Friday, March 16, 2012

Write your body language into your story

But don't overdo it and beware of repeats. The Milennium Trilogy overdoes the number of times that its characters 'bit her bottom lip and stared out the window'.

A little is effective but make sure it is only once in the book.  You would be surprised how readers pick up on repeated phrases and tire of them fast.  Even habitual nail-biters can be darn annoying.

Here's a handy chart that employment agencies use when people are going for jobs. 
It is a chart of notable body language clues to emotions and it is the sort of stuff you can research to put into your books to denote TYPE or to BUILD characters.. Or people can use these in a studied way to project an image they prefer or need at the time.
Crossed arms: Anger, defensiveness
Moving away, tilting a chair back: You are too close, space is invaded
Fidgeting, tapping foot or fingers: Nervousness, boredom
Slow, deliberate walk: Confidence
Standing with hands on hips: Readiness, aggression
Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking: slightly Boredom
Sitting, legs apart Open: relaxed
Touching, slightly rubbing nose: Rejection, doubt, lying
Rubbing the eye: Doubt, disbelief
Hands clasped behind back: Anger, frustration, apprehension
Locked ankles: Apprehension
Head resting in hand, eyes downcast: Boredom
Rubbing hands: Anticipation
Sitting with hands clasped behind head: Smugness, superiority
Open palm: Sincerity, openness, innocence
Tapping or drumming fingers: Impatience
Patting/fondling hair: Lack of self-confidence; insecurity
Stroking chin: Trying to make a decision
Looking down: face turned away Disbelief
Biting nails: Insecurity, nervousness
Pulling or tugging at ear: Indecision
Adjusting tie: Insecurity, nervousness
Putting tips of fingers of one hand against tips of the other hand: Confidence
Clearing throat: Nervousness

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. Sometimes we can get into such a rut with the same old actions and mannerisms. It's good to get some fresh input.