I've coached thousands of writers who didn't know what they were feeling, because they were so used to hiding their real emotions be hind their masks. Many writers aren't able to find their true voice when they want to create scripts with emotional depth. I've helped these writers discover their authentic voice by giving them permission to make their writing truthful and unique.
Most of them were never allowed to express their feelings when they were small children. They hid the real little person inside and became the child their parents forced them to be. Many suppressed their anger, sadness, rage, sexual desires and the feelings their parents didn't permit them to express. Now, when these same individuals wanted to give their characters depth, they weren't able to, because they couldn't give to their fictional characters the emotions they couldn't give to themselves.
My goal in working with them was to get them to reach inside and start reconnecting with their repressed feelings. We worked together on their writing about peak emotional experiences in childhood which they recalled. As they emotionally re-experienced their past, these writers eventually learn to honor the truth of what they were feeling and released pent-up passions.
Remarkably they soon were able to put their feelings into their characters and their writing became rich, emotional and deep. Their characters jumped off the page and their dialogue was snappy and filled with emotional undertones and personal feelings.
You can achieve the same wonderful results for your characters and write scenes which are rich in subtext. Remember, when you write your screenplay that you are the creator of your characters and their world. If you can't reach your feelings or express your emotions than you're unable to allow your characters to express them.
Another way to access what you're really feeling beneath your facade is to go through your day and make notes in your journal every time you say something, but it's not what you really mean. Jot down when you behave a particular way but it's not how you really want to act. Notice how many times a day you don't say anything when you really want to and don't do what you really want to do.
Being aware of what an actor you really are will help you learn to write subtext, especially as you recognize the feelings beneath your words. If you can use subtext in every scene you'll achieve the best type of dramatic writing you can possibly write. Your audience with be able to identify with your characters.
By using subtext you'll also give your audience room to inject their own feelings into the scene. Writing subtext takes time and effort to learn. It isn't easy, but then anything of value isn't easy to achieve. Fight for writing subtext and keep trying until you're able to do it. When you've mastered it the impact of your screenwriting will be more dramatic and emotionally powerful.
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