Thursday, July 29, 2010

Writing Research - Grief

What behaviors, mannerisms or responses do you associate with grief? How do you know someone is feeling grief without being told? All insight is appreciated! Best Blogger Tips

Writing Research - Example Responses to Emotions

How do you respond to anxiety? Do you feel sick, eat chocolate, or run? It's easy enough to find the medical information on what physically happens to our bodies when we experience variant emotions, but what behaviors accompany the emotion depends on the individual.

When I write I am constantly trying to figure out how others respond. I am going to pick one emotion a week and ask for feedback. I would really appreciate everyone's insight! After a week, I'll post a comprehensive list of what I've been told and what I can think up or find.

Here's a list of the emotions I might cover.

Love (Parent - child)
Love (Romantic not sensual)
Worry Best Blogger Tips

Character development – Types of Physical Responses Part 3 of 5


Subconscious movements are the habitual responses we have to situations or emotions.

~ talking with hands
~ playing with hair
~ biting lip
~ bouncing knees while sitting

These are examples of things we do without necessarily intending to.

I just found myself pacing the house and clenching my hands together between composing sentences for this blog post. I know from experience that I pace whenever I'm restless, stressed, or thinking hard. I don't intend to pace or clench my hands, I just do it.

What are examples of subconscious responses you have? Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Character development – Types of Physical Responses Part 2 of 5


Involuntary outward responses are reactions that are visible to those around us, but that we have little to no control over.

~ Blushing
~ Red Ears
~ Sweating
~ Teary eyes

These are all examples of involuntary responses. Involuntary responses are easily seen in others, but your point of view character would only notice the corresponding effects of the responses in himself/herself. For example my POV character would notice that his vision had blurred not that his eyes had teared. He would realize that it was tears that caused the blur.

If my face were to turn a different color, be that color red, white, green, or blue, I would not know it without the aid of a mirror. Instead, I would know that I felt sick or that my face was hot, cold, numb, etc . . .

What are examples of involuntary responses you have? Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Character development – Types of Physical Responses Part 1 of 5

In the interest of developing characters that react to situations and feelings uniquely, I have come up with five different types of physical responses.

1st Undetectable Responses
2nd Involuntary Outward Responses
3rd Subconscious Movements
4th Conscious Movements
5th Verbal

This post will deal with the first.


Undetectable responses are reactions we have internally that are not visually evident to those around us. Only your Point of View character(s) will ever experience this type of response.

~ Butterflies in the heart or stomach
~ Pulse quickening
~ Ringing in Ears
~ Sudden tunnel vision
~ Migraines

These are all examples of physical responses that are only known to the person experiencing them.

I occasionally get a headache when I am really stressed. While this physical response to stress is painfully evident to me, it's undetectable by anyone else.

What are examples of undetectable responses you have? Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing Blogs I recommend

These are very helpful resources.

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer

Suzanne Hartmann's Write at Home Best Blogger Tips

Your Character's Appearance: Does Your Reader Remember?

I recently finished a first draft of my manuscript. As I tried to draw it to a close, I started seeing things I had failed to develop along the way.

At the end of the book I asked my husband to describe my characters to me. What he said wasn't nearly as helpful as what he didn't say. For the most part I had not reminded my audience what my characters looked like since they first met them at the beginning of the book. As consequence my husband had to think hard to remember and even then could only remember small things like “so and so was really tall and the other guy was really short.”

I have a short list of physical attributes that I bring up for each of my characters, the rest I leave to the readers imagination, but even my short list was forgotten for lack of reminders. For instance, one of my characters has burgundy eyes. I mention this around chapter three, but never again. There is no way my readers are going to remember this after nineteen more chapters without even the slightest reference to it. What was I thinking?

For each of my characters I need to go back through my story and find appropriate places to gently remind the reader of my characters' unique traits. Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Character Development: Individual Physical Responses

In my writing I am always searching for ways to make my characters more individual. After all, the only person I have to draw from is me so adding uniqueness to my characters can be a daunting task.

One thing that I have been trying to focus on is situational mannerisms. Physical reactions that we have to specific situations. I tend to suck my breath in loudly when I am surprised – a trait that my family finds entertaining. My husband does not suck in his breath when surprised.

While there are common reactions to surprise, fear, excitement, etc . . . it is unlikely that you would have two people in your story that have identical reactions to everything. (Unless their similarity is the unique aspect.)

For example:

Nervousness - Some bite their nails, pace, sweat, or prattle incessantly.

Anger - Some turn red, others white; shout, go silent; stare, can't make eye contact.

When you know what your character's reaction is, you can tell your readers how the character feels through the reaction and give them a familiarity with the individual at the same time.

Samuel dug the toe of his shoe into the dirt, looking down as heat flushed across his face. Best Blogger Tips
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