A character’s dialogue can add humor and suspense (if delivered by an antagonist). Two characters can exchange witty banter, argue, or whisper sweet nothings. Dialogue pushes a story forward. You can’t have a book without it.
A character’s emotion influences the story, fuels scenes, and builds connections with readers. Without emotions, we would have dull stories and robotic characters. We don’t want that!
A character’s body language is also important because it compliments dialogue and reveals emotions. Whenever our characters say or do something, whenever they feel a certain way, we should add physical cues to drive home those feelings and actions.
Below are some emotions with physical reactions.
Anger – clenching of jaw and fists, a puffing up of the chest and squaring of shoulders, spine rod-straight, arms crossed, flaring of nostrils, seething, pacing, glaring, heart pounding, blood roaring, heat rising up neck and face
Curiosity/Suspicion – head tilting, pursing of lips, scratching head or temple, tapping fingers, quirking a brow, squinting eyes
Fear – cowering, avoiding eye contact, slumped shoulders, body shaking, sweaty hands, dry mouth, fast breathing, heart racing
Grief – sobbing, whole body shaking, quivering lips, tearing eyes, heavy heart, shuffling footsteps, low shoulders
Love/flirting – heart fluttering, breath catching, glowing, blushing, laughing, winking, lip biting, butterflies in the stomach
QUESTION: Do you forget to add body language and other physical reactions?