I ran across this article and thought you guys might enjoy it. It boils down to the fact that everyone in everyday life uses body language to express what they’re thinking, feeling, etc. The same should hold true for the characters you create. You want them to be as alive as possible. A humanized character can have a reader rooting for villains even as they cheer for the heroes.
These are best used as dialogue tags as the author of the article says. This way you don’t have to use “he said” or “she said” all the time. It’s alright every now and again, but you don’t want to clutter up the pages with it. By using actions such as body language, you solve both the problem of flat characters but also making the dialogue more natural at the same time.
It’s a win-win.
Source: MASTER LIST of Gestures and Body Language!
The following link is to an article by the talented Bryn Donovan. There are so many articles on her site and blog that actually made me think about all the things that were weak in my sentences. You can read more of her articles at http://www.bryndonovan.com/
Anyway, the great thing about this post is how much it has improved the dialogue in the novella I’ve been writing. At first glance, I thought that it was natural and flowed well. Occasionally it seemed to be missing something, but I could just cover it with a “he said” or “she replied.”
This was completely wrong!
Not that ‘speaking verbs’ are a bad thing. They are a staple of any work of fiction. However, the overuse can make the sentences a little clunky. The last thing I want is to have a reader step away from the world I want to immerse them in.
So the answer is perfect in its simplicity: Show the actions before, during and after the words that are being spoken. In this way, you still have the characters talking to each other, but you get so much more depth to the scene. Genius.
Source: MASTER LIST of Gestures and Body Language!
In the last six months, I’ve been reading an ungodly amount of fanfiction (Harry Potter, Naruto, and Fullmetal Alchemist mostly) and it worries me. I mean, lots of people read and write fanfiction. I’ve even written some Harry Potter fanfiction myself, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
What really worries me is that I found myself going through withdrawals whenever I would have to go to work, spend time with my wife, friends or family. The fun read had turned into an addiction before I knew that it could. The signs were all there, but I just kept thinking, “People can’t get addicted to reading, can they? Not in a bad way.”
Lots of people say, “Oh, I’m addicted to reading.” Don’t believe me? Just google it. The Meme Gods will provide.
No, this was beyond bad. I’ve actually had to prevent myself from reading fanfiction except for maybe one story a week. This may sound ridiculous, but what I was doing wasn’t healthy.
It wasn’t so much that I was addicted to reading as I was addicted to how the characters made me feel. Their sad experiences that led to a final victory made my heart soar. It was like an emotional drug; I couldn’t get enough.
This was a hard-learned lesson. I hope I never have to deal with an addiction again. I’ve never been addicted to alcohol, drugs, etc. This whole months-long experience has been altogether surreal.
Well, as the old saying goes, I’m back at it! I will do my best to try to blog a bit more in the future. Procrastination, my old nemesis, will always be there to stand in my way. Perhaps as I finish up the first novella, the procrastination will lessen.
Yea, I doubt it too.
The novella endeavor is going well so far. Progress is slower than I would like, but I have no one to blame but myself for that. I’m still not sure if I want to spend more time with family or just another form of procrastination.
In any case, I’m working on a new story for the Novella that will make my protagonist older and more jaded than before. I’d like to reuse some of the old writing in future novellas, but I’ll probably just end up using them for reference and rewrite the backstory.
Wish me luck and the best of luck to you all!
I’ve been reading some articles lately about how it is becoming more common to find new independent authors like myself writing novellas to begin their ebook publishing journey. I gave this a lot of thought and came to the conclusion that this would be a great thing to try. After all, I keep rewriting the same book over and over. The plot remained mostly the same except for the time I rewrote half of it.
So, for a new resolution, I’m going to be using the same characters but writing an entire new story for them. Since I’ll be doing novellas (at least to get the ball rolling) I can tell smaller stories about individual characters instead of having to focus on a big threat to most of the characters.
It occurs to me now that I may actually have a few half-written novellas that I could polish up with some extra scenes. I hope I’m not too horrified at reading my own stuff from years ago.
I’m really excited to begin this new endeavor.
There seems to be a large amount of time that I spend thinking about writing while I’m in the car, in the shower and otherwise doing mind-numbing things that don’t require a lot of thought.
It is almost a meditative state at times that I come to great writing ideas. Even when I’m in the middle of writing, I find that I enter what I call the Writing Zone. I may not write well but my focus is absolute. The world fades away and my hands just channel the story in my head. Words flowing to make a new chapter or even a new paragraph sends a thrill through me. When I’m done, I long for those times to be back.
Maybe those are the only times I experience true inspiration. I miss these moments when they’re gone and I wish I knew of a way to replicate them whenever I write.
Someday maybe. Somehow.
Try as I might, I just can’t seem to give up wanting to make my writing “perfect.” I know all writers struggle with this, but I just get so irritated when everyone tells me that the story is great when I know it could use some more work. Does anyone else know what this feels like? Is it wrong to be too pedantic about the weakness of your writing?
Well I’m trying my hand at posting some chapters online and getting some feedback. If there are no bites, I’ll have to get some reviews when it’s all finished.