Posts tagged with: subtext

Using Subtext with Winnie Griggs

A few months back, the sisters were talking about subtext and how to apply it to our writing. That struck a note with me because my chaptermate and fellow Harlequin writer Winnie Griggs had just presented a workshop on subtext, so I invited her to come talk subtext and how writers can put this tool in our toolbox to work for us. Take it away, Winnie 🙂

Let’s start off by discussing what subtext is and what it does for your story.  Subtext is an impression or conclusion conveyed by the author to the reader through inference rather than explicit communication.

Linda Segar, in the book Creating Unforgettable Characters, describes it this way:

“Subtext is what the character is really saying beneath and between the lines. Often characters don’t understand themselves. They’re often not direct and don’t say what they mean. We might say that subtext is all about underlying drives and meanings that are not apparent to the character, but that are apparent to the audience or reader.”

 A story without subtext feels flat and clichéd.  If every character says exactly what they mean, and they display all of their emotions openly,  we wouldn’t have a very interesting story.  It’s when they try to hide something from the others around them that things get interesting.

The Latest Comments

  • Darynda Jones: I love this! I learned this fairly early as well. I also learned that sometimes I just have too many...
  • Heather McCollum: Thanks, Jenn! I forgot that you are also a free lance editor! Do you do both developmental and line...
  • Jennifer Bray-Weber: Very sound advice, Heather. I have done the same technique and often recommended it to some of...
  • Darynda Jones: Bwahahaha! I was so wondering where that was going! Did NOT see that coming. Great job, Evelyn!
  • April Mitchell: Congratulations Bonnie!