What is body language and how do you use it when you write? Use these cheat sheets to help you with your body language descriptions.
What Is Body Language?
People react to situations with micro-expressions, hand gestures, and posture. Most of us are not even aware of them. However, what we do with our body language has a huge impact on other people and how they interpret and perceive us.
‘Even when they don’t express their thoughts verbally, most people constantly throw off clues to what they’re thinking and feeling. Non-verbal messages communicated through the sender’s body movements, facial expressions, vocal tone and volume, and other clues are collectively known as body language.’ (Psychology Today)
Body language happens when we are doing something. We could be sitting, standing, or walking. We could be talking or thinking. Body language is often an involuntary reaction to something perceived by one of the five senses.
How To Use It In Writing
Using body language is one of the best ways to show and not tell when we write.
This is why we are always told to use body language in our writing. Sometimes, it’s easier said than written. So, I created these cheat sheets to help you show a character’s state of mind through his or her body language.
When you are completing your character biographies, be sure to include how your main characters move and talk. This is especially important for your protagonist, antagonist, confidant, and love interest. They are the characters that hold the story together and they should be as well-rounded and believable as possible.
The Top Five Tips For Using Body Language
- Use body language to add depth to dialogue.
- Use it because more than 50% of human communication is non-verbal.
- Use it to show how your character’s emotions affect his or her actions.
- Use it to help you show rather than tell your reader everything.
- Use it in moderation. If overused, it can slow your story down.
Cheat Sheets For Writing Body Language
Use this list to help you with your body language descriptions. It will help you to translate emotions and thoughts into written body language.
Obviously, a character may exhibit a number of these behaviours. For example, he or she may be shocked and angry, or shocked and happy.
Use these combinations as needed.
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by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson
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