Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Character’s Silent Language, Part III

Let’s look at some ways to show characters’ nonverbal expressions:

Happiness: smile, crinkled nose, bright eyes, raised eyebrows, swinging arms, relaxed shoulders, open-mouth smile.
Sadness: pouting lips, tears, red eyes, drippy nose, stooped shoulders, head hanging low, lack of eye contact, frowning, trembling body.
Fear: wide eyes, closed eyes, trembling hands, hunched shoulders, open mouth, tears, arms wrapped around body, body in fetal position, white-knuckle grip, shaking head in denial.
Anger: flared nostrils, fists, swinging arms, flushed checks, wide-eyed stare, pounding fists, breathing deeply.
Curiosity: moving toward something, parted lips, squinting eyes, reaching out to touch, delighted smile.
Stubbornness: shake head, stomp foot, cross arms, turn head away from speaker, walk away.
Try using a variety of silent language expressions to offer more information to the reader.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Chicken Soup for the Soul. My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

Our dog books are so popular that we do a new one every other year. We are now collecting

 stories for our 2016 edition. We want your funny stories, your heartwarming stories, and your

mindboggling stories about all the very good, very bad, simply amazing things that your dog

does. What have you learned from your dog? How does your dog improve your life? What crazy

things does your dog do? Has your dog ever done anything heroic? How does your dog warm

your heart and make you smile? We want to hear all about the absurd antics, funny habits and

insightful behavior of your dog. Stories can be serious or humorous. The deadline date for story

and poem submissions is August 31, 2015.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Character's Silent Language, Part III

Social scientists state that 93% of all communication is nonverbal. So how do we transfer this information into our writing and allow the reader to gauge a character’s emotions?

Touch is a common practice. People who engage in conversation often touch each other. Is the touch friendly, playful, comforting, encouraging, assaulting, or indicating some other feeling? Also consider the person who is being touched. The intent may be interpreted differently by the person being touched. How long did the touch last? Was it flirtatious?
Repetitive movement. Does the character repeatedly run his finger through is hair when nervous? Bite fingernails? Stick out his jaw when angry. People exhibit different mannerisms and characters should reflect these specific and different gestures, as well.
Since so much of our communication is conveyed through silent language, such as gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and proximity, let’s incorporate these expressions and mannerisms into our writing for a more realistic approach to developing characters.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Chicken Soup for the Soul. My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Our cat books are so popular that we do a new one every other year. We are now collecting

stories for our 2016 edition. We want your funny stories, your heartwarming stories, and your

mindboggling stories about all the very good, very bad, simply amazing things that your cat

does. What have you learned from your cat? How does your cat improve your life? What crazy

things does your cat do? Has your cat ever done anything heroic? How does your cat warm your

heart and make you smile? We want to hear all about the absurd antics, funny habits and

insightful behavior of your cat. Stories can be serious or humorous. The deadline date for story

and poem submissions is August 31, 2015.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Character’s Silent Language, Part II

      The silent language of characters revs up a reader’s imagination and perceptions. Alert readers interpret nonverbal communication between characters as foreshadowing future events and actions.

Facial expressions can show fear, glee, anger, sadness, joy, and disappointment. A smile rounds a person’s eyes and raises their cheeks. A frown can wrinkle a nose and forehead. Fear sometimes opens a child’s mouth. So does surprise. People consciously and unconsciously express feelings through body language so our characters should do likewise.
The way the character walks, stands, and sits can also relay information to the reader. Angry people walk with a heavy gait and may stomp a foot…or two. Sadness may be depicted with a shuffle of feet or stooped shoulders. A character that skips along is probably happy and one that walks with a straight back and head held high shows confidence.
The character’s eye contact tells a lot. Direct eye contact implies truthfulness and self-assurance. A character that looks away may be lying or perceived to lack confidence.
When you add nonverbal communication in your story, you add depth to a character. Next week, I’ll continue this article.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Front Porch, the online literary journal of Texas State University’s MFA, invites all writers to submit works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Front Porch is dedicated to publishing the most celebrated talents in contemporary writing published alongside exceptional new voices. Our editors seek out both innovative and traditional literature. In short, we’re looking for insightful and relevant writing that excels, regardless of form, theme, or style.

 Our submissions are rolling with no deadline and submitted online through Front Porch’s online submission manager.


 

    

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Character’s Silent Language, Part 1

In real life we often give away more information than we intend to through our expressions, mannerisms, and body language. The same works for characters. Those important nuances allow the reader to “see” the character in action without the writer relying totally upon dialog to tell the tale.
Communication between characters is critical to move the story forward and to tell the story. Dialog is a typical form of communication, but the nonverbal type can be effectively incorporated into a story with a few tricks of the trade.
Spend some time becoming acquainted with your character. Write his/her bio.
Where is the character likely to hang out?
What is important to him/her?
Does the character walk with a swagger or shuffle along?
Is technology always in hand?
Tattoos? If so, what and where? And why, of course. Are they prominently displayed or just peeking out or completely covered?
Eye contact? Does the character lean toward or stand back from the other characters? Interaction with friends? And strangers?
Extrovert or introvert?
Know your main character before you begin writing and the writing will go smoother and faster.
Next week, I’ll focus more on nonverbal communication.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
THE NOTEBOOK  is seeking submissions for its next issue. Published biannually by the Grassroots Women Project, The Notebook, seeks work by female or male writers, photographers & digital visual artists with rural or small town roots. We are interested in progressive thinking—past, present or visionary—that explores a spectrum of authentic experiences for women and girls in rural areas and small towns in any of the world’s cultures.

Submission guidelines at www.GrassrootsWomenProject.org.