It Is, Apparently, Subtext Week

May 17th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Last night, we attended a learned lecture where the importance of subtext was discussed, at length, with examples. Also Gloria Gaynor came up, though we’re still not sure why. Today we encounter yet another discussion on that very same subject. With examples. We do so love examples.

Our notes from last night are written in a manner that will require the next age’s Rosetta Stone to decipher, but we think one of the sentences says something like “care about the subtext of the movement*”, relating to the idea that physical movement should drive the story forward. Characters shouldn’t twist their hair simply because you need to do something with their virtual hands.

Dialogue serves the same purpose. Sure, everyone can come right and say what needs to be said, but that’s not the most effective way to reveal the inner workings of the story (though if short and to the point is a goal, well, you know). Over at Storytelling, subtext and dialogue come together. As we always appreciate the hard work of others, here’s a quick synopsis before you click on through to the other side:

The sociolinguistic rules for conversation are complex to the extreme (there’s a whole wide field called discourse analysis, and within that, conversational analysis and politeness theory). I have found that now and then, when I’m having trouble hearing characters talk to each other, it helps me if I step back and analyze what’s going on between them in this light.

* – This is accompanied by a curlicue and arrow. We don’t have our personal shorthand manual handy, but believe these symbols indicate something of great importance.

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