As writers, we are always working to make our stories the best they can be. One of the more advanced techniques that can help you do this is by giving an underlying meaning in a scene—otherwise known as subtext.
In a story, subtext can be implied by the surface action and dialogue.
When you think about the books and stories that you most enjoyed reading, chances are that story’s scenes were woven with something deeper than what appeared on the surface.
Today I’d like to teach you seven simple techniques for using subtext in your story, which I’ll also teach with some subtext examples.
Do you remember how you felt while reading The Da Vince Code or Gone Girl? The sweaty palms, the pleasant shiver, the jaw-clenching tension? Remember how those well-drawn elements of suspense held you in thrall, feathering along your skin, raising goosebumps?
Suspense fiction comes in a variety of flavors, all delicious, and if you have a yen for building suspense in your writing and learning how to create the same kind of reading experience for your own audience, this is the place for you.
In a special series of articles, I’ll be your guide as we dig deep into the elements of suspense that grab readers and don’t let go. These elements apply, regardless of the publishing route you choose for getting your stories out to your suspense readers.
Here, we will learn how you can craft suspense in your own books, starting now.
Atmosphere matters. You might be someone who will pay a premium to eat at a restaurant with a certain ambience or buy a house in a setting that supports a particular feeling. But how do you use atmosphere in your book?
In like manner, your reader won’t remember every word you wrote, but if you infuse the story with atmosphere, they will remember the way it made them feel.
But how can you weave atmosphere into your story without making it feel forced? How can your story’s atmosphere evoke an emotional response and leave a lasting impression on your readers? How can you leverage this literary technique to enhance that feeling?
A strong sense of atmosphere figures into the works of William Shakespeare. Edgar Allan Poe mastered atmosphere in poems like The Raven and his haunting tales of suspense. J.K. Rowling managed it well in the Harry Potter series.
And you can learn it too.
There are many literary devices and elements of fiction a writer uses to impact the atmosphere of a literary work, including figurative language, word choice, similes, and personification. In this post, we’ll examine how point of view and genre considerations help to set the mood and establish atmosphere.
Do you love a good murder mystery or thriller? Do you dream of creating a captivating and suspenseful book that will pull readers to the end and leave them tingling? Then you need to master foreshadowing.
If you answered yes, you probably realize that such a thing is no easy task. More than most any other genre, mystery novels, thrillers, and suspense stories invite the reader to actively participate in plot developments, using certain cues to predict outcomes.
That can be tough to accomplish.
The path to a finished product is full of pitfalls, but you can learn techniques to help carry you safely over them and complete a thrilling story you can be proud of.