How to write fiction

In a yellow submarine: the text and subtext in narrative

The ballistic missile submarine USS
The ballistic missile submarine USS by U.S. Department of Defense is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

I know. This entry’s title makes no sense… Like so many things in this blog. Do you remember? This blog is about me nonsensing… and making mistakes. So I should just go and justify what the yellow submarine has to do with something like subtext. I promise to try and make it different to Robert McKee’s example. Which is great but any more quotes and I think I’ll infringe copyright or someone will come to notice I have no permission to quote him (yet, I’m sure it should count as friendly marketing). Fortunately, paraphrasing pays no rights… I think. And by the time, you should feel so sick of my half hearted mention of the topics in the book, that you must have already bought it (sorry but mine was a gift, I’m a lucky girl).

Stage 1:

A couple of friends (fill in with the gender of your choice please) walks the night street. Most lights are out of order. It starts to rain. Suddenly one of the lights lots and shined upon the couple. The rain has turned into snow. And I’m changing the blue and green eyes of my example in Spanish for something more vague. Blue jeans takes the hand of black jeans and holds them by the waist. Black jeans caress the other’s face whilst locking eyes with a dreamy face. Blue jeans confessed they’re in love….

Are you kidding? This is a B Chinese series[1]. A pile of fresh shi…take mushroom. Hold your horrrses[2]. Let’s see a slightly different stage.

Stage 1 b:

Two friends. Blue jeans and black jeans. At the back of the classroom. The teacher sports his gray hair in a slick matched to suit and tie. He explains the process of transculturation during the Spaniard conquest; by the painting of altarpieces and carved gildings done by indigenous hands…
Both friends won’t look at each other. Blue jeans opens a notebook by the last page and gets closer to black jeans, who is drabbling on a napkin.

Blue jeans pinches black jeans’ shoulder with the pencil. Black jeans doesn’t notice. Blue jeans pushes the notebook over the napkin and draws a tic tac toe grid. Black jeans glances a thunder but still takes a corner case with an X. They play like this more than once without the teacher noticing. They dare each other until blue jeans wins four out of six. Blue jeans takes off the eyes from the paper. Black jeans does too. They smile to each other and blue jeans blushes.

A little, just a sprinkle better.

Why would it be important the flirting tension between those two from friends to lovers?


In the first stage, there’s nothing. No subtext. Thus, it is ridiculous. Totally easy to understand but lacking in substance. And still my example is weak to explain it. Let’s try a pregnant woman in the delivery room.

Theoretical husband #1. He is in a business trip but as soon as he gets out of job, he gets together with the other company’s guys. As soon as he gets the good news through the phone; he cries happily and invites everybody a pint.

Theoretical husband #1B. The husband is ready to enter the delivery room but he gets out to answer a very important call and stays out of the delivery room doing business or whatever the call is about.

Who does love his wife? The absent celebrating one or the present but indifferent making phone calls one?

This is subtext. Situation says more than a thousand words. It seems trivial but it makes the difference between bad jobs and good jobs. Perhaps not masterpieces but very passable ones. An underground emotional loaded situation to be told through its development has subtext.

Puff, anything… you shall leave a comment. I’ve sweat a lot and that tells me I did understand half of what I’ve said. In case of doubt, leave a message I won’t answer… Erase that. I’m half asleep and can’t be exactly polite. Of course I’ll at least mark your comment with a like. If by chance this was helpful, glance at us with a smile and a like.

Pasto kalo.

[1] Chinese series ain’t bad cause they’re Chinese but because they tend to be too long and exhaust plot long before they end so don’t misunderstand

[2] Try it for the evil communist accent of the 1980’s decade.

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