Exercise and writing to show emotions using subtext.
|Lesson Six Exercise - Building Subtext make a list of three different situations where subtext in a dialogue would enhance the tension in a scene and advance the plot.|
Next to each item, list two different suggestions for overlaying dialogue that would communicate the “unsaid” meanings.
He’s going to get fired
1. Given pointers on how to bring more clients in.
2. What are you doing to make sure your girlfriend passes the Bar?
He’s being evicted
1. Who’s going to pay for all this crap?
2. When did mom change her phone number?
I’m terrified to go.
1. This project is taking longer than I thought it would.
2. I don’t feel well.
Lesson Six Story Assignment Using the concepts covered in this lesson and one of the situations you developed in your Building Subtext Exercise, write a short scene (500 to 750 words) in which you reveal your character’s true emotions and motivations through a dialogue subtext. Use the characters' actions and speech patterns to identify each speaker.
“Captain, she hasn't logged any transporter time since the accident.”
“Has the doctor cleared her for transporter related duties?”
“Have you run a Level Five diagnostic?”
“Every duty shift since the accident.”
“Has she filed a variance request?”
“What's involved in this mission?”
“Collecting plant and mineral samples.”
“Her specialty is?”
“Geology and botany.”
“Well, it’s your assignment. Use the people you need.”
“Thank you.” The Commander tapped his comm badge to signal the crewman.
“Report to the Ready Room.”
“Just a second.” He could hear light tapping and the whir of the computer station.
“What are you doing that needs a computer scan?”
“I’m – ah – I’minSickBay.”
He slapped his comm badge breaking off communication with his recalcitrant crewman, his gentle intonations replaced with vaguely veiled irritation, “Chakotay to Doctor. How much longer will you need Sky?”
“She’s not here.”
“When did she leave?”
“Thank you, Dr. Coverup.” He squared his shoulders and drew in a slow deep breath, “Computer, locate Sky.”
The metallic recording informed, “She’s in her quarters.”
Military precision took over. Each step could be measured at a 24 inch gait, each breath controlled to support 72 heartbeats per minute, eyes straight ahead, ignoring all lesser ranks along the way.
“Computer, security override Chakotay Pi Alpha 1.”
The half avian half human creature was mounted on her perch, head bowed, wings tucked in close, grasping the trunk of the structure. “Hello, Commander.”
“You do not disobey my direct orders. Report to the Ready Room to be briefed with the rest of away team.”
“I can’t do that.”
“I – I – I just can’t.”
“You can do better than that.”
“I don’t feel well. Something’s wrong.”
“You’ve been cleared for away missions. Try again.”
“How can that be?”
“The doctor ran a full diagnostic. You are in perfect health. We need you on this away mission. Let’s move it.”
“What’s the other option?”
“There is no other option. You report for duty or you report to the brig.”
“For how long?”
“How much time in the brig?”
He took a long stroll around the perch noting the new color, ice blue and silver gray. “Dismount.”
She unclenched her fingers to push off the trunk, then, rose in slow deliberate motion elongating her frame to her full six foot stature bringing her stormy eyes to the same level as his, demanding. “Security to my quarters.”
“Belay that order. Crewman, you don’t have to do this. It will be an easy mission. Just transport to the surface, collect samples, transport back.”
“Computer. Security … to …. my …. Quarters.”
“Crewman, you’re playing a game you can’t win.”
Her feathers told their own tale as they danced between ice blue and silver. “C-c-c-computer. Security t-t-t- to m-m-m-my q-q-q-q-quarters.”
“The brig is nothing like quarantine. You can’t deal with that other voice in your head for very long. In the brig, she will go crazy. This away mission will seem like a vacation in comparison.”
“Enter! I need an escort to the brig.”
[story w.c.: 514]