Language of the Body: Add visual dialog to your conversations

canstockphoto13397004Do you feel like you’ve got too many “he said,” “she said” tags in your dialog? Are you leaning on adverbs to express your character’s feelings? Do some research on body language to add emotional and descriptive depth to your character’s dialog.

Body language can bring your conversations to life. It subtly strengthens the dialog, and plants mental images in your reader’s head. Consider the following:

Angrily = Shoulders retracted, head leans forward, fists closed, neck and forehead veins bulge,
Apologizing = Eyes lowered, hands clasped together
Defensively = Arms crossed, fists closed, brows furrowed,
Fearfully = Shoulders raised, eyes wide open, mouth scrunched.
Forced Politeness = Oblong smile, eyes pointed, stiff posture
Friendly = Broad smile, open palms, arms outstretched
Interested = Eyes raised, Body leans forward, Long gaze
Leave Me Alone = Shoulders hunched, Chin to chest, Eyes nearly closed
Lying or Withholding Information = Rapid blinking, Avoids eye contact, hands hidden, nods head frequently, places finger between lips, ankles locked
Nervously = Biting fingernails, Forehead sweating, Change of complexion, Dry mouth, Repeated fidgeting (with item, running hands through hair, changing positions, tapping fingers), clammy hands,
Pensively = Hands to cheek,
Responsibility = Shoulders square, chin raised, chest out
Sexual Interest = Lips parted, hands touching the other’s shoulder, feet pointed toward the other, fingers touching hair
Tensely = Swallowing, Gulping

Want to read more? Check out:
Knock ’em Dead with Verbs

 

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7 thoughts on “Language of the Body: Add visual dialog to your conversations

  1. This blog is very useful. I feel that I have been using alot of he said ad she said. I will try to use the info on the ways to express myself. But I like your blog. 😉

    • I tend to use a lot of adverbs and he said, she said all through my first draft. I come back in a second and third sweep to clean all those up. Thanks for reading!

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  6. Thank you for the tip. Body language is interesting in real life, and can give you an edge in a lot of conversations and negotiations. I didn’t realize how helpful it could be for writing, though, until I was editing my last book. When I began researching it, I came up with a lot of conversation tags. Thanks for recommending Margie Lawson. I will definitely check her out.

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