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Sunday, August 11

Sunday Writing Tip: Check Your Subtext: Say More with Less

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Each week, I’ll offer a tip you can take and apply to your WIP to help improve it. They’ll be easy to do and shouldn’t take long, so they’ll be tips you can do without taking up your Sunday. Though I do reserve the right to offer a good tip now and then that will take longer—but only because it would apply to the entire manuscript.

This week, look for moments that would be stronger by not stating the emotions and/or thoughts outright.


Subtext is a powerful tool, but also a tricky one, especially in an early draft when we’re still trying to figure out the story. But often, what’s not being said has far more impact on the reader. Good subtext can heighten tensions, create conflict, and even deepen characterization.

Take some time today to look for scenes that could benefit from a little less clarity about how the characters feel and what they think. Rewrite those moments so the subtext carries those emotions and thoughts instead.

For more on creating subtext in your novel, try these articles:

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