Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Please Welcome our Guest Winnie Griggs

By Winnie Griggs 

Hello everyone.  I’m just tickled pink to be back here in Seekerville!  I always have such a fun with you folks.

Today I want to talk about Subtext.  And let’s start by discussing what subtext is and what it does for your story.  Subtext is an impression or conclusion conveyed by the author to the reader through inference rather than explicit communication.

Subtext is what the character is saying or thinking between the lines on the page, so to speak.  Often characters aren’t willing to be direct, aren’t fully aware themselves, or aren’t articulate enough to express these underlying messages.  However, if the author does her job properly, they will be apparent, consciously or subconsciously, to the reader.

Subtext is the writer’s friend because if every character said exactly what they mean and displayed all of their emotions openly, we wouldn’t have a very interesting story.  In fact it would feel flat and clichéd.   It’s when the characters try to hide something from the others around them that things get oh so interesting.  Subtext goes beyond what your characters say or do in order to reveal what they feel.

As for the mechanics, there are several ways to deliver subtext, some more subtle than others.  Today I want to discuss a few of them.

The Words Are At Odds With The Tone And/Or The Actions

This is one of the easiest forms of subtext to portray.  If you show a child sullenly saying “I’m sorry” when caught misbehaving,  or get an “I’m fine” response from someone who then storms from the room, then the reader understands the character isn’t feeling the same emotion as the one they are expressing verbally.

Consider this example from my book Something More
Set up:  The heroine Elthia has just arrived at her destination via stagecoach and is about to disembark.

She picked up the basket that served as Poppy’s carrier, tightened her hold on her parasol, and shifted forward.  Moving to the door as if it were heaven’s gate itself, she barely avoided a tumble when the coach lurched and then stilled again.


She turned to apologize to the passenger she’d inadvertently jabbed with her parasol.  “Mr. Jenkins, I’m so–-”

“Watch out!”

Elthia pivoted, this time carefully pointing her parasol toward the floor.  “Oh dear, Miss Simms, I didn’t mean–-”

The matronly woman gave her a tight smile as she straightened her tipsily-angled hat.  “That’s all right, dear.  This is your stop, isn’t it?  You just go on now.  Don’t want to keep whoever’s meeting you waiting.”


“No, really, just go on.”

Elthia looked around.  Several other passengers were (enthusiastically) nodding agreement.  Really, this was (just) the nicest group of people.  Especially considering the fuss Poppy had made with his yipping eagerness to get to know the other passengers this past hour.

She gave them all a big smile, then stepped through the coach door, ready to begin her new life. 

In this snippet, Elthia obviously thinks everyone is just being friendly and is clueless to the undercurrents.  But by observing the words and actions of the other passengers, the reader can clearly recognize from the subtext that they are glad to see the last of her and her troublesome dog.

Actions Without Dialogue

A lingering look, an over-attentiveness, a sudden hyper-awareness can signal the attraction of one character to another without the author ever overtly referring to the emotion.  In the same way a flinch, a abrupt exit, a stiffening can signify one character’s fear of another.

Staging Through Word Choice

This is subtext that is purely a dialog between author and reader.  As an author, the word choices we use can set a particular mood and/or set expectations. 

Consider this bit of description:

The heat of the day was softened by dappled shade of the woods.  She and Toby were off to enjoy  an afternoon of picnicking and berry picking.  Lucy stepped over a knobby root and paused while Toby studied a shiny beetle lumbering up the side of a hickory tree. They’d been strolling along this leaf-carpeted trail for about thirty minutes now, and the creek crossing was just past the bit of brush up ahead.  Some of the choicest blackberries in the county grew there.

Now contrast that with:

The hot summer sun stabbed unevenly through the ghostly shadows of the woods.  She and Toby were on a quest to gather the desperately needed berries that grew near the old creek.  Lucy stepped over a twisted root and paused impatiently while Toby tried and failed to catch a large beetle fleeing up the side of a hickory tree. They’d been picking their way along this narrow, bramble-infested trail for nearly thirty minutes now, and the creek crossing was just past that clump of dead brush up ahead.  That’s where they would find the potent and highly coveted berries.

Though on the surface these are two views of the same scene, just by the word choices, I’ve given the reader two very different moods and expectations.  And even though there is no dialog and no introspection in either scene, the reader will make deductions about what is going on and what the characters are probably feeling.  

 Weaving In Elements That Support Your Message or Theme Throughout Your Story

If your story is about loss, then there should be subtle references to various kinds of loss and the effect they have on the character all through your story.  These can be almost invisible to the reader on the surface - a minor reference to misplaced keys, a ripped piece of clothing that must be thrown out, losing a place in line - snippets that have small individual weight but that will have a subconscious cumulative affect on your reader.

There are other ways to insert subtext, of course, but these are the primary ones.

Remember, subtext lends emotional depth and increases reader engagement with your work.  It’s what elevates your work from product to art.

So, do you have any additional pointers on subtext that I left out?  Or perhaps some favorite examples?

And to celebrate the recent release of Book 2 in my Texas Grooms series, The Bride Next Door,  I’m going to be giving a copy away to TWO folks who leave a comment on this post.

Love Thy Neighbor? 

After years of wandering, Daisy Johnson hopes to settle in Turnabout, Texas, open a restaurant, perhaps find a husband. Of course, she'd envisioned a man who actually likes her. Not someone who offers a marriage of convenience to avoid scandal.

Turnabout is just a temporary stop for newspaper reporter Everett Fulton. Thanks to one pesky connecting door and a local gossip, he's suddenly married, but his dreams of leaving haven't changed. What Daisy wants - home, family, tenderness - he can't provide. Yet big-city plans are starting to pale beside small-town warmth...

Winnie Griggs grew up in south Louisiana in an undeveloped area her friends thought of as the back of beyond.  She and her two younger siblings spent many an hour exploring the overgrown land around her home, cutting jungle trails, building forts and frontier camps, and looking for pirate ships on the nearby bayou.   Once she ‘grew up’ she found other outlets for dealing with all those wonderful, adventurous imaginary friends by filling notebooks with their stories. 
Eventually she found her own Prince Charming, a rancher whose white steed takes the form of a tractor and whose kingdom is situated in a small rural community that she loves to call home, and together they’ve built their own storybook happily-ever-after that  includes four now grown children, two of whom are twins.
Now a multi-published, award winning author, Winnie feels blessed to be able to share her stories with readers through her writings for Love Inspired Historical books.  You can learn more about Winnie at  


  1. Awesome post. This is very helpful.
    I like using subtext, especially when it ties in with themes.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Winnie:

    It's great to have you back. I just love this. Fun with words is like catnip to a writer.

    Subtext is rather complex. There’s context, sarcasm, irony, double entendres, satire, and I’m sure a lot more but they all seem to involve saying something other than what you are literally saying. Which is very useful in fiction.

    Here are some fun examples I like:

    Double entendre:

    Gentleman: “You must have been a very good girl to get that mink coat.”

    Mae West: “Goodness had nothing to do with it.”

    Text: “Come up and see me sometime.” Mae West:
    Sub text: You can stay all night.

    Man is wearing an awful tie that his wife gave him and he must wear to an important event.)

    Sarcasm: Friend: “That’s a really nice tie, Henry, where can I get one?”

    Sarcasm with subtext:
    Text: “What bet did you lose this time?”
    Subtext: “Why else would you wear that terrible tie?”

    Irony: “That’s the ideal tie to wear when you’re here to receive your Best Dressed Man of the Year award tonight.” (And he was there to accept the award!)

    Enough fun.

    I have a real question:

    How did you come up with the name: “Elthia”? I never have come across this name before but it sounds like a name that might have been used in the 1800’s. Did you see it on a tombstone, make it up from whole cloth, or have you ever really known someone by that name. I think along with subtext, names carry a lot of baggage.

    What do you think when the reader reads the subtext that the author didn’t intend but is clearly there? Do you proof for subtext?


    Please enter me for “The Bride Next Door” – Kindle if possible.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Okay, I'll try to be clearer than the comment I deleted! When a non-pov character for the scene says something guarded that the current POV character misses. You know what the non-pov character means because it was revealed in another scene, and you see the current POV character miss the meaning and misinterpret which in turn affects the story and you want to shove your hands into the story, grab them by the ears and say "think, think about what that means a little bit more!"

    At least, I think that counts as a version of subtext. Just as long as the clueless character doesn't turn into a stupid character for not catching it--making the reader "in the know" and squirming rather than "in the know" and ready to kill the character too stupid to see the obvious and the author who created him/her. So it has to be sly.

    Little white lies....

  5. Great post, Winnie! I especially like the part about overarching themes throughout the book. That's something I need to pay more attention to in my writing. Beautiful cover, btw!

  6. Welcome back Winnie,

    Thanks for these helpful tips on subtext.

    I definitely need to weave in elements supporting my overall theme.

    Thanks again.

  7. Subtext huh? I know exactly what you're talking about but never knew it had a name. Thanks Winnie. Always love your posts.

  8. What a wonderful post and a great reminder.

    I like what Melissa J. said...I enjoy having the POV character innocently reveal a tidbit of information that the reader knows will surprise/devastate/shock the non-POV character and let the reactions play out. That usually keeps 'em turning pages.

  9. Love subtext!
    If the reader IS in the know, then it's hilarious to watch characters get themselves into bigger fixes than they were to begin with.
    If the reader is NOT in the know, subtext can help reveal something about a character that the reader doesn't know by bringing the issue to light in a more unique way than writing that's "on the nose."

    Great post!

    Please enter me for your book!

  10. Winnie,
    I always learn so much when you post. Welcome back to Seekerville. We're tickled pink to have you with us today!

    I brought pecan coffee cake and fresh fruit! Enjoy!

  11. Love the example Winnie. Makes subtext clear. I didn't realize there was a name for it either. I'll have to think to see if I've ever used it.

    I'd love to win The Bride Next Door.

  12. Subtext is something I'd never thought about--never even knew I used until a couple of years ago. It's amazing how you use it consciously and give such great explanations and examples. (You gave me a good example for my WD book a while back--thank you!)

    Excellent post. Craft topics are my favorites. :-)

  13. love the examples for subtext. many thanks!

    your book sounds like an awesome read...put me in the running please.

    i will have to look over my writings and see if i've managed to insert this subtext thing.

    great, informative post!

  14. Winnie,

    Great post, and it gives me a lot to think about. Thank you for coming to Seekerville today; I've been a fan for the past few years.


    I saw the first comment you made during my middle of the night insomnia and I knew it was important wisdom. Thanks for the further clarification.


  15. Winnie, I appreciate this post. I kept thinking how helpful it will be as I work on revisions for my story. I'm still figuring out how to use subtext. I loved your examples. :)

  16. Helen? MIA? Love the post and comments as a great way to have my morning coffee. Would love to win your book, Winnie

  17. Welcome back to Seekerville, Winnie! I always appreciate your excellent teaching posts. Subtexts aren't a common topic, but as you say, using subtext can take our stories from product to art. Love the reminder to weave in elements that support the theme. Need to think more about that with my wip.


  18. Debby, thanks for the luscious pecan coffeecake! I'm sure those pecans were grown in Georgia.


  19. I LOVE it when there are examples. I get it so much better! I had no idea subtext existed so this is all new to me. Another reason word choice is so important. I have so much to learn!

    And I'm curious about Elthia's name too.

  20. Morning WINNIE, Glad to have you back in Seekerville.

    Love your examples that show us what you mean.

    Have fun today.

    And DEBBY thank you for the yummy pecan coffeecake.

  21. Good morning, Winnie,

    I loved this post! Subtext is a tool we can easily forget to to use. Thank you for reminding us.
    And now I'm hitting the 'save this post' tab... :-)


  22. Thanks for the teaching moment, Winnie. My favorite subtext in Christian stories is where the reader sees how God is working in the background to put the POVs in the right position to gain their hearts desire. All the while, the POVs are whinning that God doesn't love them.

    I'd love to get a copy of your book.

  23. With all of the things we have to remember while writing, I often forget subtext. Thank you for the reminder.

    As I was reading your post a scene popped into my mind that I had written in detail but will be more rewarding if rewritten as subtext.

    The Texas Groom series sounds great! Please enter me.

  24. SUBTEXT is one of those things that I hope I use (my mind is a subtext I guess) But, like Cheryl St.John said, it's subconscious if I do.
    But I'm inspired by this Winnie and I'm going to try and be more aware.

  25. What I love doing is writing something that the characters believe and the reader KNOWS is wrong. A hero who sees the heroine flinch at the mention of her deceased husband's name and 'knows' she's remembering her first and only true love. When in fact the heroine is flinching because she's remembering that jerk first husband of hers.

    Then the hero leaves because he's hurt and the heoine 'knows' he left because he doesn't love her just like that jerk first husband didn't love her.

    So there's all this 'knowing' and the reader is in on all the mix-ups but the heroine and hero doesn't know squat.

    Is that subtext?

  26. Sherri, that 'reveal' of some tiny thing can be so fun.

    Watching everyone get all worked up (gasp) because the heroine is a widow when the hero has been assuming there was a husband around somewhere.

    Or in a mystery when someone reveals they borrowed someone's shoes so the muddy footprints beneath the victim's window, don't belong to the shoe's owners but to the shoe borrowers.

  27. Good morning everyne. Looks like I overslept and am late for breakfast. But I've got my plate of waffles and glass of milk now and am looking forward to reading everyone's comments!

  28. Hi Heather. Glad you enjoyed the post. I agree, subtext, when you feel you've nailed it, can add a lot of fun to the writing process.

    Good morning Vince - thanks for the warm welcome. Love your examples! As for the name Elthia, I collect baby name books and also frequently visit historical census sites online. I saw that name in one of my books and knew immediately that I'd have to use it for my heroine.

    As for unintentional subtext, if it is at odds with what the author intended it can be disastrous to the reading experience. However I often add subtext unawares and when I go back and read it find that it adds another layer to the story that actually enhances it.

    And yes, tweaking and layering in subtext is something I work on when doing some of the final editing passes after the first draft is complete

  29. Hi Melissa. I never saw your original comment but I know EXACTLY what you mean by this one. And yes, that is a good example of subtext and a very effective one. It lets the reader feel like they are 'in on something' that the POV character isn't and keeps them reading to find when the POV character will figure it out for themselves.

    Just be careful, as you say, that you don't frustrate the reader by taking this too far or making your POV character appear TOO naive or clueless.

  30. Hi Karen. LOL - that is one of my 'do as I say not as I do' kind of teaching points. I'm really bad about not figuring out my themes so I often don't do a good job of this in my own writing. But I love it when I discover it in books I read.

    Hi Jackie - thanks for the welcome and glad you enjoyed the post.

  31. Very interesting subject, Winnie! Thanks for sharing your expertise in Seekerville today!

    Like Mary, I THINK I use subtext subconsciously. I get so immersed in my scenes and characters that it's hard telling what's going to come out of their mouths or be suggested by their body language. They tend to take over and do their own thing.

    However, if I do realize I've used subtext, the challenge is to NOT deliberately interpret it for the reader if I'm afraid she won't get it. That's when a beta reader comes in handy (enter hubby, the guinea pig).

  32. Hi Winnie,

    thanks for the post, I believe I caught all the hidden meaning...

    I use subtext sometimes. But there are those moments few and far between... (okay maybe a touch more often than thatI just want to put in an author's omnipotent comment, hit the reader right over the head so I may sure they get it.

    Of course then my editor says I have to go take it out.

    Oh well.

  33. Cindy - LOL, glad I helped you give it a name. And thanks for the nice words on my posts!

    Hi Sherri! Thanks for stopping in this morning.

  34. Hi, Winnie! I love this post - just what I needed to read as I'm going through some major revisions on my WIP.

    It seems like subtext is one of those things that forces you to know your characters and story very well - and when you know them so well, the subtext often appears in the scene without the author making a conscious decision to do it.

    Thanks for coming by!

  35. Hi Emily - sounds like you have a good handle on the value of subtext!

    Good morning Debby. Think I'll just slide this plate of bland waffles off to the side and sneak a piece of that coffee cake...

  36. Hi Winnie! Thanks so much for this helpful post that I'm adding to my "Keeper Files"--especially like the examples you gave about word choices (same scene conveying totally different feelings for the reader). It's amazing how word choice paints various pictures--Wow.

    Hoping there's some of Debby Giusti's yummy coffee cake left--didn't have time to bake any peach goodies today, LOL.
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  37. Winnie,

    Welcome back to Seekerville! Excellent post, and something I've been trying to work on since taking a course with Brandilyn Collins.

    Your descriptions and examples have helped my pea brain understand quite a bit more today. Thanks!

    Would love to win your book to watch the master at work. :)

    may at maythek9spy dot com

  38. Hi Winnie! Great to see you here today. Fabulous post.
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  39. Loved this post, Winnie. Some great examples of how we can enrich our stories!

    Please enter me for a chance to win your book. The cover and the premise are wonderful!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  40. Always a treat to have you in Seekerville, Winnie. You are such an excellent teacher (and writer).

    he QUEEN of subtext,IMHO, is Jane Austen.

  41. Hi Connie - I love examples too so I always try to provide a few. Glad you found it helpful.

    Cheryl - you might not have thought about it but you were doing it organically. And thanks for the kind words

  42. DebH - thanks and glad you enjoyed the post. I'll bet, when you review your work, you'll see examples of subtext you layered in nturally. But you can always take your writing to the next level by looking for opportunites to do it thoughtfully and deliberately.

    Hi Piper - glad the post spoke to you and thanks for the kind words.

  43. Jeanne T - how fun! Revisions are my favorite part of writing. Getting the first draft down is a struggle, but once that's done I can go back in and tweek and layer and really shape it into the story I want it to be!

    Hi Marianne - thanks for stopping by and of course yiur name is in the hat for the drawing.

  44. Thanks for the warm welcome Janet - I love visiting here!

    Kav - glad to be of service :)
    And see my response to Vince for an explanation of her name.

  45. I've seen this in books, just never known the term for it. Thanks for the info! Good examples!


  46. Winnie, I am such a fan. I am definitely in for the drawing.

    I have been thinking a lot about subtext lately. I don't always do the job I should with it. Thanks for the post.

    Peace, Julie

  47. Sandra - Thanks for the welcome and glad you enjoyed the post.

    Mary - I agree. We sometimes use subtext organically and that is gold to a writer. But using it deliberately and thoughtfully can add so many wonderful nuances to the story.

  48. Elaine - thst's a wonderful method, especially for authors of Christian fiction and I've used it often.

    Donna - Cool! Don't yoiu love it when that happens! And you are absolutely entered in the drawing.

  49. Mary - I've read your books and you absolutely do use subtext and you use it very well.

    And subtext that is MISUNDERSTOOD by one of your characters is a FABULOUS way to engage a reader and keep them turning the pages to find out when he/she will actually 'get it'.

  50. Myra - very good point. The whole idea of using subtext is to let the reader have the opportunity to figure some things out for themselves and in so doing feel that rush of satisfaction in having done so. And for those who don't 'get it', they can still enjoy the story as it plays out on the surface.

    One of my greatest joys in re-reading a 'keeper' is picking up on those little tidbits and pieces of subtext that I missed the first time around.

  51. I really liked this post. I LOVE subtext. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.
    I friend of mine has a regency where the POV character walks in on her sister and a man.
    She goes off on a lecture and then as she leaves the room says "and button up your dress."
    And yes, Winnie, I love to use it and read it. Read it because it makes me feel smart and I love that moment when I "get it."
    Use it because it gives depth and I hadn't thought about small details that support the theme.
    That is GREAT stuff and the word choice example was really helpful.
    Thank you!

  52. Hey Winnie, great post!

    Like Mary and Myra, I use subtext whether I try to or not and usually it goes over well. But sometimes I have one critter or beta reader who won't 'get it'.

    When I try to correct it though, it loses its sting.

    How do you handle that?

  53. Tina - LOL, tell us how you REALLY feel. But I hear you, and I often write this way in my first drafts just to get it all down on paper. That's why I love making those revision passes so much - it's where the fun begins :)

  54. Jan - glad you enjoyed the post! And what a wonderful way to look at it. I wish it came nturally to me, but most of the time I have to work at it.

    PattiJo - oh wow! I'm honored to have something of mine in your keeper file. And so glad you found the post helpful

  55. Hi May - Isn't Brandily a fabulous teacher. And glad my post was helpful to you. Your name is in the hat for the drawing along with everyone else!

    AmyC - thanks for the warm welcome and kind words!

  56. Sue - Glad yu enjoyed the post and I've got your name in the hat!

    Hi Tina - thanks for the warm welcome and I agree, Jane Austim was a MASTER of the art

  57. Real people rarely say what they mean.

    Enter me for the book. Sounds like a wonderful read.

  58. May I digress a bit to say that the cover of The Hand-Me-Down-Family was one of my all-time favorites? Bluebonnets, a white frame house in the country ... ahhh.

    No, that has nothing to do with today's post except that Winnie wrote both.

    Okay, so to the subject of subtext. I particularly enjoy when a writer weaves in a repeated element so at the end of the story I lean back, realize the connections, and think, "Ohhh ... that was well done!" It's even more fun if, when I finish the book, I realize there's a different way of thinking of the book's title rather than just the way I thought of it in the beginning.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!

    Nancy C

  59. Great Post, Winnie! Love the examples. Think I'm going to apply some subtexting to my WIP. :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  60. I'm going to have to go through each scene now and add subtexting. Thanks for showing us several different ways to execute it. Even before I knew what it was, I would read my favorite authors and wonder how they made me feel things I didn't see outright in the story. A subtle word here, a mysterious action there. It all comes together.

    Excellent post, Winnie! Thanks!

  61. Hi Courtney, and you're very welcome!

    Julie- so good to hear from you! And I'll bet you layerr in subtext with a defter hand than you believe!

  62. I love me some Winnie Griggs, 24/7!!!!

    Winnie, thank you for being here again. I admire your work so much and love how you can say so much with so few words. That is truly an "art" in your hands.

    Hey, although I'm still being good I did make Snickerdoodles for the kids because it was cool and nice here today... And there are MEN ON MY ROOF... No sign of a fiddle yet, though.

    So Snickerdoodles, fresh coffee and Cokes... Because it's the Real Thing.


  63. Nancy - so you kinda like subtext do you? That was a fun example you gave - thanks for adding to the discussion!

    Anita Mae - Hi! To answer your question, you have to trust your own voice enough to know when something needs to go and something needs to stand. Not eveyone will 'get' the subtext in our writing, but if you look it over honestly and feel it says what it needs to, let it stand. But make certain you are looking at it subjectively :)

  64. Hi Bridget, thanks for stopping in and I have your name in the hopper!

    Nancy C - Oh wow, thanks soooo much for the nice words abut my earlier book. And what you've described here is the work of a real master at the craft, someone who has elevated their work to something really special. I love it when I find an author like that as well.

  65. Thanks for the great post and for the giveaway! Love your books and would love to win this one!

  66. Janet - hello! Glad you enjoyed the post and good luck on that subtexting - never saw it used as a verb before :)

    Natalie - you're quite welcome. And yes, one of the key prposes of subtext is to provide the subtle nuances that add to our readers' enjoyment of the story in ways they aren't even fully aware of.

  67. Ruth!!! A trip to Seekerville wouldn't be complete with out a chance to see you! And thanks for the kind words (trying not to blush)

    Glad you gave in and made the snickerdoodles - love them!

  68. Thanks for the great examples and the educational post, Winnie! I'll be adding some subtext to my WIP this weekend. But first, I'll be printing this post for the Seekerville notebook. Thanks!

  69. Sally, thanks for the kind words about my books - your name is in the hat!

    Jill - glad you found some takeaways in the post and I'm honored to be included in your notebook!

  70. What a wonderful post Winnie. I loved it. I love it when an author includes subtext.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  71. HI Winnie,
    When your name is on the front, I find the book just gravitates into my shopping cart! Isn't that amazing?(wink)Looking forward to reading your book.

    Hey, Seekerville! Just checking in from the Write-to-Publish conference this week. Today was day one and my exhaustion is easily trumped by my enthusiasm! The workshops today were terrific and I met a bunch of great people. Tomorrow I pitch magazine ideas. Whoohoo. Gonna be fun!

  72. Hi CindyW - thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post.

    Lyndee - oh WOW! What a totally sweet thing for you to say - made my day! And the conference you're attending sounds great. I love witers conferences and try to attend several each year.

  73. Well, Winnie, maybe we'll meet in Atlanta or Indy if you're going to either. We first met at RWA NYC and at the time I complimented you on one of your books that I'd just finished reading and you looked gob-smacked! You're not only a lovely writer, but you're humble, too.

  74. Lyndee - I'll be at both conferences and it would be LOVELY to see you! And now you're just rying to make me blush....

  75. I love the complexity of subtext. But it takes practice and patience to make certain your turn of words reflects what you're trying not to say.


    What a pretzel. And I love tying my characters in knots. So much fun : )

    Thanks for sharing, Winnie!

  76. Hi Audra. Pretzels indeed! Isn't it fun to torture our characters a bit :)

    And you're quite welcome!

  77. I imagine it takes a great deal of writing skill to write sub-textually.

  78. Winnie, I'm sorry I missed your post yesterday! What helpful info! Thanks for sharing!

  79. Vince, I love that you called this type thing catnip. So true! :)

  80. Oh, EXCELLENT post, Winnie!! Sorry I missed it yesterday, but I have to admit, it was WELL worth the wait!!

    I have NEVER really been clear on subtext before (it' right up there with deep POV and moral premise in my mind ... both a bit foggy), but you certainly helped to diminish the fog today, so THANK YOU!!


  81. I would love to win,Enter me! Thanks for this awesome giveaway and God Bless!
    Sarah Richmond
    Congratulations on your book!!!

  82. Hi Winnie!! Loved your posts. Thank you for your great advice and example. It's very helpful. Congratulations on your new book. Please enter me in the giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

  83. This site is better than a writing course! Every day, I find something new to think about and/or improve in my own writing. Thank you, Winnie.
    I just finished reading the book I won from Jan Drexler - The Prodigal Son Returns (thank you, Jan! Loved the book! A proper note of appreciation will land in your mailbox sometime soon.) In her book, the heroine prepares a perfect pie shell. Jan uses the emptiness of that perfect pie shell to reveal just how empty her heroine's life is - in spite of her efforts to do everything according to the teachings of her church. It was a perfect example of visual subtext. Loved it!
    And, I would love a copy of your new book, if I should be so lucky. It was previewed in Jan's book and I can't wait to read it.

  84. Hi Mary. Subtext, like most other aspects of writing craft, can be learned through studying othr writers's work and practice.

    Missy - no worries and thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment today.

  85. Hi Julie! And thanks so much for the kind words. We all approach topics differently - I'm so glad my notes "clicked" with you!

    Sarah, thanks for stopping by and of course you're entered.

  86. Barbara - hello. Glad you found the post helpful, and we have yu entered!

    Leona, you're very welcome. And ooooooh, I love that pie shell example!

  87. Enjoyed reading the comments. The book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBR list.