than the event trigger. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end model leveraging Deep Value Networks (DVN), a structured prediction algorithm, to efficiently capture cross-event dependencies for document-level event extraction. Experimental results show that our approach achieves comparable performance to CRF-based models on ACE05, while enjoys significantly higher computational efficiency.

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Gender and Representation Bias in GPT-3 Generated Stories
Li Lucy | David Bamman

Using topic modeling and lexicon-based word similarity, we find that stories generated by GPT-3 exhibit many known gender stereotypes. Generated stories depict different topics and descriptions depending on GPT-3’s perceived gender of the character in a prompt, with feminine characters more likely to be associated with family and appearance, and described as less powerful than masculine characters, even when associated with high power verbs in a prompt. Our study raises questions on how one can avoid unintended social biases when using large language models for storytelling.

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Transformer-based Screenplay Summarization Using Augmented Learning Representation with Dialogue Information
Myungji Lee | Hongseok Kwon | Jaehun Shin | WonKee Lee | Baikjin Jung | Jong-Hyeok Lee

Screenplay summarization is the task of extracting informative scenes from a screenplay. The screenplay contains turning point (TP) events that change the story direction and thus define the story structure decisively. Accordingly, this task can be defined as the TP identification task. We suggest using dialogue information, one attribute of screenplays, motivated by previous work that discovered that TPs have a relation with dialogues appearing in screenplays. To teach a model this characteristic, we add a dialogue feature to the input embedding. Moreover, in an attempt to improve the model architecture of previous studies, we replace LSTM with Transformer. We observed that the model can better identify TPs in a screenplay by using dialogue information and that a model adopting Transformer outperforms LSTM-based models.

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Plug-and-Blend: A Framework for Controllable Story Generation with Blended Control Codes
Zhiyu Lin | Mark Riedl

We describe a Plug-and-Play controllable language generation framework, Plug-and-Blend, that allows a human user to input multiple control codes (topics). In the context of automated story generation, this allows a human user lose or fine grained control of the topics that will appear in the generated story, and can even allow for overlapping, blended topics. We show that our framework, working with different generation models, controls the generation towards given continuous-weighted control codes while keeping the generated sentences fluent, demonstrating strong blending capability.

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Automatic Story Generation: Challenges and Attempts
Amal Alabdulkarim | Siyan Li | Xiangyu Peng

Automated storytelling has long captured the attention of researchers for the ubiquity of narratives in everyday life. The best human-crafted stories exhibit coherent plot, strong characters, and adherence to genres, attributes that current states-of-the-art still struggle to produce, even using transformer architectures. In this paper, we analyze works in story generation that utilize machine learning approaches to (1) address story generation controllability, (2) incorporate commonsense knowledge, (3) infer reasonable character actions, and (4) generate creative language.

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Fabula Entropy Indexing: Objective Measures of Story Coherence
Louis Castricato | Spencer Frazier | Jonathan Balloch | Mark Riedl

Automated story generation remains a difficult area of research because it lacks strong objective measures. Generated stories may be linguistically sound, but in many cases suffer poor narrative coherence required for a compelling, logically-sound story. To address this, we present Fabula Entropy Indexing (FEI), an evaluation method to assess story coherence by measuring the degree to which human participants agree with each other when answering true/false questions about stories. We devise two theoretically grounded measures of reader question-answering entropy, the entropy of world coherence (EWC), and the entropy of transitional coherence (ETC), focusing on global and local coherence, respectively. We evaluate these metrics by testing them on human-written stories and comparing against the same stories that have been corrupted to introduce incoherencies. We show that in these controlled studies, our entropy indices provide a reliable objective measure of story coherence.

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Towards a Model-Theoretic View of Narratives
Louis Castricato | Stella Biderman | David Thue | Rogelio Cardona-Rivera

In this paper, we propose the beginnings of a formal framework for modeling narrative qua narrative. Our framework affords the ability to discuss key qualities of stories and their communication, including the flow of information from a Narrator to a Reader, the evolution of a Reader’s story model over time, and Reader uncertainty. We demonstrate its applicability to computational narratology by giving explicit algorithms for measuring the accuracy with which information was conveyed to the Reader, along with two novel measurements of story coherence.