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All human relationships have conflict and tension because of differing agendas. It is rare that two people are on exactly the same page, and most of the time each person’s differences are not explicitly stated. In a story, it's that underlying tension and the things unsaid that act as subtext. Editor Helga Schier believes subtext is a critical part of creating dynamic character relationships, which impact a story's atmostphere. She teaches that subtext can be created through dialogue that is intentionally on the surface, while using the narration to go deeper and reveal the truth. Even nonverbal expressions such as body language are powerful signifiers of subtext. Schier explains that whether the subtext is set up previously in the story or in a character’s backstory, most of what is unsaid has to be built into the story. Watch the clip below to learn more from Schier about how subtext can impact the depth and atmosphere of your story.
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