Rich fiction and storytellling – when characters say one thing but mean another

I got to thinking how there is an undercurrent among characters in a well-written story or well-directed and acted film.

There are words and there are meanings behind those words. We do it all the time in real life.

The way yoMV5BMjA2NjM1MzUwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDIxMTU5._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_u say “yes dear” is certainly not agreeing if you have a sarcastic or threatening tone.

That makes for rich characterization and heightens the sense of conflict.

It’s like the undercurrent in the ocean when you wade in the water off the beach and the current begins moving you, imperceptibly perhaps, and suddenly you realize you’re not at your original place.

I think my upcoming novel Boarding has more moments of an undercurrent than anything I’ve published to date and that makes it satisfying to write.

What do you think?

Are there undercurrents you’d like to share from stories you’ve written or read in how the characters say one thing but mean something different? Feel free to use the comments section and link to a book, website, or film.

This is from Elizabeth in 1998 starring Geoffrey Rush and Cate Blanchett the dialogue below may not be in the clip

Monsieur de Foix: [in French] She is a woman, Sire. They say one thing but mean another. No one can unlock their secrets.
Duc d’Anjou: [also in French] Unless they have… a very big key!
[laughs loudly]
Duc d’Anjou: Yes! A *very* big key!

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About DD Symms

Writing is foundational to our communication like running is to sports.
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