Karalee’s Post # 94
One of my running friends sent me this cartoon and it struck me that what is being communicated is completely dependent on the relationship between those speaking.
The characters in this cartoon have an intimate relationship and what the man says and what the woman perceives he is saying don’t match at all. As readers we laugh at the interchange, but it is a technique (subtext) that writers often use to add depth to their characters and stories.
In writing, we can take advantage of the relationships between our characters whether through family connections, professions, how well they know one another, and what their motivations are in the conversation.
The above cartoon would be different if these two people had just met and were starting to date, or if it were between two women or two men. It would also depend on how well they knew one another, if they worked together, if they have mutual friends etc.
Another way a character can communicate is by saying one thing when he/she really means something else. In other words, the character is lying. There are a million reasons why a character may do this. For it to be effective the author must let the reader be aware of the lie and the reasons behind it (although not necessarily at the same time).
How do you take advantage of subtext in your writing?