1. JSLCampbell
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    JSLCampbell Member

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    Is there a specific name for this?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by JSLCampbell, Oct 21, 2011.

    Is there a name for what you, the writer, intend the reader to learn about the scene from the written text (even if the text isn't saying it?)

    So for example:

    "Fernando was sweating heavily and his face was red." (context, in a desert.)

    What I would intend the reader to learn just from that sentence is that Fernando is hot. Of course, whether they get there is another matter. But is there a term that describes what I'm intending the reader to learn - that he's hot? As opposed to the text - that he's red and sweaty?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first term that comes to my mind is "subtext", but I think that subtext refers to larger messages, like the message behind an entire work, rather than the message behind a single sentence. I thought I'd mention it, though.
     
  3. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think your showing.

    Instead of telling the reader that Fernando is hot, you are showing us instead. We can see Fernando walking through this desert and that its hot and hes probably exhausted. It gives the reader a more vivid image of the character.

    But unless I am mistaken, what you are talking about is Showing.
     
  4. JSLCampbell
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    JSLCampbell Member

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    ,,,,
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say that it was indirect rather than direct. I wouldn't say that it was showing rather than telling because both processes are relational, and relational processes are strongly associated with telling. There would be a better case for showing if you said "Sweat poured down Fernando's red face." That's a material process, which is much more associated with showing. Of course, there's a lot of confusion about what "showing" and "telling" are all about anyway.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'showing' vs 'telling'

    imagery
     
  7. Backbiter
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    Backbiter Contributing Member

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    I do agree with the ones here saying that what you're doing is showing, not telling, (which mammamaia kindly tells us is, basically, imagery) although digitig makes a good point with their comment of indirect as opposed to direct. While I know this probably isn't the right way to go about this, I feel as though both answers are correct, somewhat.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also known as 'Inference'. The writer uses a veiled subtext to send a message which the reader is supposed to infer. You have it with speaking as well. Sometimes we infer wrongly, though, e.g. when cultural or background knowledge is absent. In your example,
    "Fernando was sweating heavily and his face was red."
    if he has just opened the bedroom door and a woman's voice was heard behind him, the reader might think he'd just been having sex, if they'd skipped the part where his new neighbour comes to help him move the wardrobe she has just sold him.
     
  9. katek
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    katek Member

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    oes anybody know if "subtext" is a correct term on a sentence by sentence basis?


    In my opinion, it certainly is the correct term.
     

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