Did you know that 55% of your thoughts and emotions are conveyed through body language alone. 33% is through tone of voice and 7% is through words.
Using body language in your novel is a great way to convey feeling and emotion without saying it, especially if you’re against using every word under the sun instead of ‘said.’ It brings a subtly to your writing, something readers can relate to on a deeper level without telling them what your characters are feeling outright.
There are four types of body language. Try to include these in your writing to bring a greater depth to character and meaning.
This is where we writers thrive. We love nothing more than a good rolling of the eyes, a frown, or the raising of the eyebrows. Facial expressions are the easiest way to convey feeling without telling. Try to change it up a little in your writing. Things like biting lips, scrunching up a nose or eyes widening can mean an array of different emotions, depending on the character.
This is where your character gets physical. Things like fidgeting, tapping feet, or even twisting hair around their fingers can all be used as ‘tells,’ to how a character is feeling, especially if you use them often enough.
This is all about the way a character holds themselves during an event. If they cross their arms, they’re likely on the defensive. Slouching can show uncertainty, holding their head high can mean arrogance or confidence. Posture can give away how a character is really feeling, despite their words or their actions and give them another layer.
You’re more likely to sit side by side with your best friend than your enemy. Use space to show your readers the relationship between your characters. People who are in disagreement are more likely to stand opposite each other at a more personal distance. If one person stands and the other sits, the former is more likely to exert some dominance over the latter. Personal and casual touches between characters can also show the level of comfort they are at with each other.
Good thoughts and happy writing!