Subtext Through Dialogue and Action from PSWA Conference

The delightful Holli Castillo presented an interesting segment on sub-text. I'm going to give a few of her points here.

Sometimes dialogue may mean something different than the words.

May display some relationship issues when there is a romantic subplot, perhaps some strife going on.

In a thriller, you might introduce the bad guy early, but find out more about him later.

Plant clues and seeds as you go along.

Instead of a character answering a question, could ask one, or change the subject.

Use subtext to cut down on some of the dialogue. Could be displayed through body language.

When you set things up, be sure they pay off.

A character may say something that seems innocent, but when more information is given, the meaning of the message is changed.

Men don't always pick up on social clues.

Holli suggested taking a screen writing class so you can see your book as a movie.

Use the same character traits all the way through the book. If you know your character well, using the traits will become organic.

She suggested watching the original Die Hard movie as it sets up all the motivation for the characters right from the beginning.


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