Text and Subtext in Dialogue

I studied theatre. All we have in theatre is words on a page, it is up to the actors and directors to figure out what the hell the characters are actually saying.

Shakespeare didn’t deal a lot in subtext. The characters say exactly what they mean unless it’s made explicitly clear to the audience that the character is lying or something. More modern works have a ton of subtext. It’s a great tool for writers and very fun.

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Dialogue

I used to hate dialogue. I didn’t know how to make it work, I didn’t know what to do with it. After a while, I learned to love it. In fact, huge chunks of my work are very dialogue heavy.

There are a few things in fantasy as well that make dialogue a little trickier.

So what gives?

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