Write Three-Dimensional Stories by Mastering the Art of Subtext

with Karen Albright Lin

April 10, 2023 • 2 week master class

Meet online at Scribophile and via instructor-led Zoom video chat

Perfect for
Beginning and intermediate writers

Small class size • Seats are limited

Subtext is the art of writing meaning that goes beyond the words on the page. It’s the hidden meaning behind the prose that turns a story from a flat sketch into a textured, three-dimensional narrative.

Careful use of subtext is the technique that master writers use to engage readers and make them take an active part in the story. It makes your story go from basic to gripping as your readers work through the layers of meaning you’ve carefully created.

Award-winning novelist Karen Albright Lin has spent years writing just those kinds of layered and engaging stories. And when she’s not writing, she’s teaching writing on cruise ships and at writing conferences.

Join Karen and a small group of writers as she teaches you how to harness the power of subtext to craft three-dimensional narratives that your readers won’t be able to put down.

In this information-dense, fast-paced class, Karen will guide you through approaches and techniques you can use to imbue your story with subtext. You’ll learn writing strategies that give your story the depth and meaning that readers crave, and techniques to add subtext to every layer of your story: from the plot, to the characters, to their dialogue and backstory, and more.

These two weeks will go by fast as you take in the huge amount of detail Karen is going to share with you. Then, you’ll take part in a peer workshop environment where you’ll exercise everything you’ve learned.

What you’ll learn

After you finish this class, you’ll:

  • Master techniques to make your reader actively engage with your narrative.

  • Learn how to create subtext in every aspect of your story: in the plot, backstory, dialogue, setting, and more.

  • Understand how to create satisfying narratives by not scratching the reader’s same itch twice.

  • Know how to involve the reader directly by engaging their very own memories, choices, and experiences.

  • Be able to avoid tedious prose by knowing how to recognize clichés, stereotypes, coincidences, predictable punchlines, and low-hanging fruit.

  • Gain the knowledge to effectively use rhetorical devices to write convincing prose.

Class outline

  • Week One: Engaging the reader using subtext in plot, emotion, and setting

  • Week Two: Techniques to make your readers feel personally involved with your story

Student praise for Karen Albright Lin

Karen Lin—you are freaking brilliant. Thank you for the in depth discussion of the non-fic proposal process. I can now nail this sucker and get it out :)

—Deb Courtney

Wow, what can I say about Karen. Her first workshop was amazing. So much so, I jumped from my seat to share my pitch for Dragons Forever. She critiqued it beautifully and made me feel like I really had something. Then I had her again for the Critique workshop. More then once during the day I heard people talking about Karen’s workshop and how it’s helped them figure out where to go. Excellent topics, good information, well thought out responses and just overall great great lady.

—Eisley Jacobs

It was such a privilege getting to know you and listening to your wisdom. Your presentations were so organized, interesting and easy to follow. I look forward to listening to the tape as a refresher.

—Trish W.

Karen is a brilliant instructor. She teaches you to look at your work in a new way. Instead of examining it under the microscope for minor flaws and wayward commas, she shows you how to soar above it and get that eagle’s eye view.

She professionally and compassionately shows you how to tear down your own defenses and open your eyes to what’s really on the page so you can see past what you thought you put there, wanted to put there, meant to put there—to what actually is there.

When she left, we were all changed writers. We all had a new way of looking at our work, at our words, at our process even.

—Bree Ervin

People can learn a lot from one of your classes. I’m pleased I’ve learned so much from you in the past year. I’m a good writer, but the quality of my writing has jumped up a level or two because of you!

—Carolee Laughton

Honestly—I wish that the entire four days had just been your nonfiction presentations! I think I held my breath and wrote so frantically through your workshops because they applied so perfectly to my own project. Thank you for being there.

—Angie McCormic Ricketts, Battle Rhythm: Cries of a War Wife

Thank you for coming to the retreat and being an instructor. They in particular felt the feedback you gave them on proposals, and also your ideas and suggestions, were INCREDIBLY HELPFUL. They were emphatic about it (thus the caps!). Also several people mentioned that your High Concept class was the highlight of the retreat. I learned a bit from it myself after listening in while I was working in the kitchen. I really wish I could have sat down and participated. It was wonderful to have you as part of the retreat team.

—Chris Mandeville, president, Pikes Peak Writers

I just wanted to send you a quick thank you for your great workshop on flashbacks this past weekend. I've started editing my novel, and realized I learned so much in just an hour!

—Fleur Bradley

Thanks again for your substantive and inspiring presentations! I had started an autobiography a year ago but after your talk I realized I was writing a memoir. You gave me many specific ideas, and I am on my way! Thanks for the presentation.

—Jeffrey Raffel

I heard you speak at the RMFW conference and was tremendously impressed by your very synoptic and distilled understanding of a complicated industry and genre.

—Juliet Hubbell, faculty, Arapahoe Community College

Karen—Thank you for your talk at our group yesterday. I am new at this and I never fail to learn from the presentations. Yours was a winner for me. After I thought about High Concepts and Log Lines I was sufficiently moved to write a 2,200 word short story. Without your presentation, my magazine pitch would have been dreadfully long, and lacked the punch I am able to give it, not to mention coming up with a title I like. Thanks.

—Tom Parsons

Zoom schedule

Along with these Zoom calls, you’ll also spend time taking in lectures and chatting on Scribophile over the course of the class. All Zoom calls are recorded, so if you miss one you can review it later.

  • Wednesday April 12, 2023 7:00pm US Central time — 1 hour

  • Wednesday April 19, 2023 7:00pm US Central time — 1 hour

How this workshop works

This class is conducted entirely online, on Scribophile and via Zoom videoconference. Participate from anywhere in the world!

You’ll join the instructor and your fellow students in a private group hosted on Scribophile. Take in reading and assignments at your own speed, and discuss them with the instructor and your classmates in the online class discussion forum.

You’ll also participate in Zoom videoconferences with the instructor and your classmates so you can get live lessons and insights, and ask questions in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Videoconferences will be recorded, so you can review them later if you missed them.

Questions about this class?

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have!

About Karen Albright Lin

Karen Albright Lin

Karen Albright Lin is an award-winning novelist, produced screenwriter, and a freelance editor for award-winning and bestselling authors. She teaches writing for Princess and Celebrity cruise lines and at writers conferences, and she’s also a hopeless foodie. Many of her stories are inspired by her experience marrying into a Taiwanese family. Food is often a subplot.

Her novels Mu Shu Mac & Cheese and American Moon: A Chinese Immigrant Story are available on Amazon. Both ranked top 50 Hot New Releases in their categories. She also appeared alongside other writers in the anthology Fresh Starts.

She, her husband, and their two boys have traveled the world as she researches recipes for a literary cookbook. She has published magazine articles, essays, poems, shorts, and flash fiction in many genres. You can visit her website at karenalbrightlin.com.

Other workshops starting soon

April 10, 2023
2 week master class

Small class size
Seats are limited

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