I’ve mentioned before that I’m really struggling with body language in my stories. Since I wrote my last blog, I’ve actually noticed an improvement in my writing. I think this is because I took the time to analyze how to use body language better. But, I want to continue improving.
Scene: Three college students studying for a final exam.
“I think we should start by summarizing all the Shakespearean plays we’ve read this year,” Emily says, pulling out her massive text book and placing it gently on the table.
Brandon raises a brow. “What’s all the tabs for?”
Emily blushes. “I tabbed pages in the plays where certain themes are present. The red is love. The green is nature…”
Roxanne pulls out her own book and grins, running her hand along her spiked hair. “I didn’t tab anything, I’ve got it all right here,” she says, pointing to her head.
Emily returns her smile, but her shoulders are stiff as she opens her book. “What play do you want to start with, Brandon?”
He shrugs. “Whatever you guys want. I didn’t bring my book.”
Roxanne glares at him, and then gives Emily her best ‘I told you so’ look. “Why did you come if you don’t have a book?”
He sits up straighter, ignoring the barista as she places his cup of coffee in front of him. “Emily invited me.”
He leans towards Roxanne, no doubt hoping his six-foot something frame will intimidate her, but she doesn’t move. After a minute, he apparently decides to change his tactic, allowing one of his cold, but startlingly handsome smiles, to touch his lips.
“Come on now, you two wouldn’t know what to do with yourselves, not without me sitting next to you. I mean, we spent the whole semester next to each other, and you two didn’t seem to mind.”
“The only reason I let you sit next to us is because she…,” Emily kicks Roxanne beneath the table, and Roxanne’s thoughts move fast enough to stop herself from revealing her friend’s crush, “because she’s nicer than I am.”
Using body language is such an important part of writing, but I often find myself stuck using the same types of body language over and over again. I think this is why it is so important for us writers to go out in the world and actually observe people, because there are a lot of subtle, and not so subtle, things that people do that tell us their inner thoughts or motivations. And, we want to utilize this same realism in our own writing.