Monday, August 02, 2010

Body Language in Writing

The photo at left has nothing to do with this blog. I just love it and wanted to use it. Crazy, maybe. Monet is my favorite painter, so I find most of his work restful.

And no,  I don't mean the body language of the writer. I mean of the characters. Sometimes authors overlook a very good tool to use for identifying a character's mood--Body Language. Books have been written on the subject, one of which I have in my research books. Here are some good clues for a character's state of mind.

1. Crossing the arms--he's uncomfortable, especially defensive, angry.

Here's a passage that illustrates this:

"Jim, you know I only said that to help you."
Jim crossed his arms. "Yeah, right."

Do you think Jim was convinced?

2. Eyes won't meet those of the person to whom he's talking--watch out, he's not being honest.

"I can't take your gambling any longer, Joe."
 Joe looked at the window on his left. "I promise I'll quit if you just give me one more chance."

Do you believe Joe?

3. Leaning forward toward speaker--listening and eager to hear more.

4. Tapping foot-- impatient, nervous

5. Glancing at watch--eager to finish and move on

These are just a few of the many signals we give with our bodies whether we want to or not.

What are some examples of body language you use in your writing?


Vicki said...

Rolling their eyes, shrugging, and raising an eyebrow are my most consistent ones.

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