How to Write Emotional Scenes (Without Making Them Cringey)

Learning how to write emotional scenes is one of the single most important feats any writer must rise to. We want fiction to make us feel something. I’m not talking just a little twinge of satisfaction here or there. I’m talking full-on emotional experiences: tears, laughter, cheers, even rage on occasion.

Scenes in which characters feel these powerful emotions should usually inspire the same feelings from readers. When done well, these powerhouse scenes become the cornerstones of the entire story. They are the moments audiences are likely to remember long after they may have forgotten beautiful prose or the specifics of the plot.

However, there are emotions you don’t want readers to feel. You don’t want them feeling… icky. Or awkward. When they start reading what should be your story’s most powerful emotional moments, you don’t want them to cringe in response.

You know what I’m talking about. These emotional missteps happen in scenes that are obviously intended to make you feel a certain way about the characters and their actions, but you… don’t.

We’ve all read or watched:

  • The proclamation of love, complete with singing violins, that was supposed to turn us into sighing mush-puddles, but instead had us wringing out our T-shirts to try to escape the soppiness.
  • The religious conversion scene that was intended to offer us the feeling of redemptive catharsis, but instead had us stonily resenting the thinly disguised sermon.
  • The backstory reveal that was designed to get us sniffling when the emotionally-repressed protagonist put it all out there and shared a vulnerable secret, but instead had us responding with skepticism and irritation because his quick turnabout made the confession feel phony.

And the list goes on.

In a recent email, reader Jessica commented to me about how, when deeply emotional scenes are executed poorly, the audience “just wants to run and hide.” She goes on:

And yet, some storytellers can pull this off, and not only don’t you want to cringe, it’s your favorite part of the story. So I was wondering if you had any tips around the difference between achieving that heart-melting thrill versus falling into the cringe, cover your eyes for a moment kind of scene.

I completely relate to the sheer difficulty of creating emotional scenes that don’t feel cringey. When I first started writing, these scenes were my least favorite to write. I cringed my own way through all of them. I had to do a lot of soul-searching and work to figure out how to write emotional scenes. What I’ve learned over the many years since is that the single most important key to writing emotional scenes that truly pull their weight is verisimilitude.

Basically: keep it real. Be vulnerable, be honest—and then learn a few tricks to make sure you’re conveying that personal vulnerability and honesty in a way that really comes across on the page.

Today, I want to dig into this a little deeper.

The Main Two Reasons Emotional Scenes Can Come Off as “Cringey”

If you look at our short list of “cringey” emotional scenes, above, you’ll notice all of them could just as easily be found in a list of anyone’s favorite scenes. Love scenes, redemption scenes, personal revelation scenes. That’s the stuff of great fiction. In many types of stories, these scenes are the exact reason we’re investing ourselves in them. These scenes are the salt that brings out the story’s flavor.

So where do authors go wrong? Why can two different authors take the same sort of scene, with one of them producing something deeply moving, while the other just makes audiences want to throw up?

To my mind, there are two main reasons why emotional scenes go off the rails. Both have to do, simply, with bad writing.

1. The Writing Is “On the Nose”

The first reason is simply that the emotion in the scene is being portrayed in a way that is too straightforward and “on the nose.” Put simply, this means the author has eliminated all subtext and nuance by stating the facts of the scene too plainly. Not only does this rob realism, but it can also make readers feel as if the author is trying to force them to feel a certain way.

Poorly done conversion scenes are great example of this. Usually, they are very heavy on words (sermons, confessions, prayers, etc.) that are intended to convert not just the characters but the readers. The problem is that if readers remain unconvinced for their own sakes, they are likely to feel unconvinced on the character’s behalf as well. When the character then rises up a changed person, we cringe… because, in fact, we aren’t feeling it.

2. The Writing Is Cliched

Quite often, the reason an emotional scene is on the nose in the first place is because the author has failed to look past the obvious choices for the scene. We might write that profession of love as a scene out in the rain because… where else would a dramatic proclamation take place? Since we ourselves have seen a hundred such scenes, we can take the details for granted and assume they will carry the emotional weight of the story all by themselves. However, because readers are so familiar with this type of scene, they are that much less likely to resonate with its emotionalism.

This isn’t to say familiar scenes are always the wrong choice, but you must realize you’re walking familiar ground and work that much harder to bring the emotion to life in a way that is both unique and authentic to your story and your characters.

How to Write Emotional Scenes: 6 Key Ingredients

Bottom line: readers cringe when they know the author is trying to make them feel a certain way… and failing. It’s like watching a stand-up comedian who is missing the mark so badly that you’re embarrassed. Cringe.

All we have to do to write emotionally successful scenes is engineer them so readers can successfully access the intended emotions. Usually, you will want readers to share your POV character’s emotions. Other times, you may want them to feel a certain way about the character (as, for example, when the character has done something heinous).

Regardless, your starting point is getting clear about what you want readers to feel. From there, you can use the following six ingredients to mix up a perfect recipe of emotionally powerful scenes.

1. Honesty

The first step is to get super honest with yourself. Don’t phone it in… ever actually, but especially in scenes meant to be the emotional cornerstones of your entire story.

If your characters are out there in the rain about to share an epic kiss, don’t try to just paste the requisite emotions on top. Dig deep and be honest. What would you be feeling in a scene like this?

Granted, you may be a totally different personality from your characters, but there are basic human reactions that will give you a starting point. For instance, might you feel, you know, soaked? And cold? Might you be shivering too hard to enjoy the moment? Maybe a more romantic beat could arise from the characters realizing this and taking care of each other by going inside to get warm first?

2. Vulnerability

Not every emotion we write in our fiction will be grounded in our own personal experiences and vulnerabilities. But the more vulnerable you can get in writing your story’s most emotional scenes, the more powerful they will inevitably be.

For instance, sometimes this means tapping into your own feelings of uncertainty and courage in making a difficult confession to someone else. But it might also mean nothing more than being vulnerable enough to write this scene as honestly as you can.

Often, cringey scenes result when writers want to create a certain type of scene but aren’t willing to really go there. If you need your characters to be vulnerable with each other, then you need to be vulnerable with readers. Face your own embarrassment or insecurity and leave it all out there on the page. Readers can almost always tell when you’re cutting corners.

3. Originality

Not every emotional scene needs to be one readers have never before experienced. In fact, the universal scenes talked about above are staples of good fiction, not least because they are staples in life.

For example, redemption might look different for each us, but we’ve all experienced it, to one degree or another. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel by avoiding common emotions and trying to come up with an emotional experience no one has ever encountered before. But do look for ways in which you can put a new spin on a familiar type of scene. Rain at a funeral is classic symbolism for a reason, but it won’t jar readers into new emotional terrain.

Although the show has its problems, I thought the opening scene of Yellowstone, [SPOILER] in which protagonist John Dutton has to put down a horse injured in an auto accident [/SPOILER] was one of the best openings I’ve seen in a long time. Why? Because it surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it. It wasn’t something I’d ever seen used like that before. It was emotionally effective in large part because it was fresh.

The opening scene of Yellowstone is an emotional scene thanks to its brutal originality. (Yellowstone (2018-), Paramount Network.)

4. Subtext

Story subtext is the secret sauce. What you don’t say—what you leave between the lines—has the power to be some of the most emotionally powerful stuff in your entire story. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can never say it, but at the very least wait. Wait until readers have earned it. Wait until they’re panting for it. The wait, in itself, can give them a reason to care.

If you pop your redemption scene into the first chapter, readers will believe in it far less than if they’ve suffered through consequential chapter after consequential chapter with your characters. A careful use of subtext will aid you in building your readers‘ emotions, so that when you reach your most emotionally important scenes, they are ready to feel their full impact.

5. Context

Of course, where there is subtext, there must also be context. If subtext is what isn’t said, context is what is said. You must use the context to build up to these important scenes.

  • Characters who eventually profess dramatic love to one another must first fall in love—gradually and realistically.
  • Characters who seek redemption must first work through their anger, guilt, and sorrow.
  • Characters who tell their secrets to other characters must first be given reasons to learn to trust those other characters and to desire their trust in return.

Cringey scenes are often the result of poor setup. The audience must desperately want (or not want, as the case may be) the big scenes. The build-up is half the fun. You, as the author, must earn the right to make your readers feel the big emotions.

6. Dramatization (Showing vs. Telling)

When it comes time to write your big emotional scenes, you will almost always want to rely more on dramatization than summation—on showing more than telling. This is, in fact, why we like proclamations of love in the rain. They show us what the characters are feeling, instead calmly telling us the characters are about to be happily ever after.

One of my favorite illustrations of this is from the classic sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show. I remember reading an interview with showrunner Carl Reiner, who commented that the writers never let the leading couple, Rob and Laura (played by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore), speak the words “I love you” to each other. Instead, the writers looked for ways to show how much the couple loved in other, in every single episode.

Classic sitcom couple Rob and Laura Petrie never said “I love you” to each other. Showrunner Carl Reiner knew how to write emotional scenes that effectively dramatized the couple’s affection. (The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66), CBS.)


Cringey emotional scenes are usually a sign the writer failed to earn emotional sympathy with readers. If you are willing to put in your own emotional hard work in order to build a story that fully supports your story’s most important moments, you will have written something readers are likely to remember for a long time to come.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What do you find most difficult about how to write emotional scenes? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Thank you for this. This lesson really does ring true (which fits).

    Especially I agree about context. The easiest way for a scene to fail is if the story *wasn’t at that place* yet. Take romance — because we have to take it, it’s Exhibit 1 through 9 of how many ways writers feel they can graft on a plotline without doing any of the usual work. Is the love interest really more than “a love interest” and actually a character worth rooting for? Were the obstacles believable instead of petty and flighty, but still things we can believe they’d get past? Do these two actually *belong* together?

    More than anything, a great emotional scene needs that story that leads up to it.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, I think romance is usually where I do most of my own cringing. 😉 It’s definitely no walk in the park to pull of romantic scenes in a powerful authentic way. Bravo to all those authors who do it well.

  2. In my current project, I am writing when the girl character is sad as in when tears fall from her face and as well as her voice changes.

    My question is with anger or being angry have her eyebrow go up when she shows that emotion.

    Do you have any beta readers for your books?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Facial expressions are a good way to show emotion, although it shouldn’t be overdone.

      And, yes, I use beta readers for my books.

      • Thank you. Where can I find beta readers?

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          When searching for beta readers, I recommend looking amongst the online writing community: writing forums (google writing forums for your genre), Twitter, Facebook, writing blogs, etc.

          If you can form relationships and discover someone with similar tastes to yours, invite them to swap manuscript critiques. Most people are hunting for beta readers just as hard as you are!

          I’ve curated a list of places you can start looking for beta readers:

          The post is old, so not all of the links may still be active. I plan to update it soon.

  3. I agree with your list. It’s important as a writer to immerse yourself in the character, and make it realistic for them. It’s also important to make the reader wait for it. This ties cleanly into developing effective character arcs – the character needs to be in heartfelt denial for much of the story, while their actions slowly show the change. Actually, I find myself thinking of an old Dr. Who episode I watched last night where the doctor popped in on a couple who were obviously in love, but both too afraid to move forward. That ran through almost the entire episode, looking like they were going to go their separate ways, as long as you didn’t remember what you were watching. So when they both went what might have seemed overdone, it was a “yay” moment. Of course, this also involved resolving the external, world threatening, conflict. If I step back and think about it, it’s obviously campy, but it was great fun in the moment.

    Thinking more, I wonder if the key secret to writing these sorts of scenes, isn’t having the inner editor working correctly. In what I’ve just described, I can imagine looking at this myself and deciding its too slobbery or something like that. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of cringe out there, but I wonder how many satisfying scenes have been edited out/down by authors overreacting to an emotional scene.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I think if we’re being particularly authentic and vulnerable in the emotional scenes we’re writing, we can sometimes lack objectivity about them. Either we think they’re too much when they’re not, or we fail to realize that we’re conveying our emotion in a way that comes off as melodramatic. When we’re uncertain (and even when we’re not), bringing in objective alpha or beta readers who gutcheck everything for us is always valuable.

  4. Congrats on # 600!

  5. People tend to have a strong emotional reaction to the stuff I write, and it usually catches me off guard. After reading this, I wonder if that’s partly because I really don’t try to make readers feel anything at all, most of the time… I’m more interested in letting the characters go so I can watch and see what happens to them. (Which is usually that I start using them to process a lot of personal issues, whoops.)

    On the flipside, whenever I TRY to make scenes impactful, they generally fall flat when I reread them…even if I was almost crying while I was writing them. And along the same lines, short stories I’ve written for school tend not to pan out as well, especially compared to the goofy writing I do on my own time (which is usually fanfiction, ngl). I bet that’s because I’m trying too hard to make it good.

    Great post as always! Maybe I’ll see if I can use your advice to actually control when my readers start freaking out on me 😆

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Learning to write emotional scenes is definitely a curve. I struggled with it a lot in the beginning. I could do “big” scenes, but small tender moments always made me squirm. The tip in the post about leaning into self-honesty is what helped me the most. Also: nothing wrong with using characters to process personal issues! That’s where we can really tap into a lot of this emotional authenticity we’re looking for (as long as we’re not letting self-indulgent writing get in the way of the actual story we’re trying to tell).

  6. My mother and I just read the beginning of a middle grades series that had a fun story, but, as she said, it looked like this was a first book for this author. It is a great story, but is marred by the constant on-the-nose writing and explanations (often using cliches). The author self-published, and the lack of a strong editor really shows. I might be self-publishing as well, so this makes me really want to pay attention to the ideas you present here, to look at how I am approaching my audience (also Middle Grades). I do not want to underestimating their ability to look at the actions, hear the conversations, put together the pieces from early scenes, and see the thoughts and motivations behind without just coming out and saying, “She was really mad at him.” Being spoon-fed gets irritating.

    Thanks for these ingredients to ponder as I attempt to cook up my own powerful scenes!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, show don’t tell with emotional scenes can make all the difference in all effective they are in communicating with readers.

  7. Colleen F Janik says

    Wow, this entire list is so incredibly powerful and accurate. Thank you!
    As I’m currently recovering from moving out of state and also dealing with Covid, I haven’t been writing at all for a while. As I haven’t been terribly active, I pulled a book out of one of my unpacked boxes and started to read it AGAIN. It was one I tried to read last year and couldn’t get through it.
    A lot of the novel is extremely well written, but there was one point in particular where she completely missed writing a very significant scene. She wrote it in one sentence. It was as if she’d written that line in her rough draft and didn’t bother to rewrite it. It would have made all the difference in the world.
    I can see that when you take all that time and dedication to write your novels, you have the satisfaction of turning out a consistently well written novel, which means we have the satisfaction of reading a consistently well written novel.

  8. Grace Clay says

    This is a very timely post. I just had to go back in my story and write an emotional scene that I had skimmed over while drafting.

  9. Really powerful, loved these tips!

  10. By biggest problem with writing emotional scenes is that either I feel like I don’t feel enough myself, or I feel too much and I’m afraid to expose it all on page. Sigh.

    A couple weeks ago I read a passage which was supposed to be a great example of writing sadness and, my goodness, even though I hadn’t read the novel and had little context, it got me shedding tears in just one page. I wondered how it got that reaction from me so fast. What I noticed is that a) it felt honest because it didn’t read as a cliche, I hadn’t read any other dying-mother-talking-to-her-children scene quite like that before and b) the three characters (the dying mother and her two sons) were all trying to avoid expressing sadness, which made the situation feel sadder.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I think that last actually nails another point–and that is that sometimes using the context to express a different emotion can really make the subtextual emotion pop. A character fighting emotion can, ironically, make that emotion feel more authentic than if the character just outright owned it. There’s a LOT to be said for understatement when it comes to emotional scenes.

  11. john grenier says

    This is one of your best posts.

  12. Dennis Montgomery says

    I’m a guy and want to know, do guy writers have a harder time writing emotions than gals?

    As a rule, I’m not very emotional. I can feel pithy for others, but I don’t lose sleep over them. Is this a handicap to be a great author? If it is, what can I do about it?

    By the way, I love sad miserable songs.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I think it depends on the person. We all repress things, regardless of gender. And we all have different ways of dealing (or not dealing) with our emotions. I’ve spent most of my life repressing emotions, and I had trouble writing emotional scenes early on. I think, however, that the very act of learning how to write successful emotion scenes is a powerful tool for self-growth.

  13. Excellent post. Have you ever read The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maas? I found that a helpful resource as well. Thanks for all you do.

  14. Grace Dvorachek says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! As someone who includes my faith in my own fiction, I find myself getting frustrated with most Christian books and movies in this regard. The pieces are all there, but the execution is just so… cringy. (Though, some works don’t even have all of the pieces, which makes it extra cringy…)

    Really, one of the main focuses in my writing is to prove that there can be non-cringy and non-cliché Christian fiction. I will definitely be keeping these points in mind as I go!

    • Thanks for sharing these thoughts! I so agree. It doesn’t have to be cringe-y and cliché just because it’s Christian.

    • Peter Moore says

      I completely agree that emotional scenes are the most memorable. And they don’t have to be the big tear gushing ones. For example, one of the best scenes in Netflix’s new movie Purple Hearts is where Cassie sings a few lines of her newly written song, Come Back Home, to her husband and fellow troops over the phone just after one of their buddies was wounded in combat (it’s only about a third through the movie, so not too much of a spoiler).

      One of the main reasons it sticks out is your fifth point, context. The movie planted seeds from the very beginning to build up to a very multi-layered scene. Without the right subtext, breadcrumbs, character flaws, etc., the moment would have been standard boring Hollywood stuff.

      I guess my point is that without spending time to set the scene up correctly, not just in the couple preceding pages, you can do everything else right, but your audience is going to either cringe, miss the point, or not care. Or worse, drop the book/turn off the TV because the moment doesn’t feel realistic.

      BTW, if you haven’t seen Purple Hearts because you don’t have Netflix, please subscribe or invite yourself over to a friend’s house. It’s worth it – this is coming from a die hard Marvel, Lord of the Rings genre type fan.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Execution is always key–on the micro level as well as the macro. Really, most of what we might consider cringey scenes are really just poorly written scenes.

  15. Thank you. I believe you are right about the idea of verisimilitude.We need to make the scenes real but with the boring parts taken out, haha. My daughters tell me that my characters “cry too much,” etc. Considering that I too cry a lot (and probably more than my characters!), I really didn’t think it was too much until I did a word search. I’ve come to realize that people do get emotional and express their emotions much more frequently in real life than what works well in a book! I haven’t cut all the tears or “I love you’s” yet, but I’ve been learning to severely limit the explicit mention of emotions and trim the drama.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I don’t think there’s such a thing as a character “crying too much” (or laughing too much, or whatever), insofar as we’re talking about character development. But, yes, when it becomes a tic, like a character cracking her neck or something, it can lose some of its emotional punch.

  16. David C Petterson says

    While all your advice here matters, the last point is, I think, the most critical. Eliminate as many adjectives and adverbs as possible, particularly in central emotional scenes. For example, if the protagonist is feeling sad, do not ever have the word “sad” in that scene. Instead, talk about being unable to see without blinking away tears.

    And of course, the reason for those tears must be made plain–again, not by saying how anyone feels about the loss that just happened, but by showing, for a hundred pages or so, how the companion / animal / planet that just breathed its last has supported and nurtured the protagonist through the most dreadful times. The character’s loss must be felt by the reader even before the character reacts to it. The reaction should be confirmation, not revelation; the idea is to describe what the reader should already be feeling, not to tell the reader what to feel.

  17. A scene that comes to mind which includes all the elements you discuss is the iconic apology scene from The Blair Witch Project. In this scene, the character Heather Donahue has been filming a documentary about the Blair Witch legend with some other student film-makers as they become increasingly lost and terrorized in the woods. When she realizes she has probably led herself and the other students to their death, she records an apology to her parents and the the parents of the other film students.

    As may recall, this film was made by actors and actresses who improvised their lines while camping in the woods and filming themselves. The concept behind the film was that this “found footage” had been discovered after a ground of students had gone missing. The apology scene is a pivotal moment that could have been really cringe. However, the scene works by demonstrating the aspects you listed.


    The actress who played Heather Donahue had actually been camping for several days with little sleep and food before filming the scene. During this time, she had endured various frights from the crew to elicit actual scared reactions. For the horror genre at that time, that was as real as it got. Moreover, the actress tapped into a very “real” place as an improviser. She expresses high emotional convincingly through her dialogue and acting.


    As a character, Heather demonstrates many layers of vulnerability. First of all, she shows the vulnerability to admit her mistakes and to ask for forgiveness in pursuing the film project in spite of warnings and leading the group into danger. In the speech, she also expresses physical exhaustion and fear for her life. As she gives the speech, there is darkness looming in the background, which leaves uncertain whether or not she is about to be attacked but the witch.

    The actress is also wiling to be vulnerable by performing such a physically, emotionally, and creatively risky part. Likewise, the directors are willing to relinquish creative control when they provide the actress with notes and context for the scene and give her room to improvise.


    At the time of its release, found footage was not a well-known horror trope. Another novel aspect of this scene is how it portrays Heather visually. Even at its most grisly, horror usually focuses on the beauty on the female actresses. This scene is shot at an angle pointed straight up Heather’s snot-filled nose and cutting off half her face. The found footage aesthetic, improvised acting, and lack of made-up beauty were elements audiences found surprising at the time.


    Viewers were supposedly watching this film after Heather and the other filmmakers had all disappeared in the woods. Therefore, Heather’s last words of apology are especially chilling. When you watch this scene, you feel like you’re watching a message from “beyond the grave,” perhaps from the perspective of the parents whose forgiveness she is pleading. When she expresses her certainty she is going to die, it reminds the audience that something terrible is expected to happen to her before the film ends.


    The whole set-up of the Blair Witch legend provides the context for this scene, as does the majority of the movie during which Heather insists she knows what she is doing as she leads the expendition. This scene portrays a stark contrast from her initial calm, confidence, and arrogance.

    Dramatization (Showing vs. Telling)

    Emotions of fear and remorse are not only expressed verbally but also dramatized physically as Heather cries, shakes, breathes heavily, closes her eyes, and freaks out screaming “What’s that!” The camera style puts the viewer in her point of view, trying to figure out what is on screen and to guess what will happen next.

    This scene has been on my mind a lot lately and your post helped me to understand why I find it so brilliant. It could have just been a cliche (What’s more cliche that “Boy was I dumb to venture into the woods?”) but instead it taps into something genuinely heartbreaking as well as absolutely terrifying.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’m not a horror fan, so haven’t seen the film. But this is a great breakdown. Makes me want to go watch it… 😀

      • I’m usually not a horror fan either but I’m really impressed whenever writers go beyond cliches to tap into deeper meaning available within a genre.

        You can find the apology scene here on youtube:

  18. Thanks for this post.
    I had a scene in my second historical novel, Jealousy of a Viking, where the protagonist had lost her baby in a horrific way. I agonised over the scene, adding and subtracting bits over and over. It was the most difficult thing I’ve had to write. I hope I succeeded in the end.
    When the narrator read it, though, she was so brilliant that it made me think I’d done it OK. The young woman’s horror, guilt and despair came over in the narration. I hope it does as well when read.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s great. I think that when someone else can read your writing and you don’t cringe, that’s a good sign that it is strong!

  19. Lew Kaye-Skinner says

    This brings to mind the old dictum that writing good fiction is easy. You simply slit your wrists and bleed all over the page.

  20. Rosemary Brandis says

    I’ve written emotional scenes with subtext and i’ ve written scnec with a lot of vulnerability but no subtext. How do you do both?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Both aren’t always necessary. Sometimes a scene of great vulnerability will be about dispelling the subtext. For example, one character loves another and finally tells the other. That love would have been subtext up until that point, but no longer afterwards. But if the moment of vulnerability/honesty/context has been well-earned throughout the story, it will feel like a release to the audience.

      Vulnerability in a scene that still maintains subtext will be about telling something true without necessarily telling *all* of it.

  21. I, too, am impressed by your achieving #600! Especially when each episode is so packed with writing insight and ideas. I feel I’ll be achieving an MA just in listening to these podcasts.

  22. Thank you for this great post. And all the others, by the way. I wish I had found them sooner, but there it is. Better late than never.

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