How well do you read body language?
How well do you share subtext on the page?
Take this quick quiz, then enjoy the examples of writing fresh faces and voices below the quiz.
Did you take the quiz?
If not – TAKE THE QUIZ NOW!
Ready for the answers?
TRUE – It’s a huge percentage in real life.
Use: Writers need to be sure they’re including enough subtext, body language
and dialogue cues, on the page. And that it’s written in a fresh way.
Many writers struggle with writing fresh faces and voices. We’ve all read too
many lines with similar wording for wide eyes, tight lips, furrowed brows.
My body language course is online in January. Hellooo fresh faces and voices!
FALSE -- The way we say words supports or negates the meaning.
Use: Subtext. Subtext. Subtext.
Writers have unlimited ways to share the character’s truth through dialogue cues,
how the character says their words—tone, inflection, pitch, etc. They have
unlimited ways to write them fresh too.
FALSE -- Nonverbal communication is immediate.
Use: When a strong emotional stimulus presents, show your characters
nonverbal reaction immediately.
FALSE – There are multiple ways body language can be interpreted.
Use: You can add tension by having a character misinterpret a facial
expression, misinterpret a dialogue cue, misinterpret an action.
TRUE – and so fun!
Use: You can show a close relationship between characters by having them
mirror each others posture, gestures, facial expressions, and voice patterns.
believes the body language. T F
TRUE -- This happens all the time in real life.
Use: When the words contradict the body language and/or the dialogue cues, people always believe the subtext, not the words.
FALSE – Facial expressions carry 30 to 50% of the psychological message, but
the other categories of body language are important too.
Use: Remember to include plenty of dialogue cues, posture, instinctive
reactions, touch, and spatial relationships too.
FALSE -- Faces are never blank. Lips twitch. Eyes narrow or widen. Mouths
open or tighten.
Use: Don’t write a blank face. Share some tells, some micro-expressions.
TRUE – The lips do more than eyes, they convey more emotion.
Use: Include as many or more lip/mouth actions than eyes.
TRUE – Self-Touch Behaviors – They’re not what you think. When people are
anxious, they touch their face (cheek, eyebrow, lips, nose, ear), or near their face (throat, jaw, back of neck, behind ear, hair), as well as their hands and arms.
Self-Touch behaviors are body language polygraphs. Self-Touch may occur every 10 to 20 seconds.
Use: When a character is guilty, or telling a lie, or somewhere they’re not supposed to be, or something along those lines—you could show them touching their arm, neck, face. But don’t overdo it. A couple of times could work well.
HOW DID YOU SCORE? Did you make a 100? 90? 80?
Learn how to write fresh body language and dialogue cues – and you’ll add more power to your scenes. You can use body language to deepen characterization, complicate scenes, and drive plot points too.
Any time you have an emotional scene—you need subtext, body language and dialogue cues. And turning points need even more subtext.
Enjoy these examples of body language and dialogue cues.
He smiles. That warm, sexy, Austin-smile that always made me feel like we were in a bubble—just him and me.
In the harsh overhead lights, I can read every shade of emotion on her face: fear, anger, exhaustion, but over them all, a layer of crushing powerlessness.
It must be sleep deprivation, because my insides turn to peanut butter, and I feel a silly smile spread on my face.
I’m thrilled to share Kimberly Belle’s big news. ABC has put in development The Marriage Lie, inspired by Kimberly Belle’s bestselling book. Kudos to Kimberly!
Examples from The Marriage Lie:
This blog is already long, so I won’t deep edit analyze those examples. They’re fresh. They carry power.
Want to learn more?
Check out my online course: Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist. It’s loaded with teaching points and examples. This class is offered in January.
You’ll learn the full range of body language and the six categories of dialogue cues, and challenge yourself to write them fresh, fresh, fresh.
Body Language in Real Life:
Writers can monitor and moderate their body language when pitching to agents and editors, speaking on a panel, presenting a workshop, doing a book signing.
I have a lecture packet that may interest some of you: Powering Up Body Language in Real Life.
BLOG GUESTS: Thank you so much for dropping by the blog today.
Please post a comment or share a ‘Hi Margie!” and you’ll have two chances to be a winner.
You could win a Lecture Packet from me, or an online class from Lawson Writer’s Academy.
Lawson Writer’s Academy – January Classes
Please drop by my website to read course descriptions and register: www.MargieLawson.com
I’ll draw names for the TWO WINNERS Thursday night, at 9PM, and post them in the comments section.
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I love blogging for WITS. A big extra-lovey hug and THANK YOU to the brilliant WITS gals.
Do you use dialogue cues and facial expressions? Share one in the comments!
* * * * *
Margie Lawson—editor and international presenter—loves to have fun. And teaching writers how to use her deep editing techniques to create page-turners is her kind of fun.
She’s presented over 120 full day master classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and France, as well as taught multi-day intensives on cruises in the Caribbean.
To learn about Margie’s 5-day Immersion Master Classes (in 2018, in Phoenix, Denver, San Jose area, Dallas, Yosemite, Orange County, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and in Sydney, Melbourne, and Coolangatta, Australia), Cruising Writers cruises, full day and weekend workshops, keynote speeches, online courses, lecture packets, and newsletter, please visit: www.margielawson.com
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