Writing Exercise: The Importance of Body Language


This is a fun one, but really useful in deeply imagining character's bodies and movements in conversation. Plus, you get to eat gummy bears at the end. 

Don't Underestimate The Importance of Body Language

1.     Take two gummie bears. These are your two characters.

2.     Draw a map of the place/space your characters are in. Is it a room, a sidewalk, an aisle in a grocery store? Give it limits/boundaries. Draw in some furniture or large objects. Also think about objects populating the room—your props.

3.     Now, begin to write a conversation between the characters, in which one characters wants something from the other (be it an object, a promise, commitment, to reveal a secret, an explanation, etc.).

4.     As you write the dialogue, move your gummie bears around the space, as the characters would. Include this movement, gesture, body language and interaction with setting (including props) as you write.

5.     When you’re finished, read through and see if there is a gesture or two that really needs to be there, that “says” something the dialogue does not. See also if there are superfluous gestures that can be cut. Or, if there are extra dialogue lines that can be cut, and/or replaced with body language.