Charles Baxter 's The Art Of Subtext

848 Words Nov 11th, 2014 4 Pages
A story is only as good as the way it is told. The way a writer uses his or her words to say something is just as important as what they don’t say. Charles Baxter, author of plethora of books and university teacher, writes a craft book that goes deeper than the surface of writing and deeper than the words written down. In Charles Baxter’s The Art of Subtext, he discusses how authors can use the words they do write just as much to express what they don’t write.
The first chapter, “The Art of Staging” claims “Staging in fiction involves putting characters in specific strategic positions in the scene so that some unvoiced nuance is revealed.” (Baxter 13) This includes the character’s standing positions, their proximity to each other, specific gestures and facial expressions, which give the reader more insight to the scene and the characters without explicitly saying so. This goes hand in hand with the setting of the atmosphere where atmosphere sets the dominant tone or the mood of a story. The atmosphere can be in reference to the setting or the characters themselves. Here, the reader is to read between the lines. The key to this is using a lot of detail which is crucial to providing the information.
This is something important that I need to incorporate in my own writing. More detail in my writing concerning the unspoken things will allow the reader to see the evolution of the narrator’s state of mind. A twitch of an eye or how close my antagonist stands to his or her…
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