Nancy's Books

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  


  1. Lots of good hints here, Nancy. Thanks.

  2. Hope they come in handy with your writing. I'm revising a chapter book so I've been taking a long, hard look at the characters to give them distinction.