Here I am back blogging. It’s been…wow, a while. I’ve started blogs and put them aside to finish ‘later,’ when I wasn’t distracted by sunshine or snow or Salukis or pretty much anything! Let’s see if I can do better. Way back, when I first started taking my writing seriously, a best selling author explained how to engage readers by using ‘theme’ in our books. Research defines theme as a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work, which may be stated directly or indirectly. I’ve noticed this while reading, all too often being bludgeoned by the theme of a book. Until I want to say “Okay, I get it, prom dresses are important.” I’m doubt we’d find that sort of theme in a literary work. But I don’t write Literary. I write Romance, in many varied forms. Since I write romance, generally not considered literary work, theme becomes trope, which is an overused theme or device: Hidden Baby, Rich Man and Gorgeous Poor Girl, Muscled Military Man…you know what I mean. And you know generally by reading the title, or glancing at the cover, what you’ll find in that book. Which makes for quick decisions for readers, and some very popular books. Within these tropes, or within popular sub-genres, we find on occasion subtle and often fascinating sub-plot points. Sometimes these lead to greater story or character depth but often they become a sly way for the author to interject…subtext. a hidden or less obvious meaning Subtext or undertone is any content of a creative work which is not announced explicitly by the characters or author, but is implicit or becomes something understood by the observer of the work as the production unfolds. I’ve found great examples in Anne Bishop’s “Others” series. Who wouldn’t want to be able to ‘send in the big guns’ when someone blatantly destroys the environment? Science Fiction and Space Opera are loaded with subtext, too much of which speaks to ‘the more things change the more they are the same.’ Sure we can go to the stars but that doesn’t mean we’ll be better people once we get there. As with subliminal messages (a certain tie, or hat, or color) subtext can shape our future. Gene Roddenberry was a master of subtext, with an implied promise of “We CAN be better.” It seems it will be up to us which path we choose to take.
It’s All About the Subtext #MFRWAuthor
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