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Tip Tuesday #63

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to share a tip, please do so. Today's tip was sent in by Rane Anderson who blogs at The Lit Express (love that blog title!). Here she is!

We've all heard that no matter what we say to someone, body language is what communicates most of our message. This should hold up in the stories we write. It's difficult because unlike real life interactions...or interactions in movies...we rely on communicating a message with words and no pictures. We use words to create the pictures. Our characters' body language and facial expressions are still important. Writers rely a great deal on dialogue to move the story along. But to add depth to what our characters say, it's important to tag dialogue with the appropriate body language and facial expressions.

"I'll give you the money," he said obligingly. <-- This is quick and easy, but it's lacking depth.

His nostrils flared a second before he smiled. "I'll give you the money." <-- This isn't as black & white as the the line above. The difference is the subtle suggestion of an emotion besides "obliging." This guy was trying to hide his resentment with a smile, but his involuntary microexpression gave him away to the reader and possibly the other characters.

Love this tip / mini lesson! Rane has a longer post micoexpressions and body language here. It's great! Please check it out and consider following The Lit Express.


  1. Casey and Rane--I love this tip and vivid example. Thanks!

  2. Great advice! Love the idea of a microexpression. Heading over to read the rest now.

  3. I really like this tip. Reminds me of the show Lie to Me.

  4. Rane, thanks for the great tip. It's a great way to add to character development. Thanks.

  5. This is great! I've been following for some time and just started a blog of my own. Please visit: http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

  6. I appreciate all of your comments. And also a big thanks to Casey for posting my tip!

  7. Excellent mini lesson! It's the little things that really help to make a character feel real. Love the tips, Casey!

  8. I've always loved the body expression/non verbal communication side of writing. All the little quirks and faces your character makes can really flesh out the story. Thanks for that!