Today’s post is courtesy of Rochele Rosa, who is both author of Generation of the Last Hour (coming May 2017) and our publicist!
Kinesics is the study of body language.
Books are mind movies. In writing, we have to paint a picture of the emotion and nonverbal communication between the characters. This is a skillset that every writer needs to have to engage their readers.
A lot of people explain this as “show don’t tell.”
You tell me, which scene is better?
Sitting at the table, I can’t help but notice how irritated Sadie looks. I know she’s mad at me. “You ruined my big day.”
Sadie leans back in her chair, arms crossed. With her glazed eyes locked on the corner of the room, she grits her teeth. “You ruined my big day.”
Which is more engaging? Which has more details cluing us into the tension of the scene Scene B.
Showing is better than telling. I will warn you that too much body language in a short amount of time can distract from the scene.
Here are a few tips to help you write better body language:
- Picture yourself IN the scene. How would you react if you were your characters?
- Watch drama movies and TV shows with great acting. When you watch an amazingly emotional scene, pause it and try to write it out. Have someone read it later and gauge their reaction.
- Play around with rich details. Have your characters interact with the objects in the scene. Are they arguing in the kitchen? One of them could pick up a knife or slam the cabinet doors. Are they in the car? The car should swerve or the driver should get road rage as the scene’s emotions intensify.
- Study Kinesics. Understanding the psychology and communication theory of body language can help you enter the minds of your characters.
I hope this helps! Good luck and don’t stop writing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and raised in small town Illinois, I knew I wanted to be an author when I was in third grade. Of course, I didn’t know how much work was needed.
In high school, I had a crippling fear of public speaking and I knew I had to conquer it to achieve my ambitions. So, I joined the FFA and eventually competed in two national public speaking events. During my freshman year of college, I was on the 2014-2015 Illinois Association FFA State Officer Team.
Now, I’ve left Illinois to finish my Bachelor’s in Public Relations at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. I’m a member of Murray Chi Alpha, which is a chapter of the global network of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. I’m also an active Murray State PRSSA member.
My debut novel, published by Anaiah Press, is available for pre-order on Barnes & Noble and is set to be released May 23, 2017.
Where will God take me next? I don’t know, but I’m eager to find out.