Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Creating Subtext – Elizabeth Lyon

Elizabeth Lyon

Author and Editor, Elizabeth Lyon who coined the term ‘Riff writing’ advocates doing this type of exercise in order to get in touch with your voice and style.  She says by riffing like musicians, you can go deep and truly create an engaging and emotive scene.  

Riffing is a method for leaping outside of barriers, proper language, and self-censorship to uncover your most unique writing. How? Choose one part of a scene like a description of a character, then riff to open it up and expand a distinctive portrayal of that character. Take what you have written and rewrite it in this riff style, then read your before and after. Listen to the fabulous example Elizabeth shares, from Barbara Kingsolver on YouTube.

On Creating Subtext, in this video Elizabeth reads an example of sexual subtext from one of author Robert Dugoni’s books
Questions you should ask yourself when rewriting; what is the subtext in your scenes? Remember, Subtext adds tension.

In case you didn’t know, YouTube is a good place to find writing resources from experienced authors. Thanks to all of you who post and share your expertise with the rest of us.
For a list of Elizabeth’s books including The Sell Your Novel Took Kit: Everything You Need to Know About Queries, Synopses, Marketing, and Breaking In
and more, click here. 🙂

One comment on “Creating Subtext – Elizabeth Lyon

  1. Stephen Hayes
    February 16, 2013

    Riff writing? I like the concept.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on February 15, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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