Subtext. Subtext is not just witty dialogue – it is representative of the way humans communicate. While part of subtext is up to the actor’s delivery of tone, body language and innuendo, if a writer sets the stage properly subtext becomes evident in the words spoken. One way is to set scenes of contrasting imagery: a beautiful wedding with the groom sweating or looking at his watch – or the bridesmaid. The more we get to know the characters the more we can read between the lines. Does your character in denial change the subject or walk away when they don’t want to confront the truth? Staging and what details of the room, characters notice (clocks, pictures, an open window) or making eye contact with people in the room, also lend to their true feelings or the meaning behind the words they choose. Think of the game children play where they cross fingers behind their back when speaking something other than the truth – every time little Billy does this when Mom asks if he washed his hands or did his chores, he tells her one thing when the truth is another – he does this so much that he becomes quite adept at reading her face to know how much he can get away with. Subtext is lying… Sometimes the lies and little and white sometimes massive… Putting on the happy mask when you’d rather chew glass than be in the company of the person you’re smiling at. Swallowing that meal because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Telling someone it’s not you, it’s me. Subtext is politics, charm and showmanship. Subtext is depression or addiction which your characters are in denial about. Suppressed feelings strain conversation but sooner or later they must come to a head. Revealing the truth to the characters, or making them face it – isn’t supposed to be comfortable, but it is rarely something that the audience isn’t already aware of, feed your audience these clues. Subtext is being a lemming until you get to the edge of the cliff and face the fact that you need to think for yourself. Subtext is also hearing what you want to hear rather than facing what is actually being said. May all of your conversations today be true and meaningful.