Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Ever heard of Emoticows?

This made me smile.

But what the post — at omnivoracious, by Susan Morris — is really about, is using body language to deepen the emotional impact of your story.

I like the specific mention of nonhuman body language. Morris mentions “How to Train Your Dragon” for that, which is fair enough; let me just add that a good example for nonhuman body language shown with words rather than pictures is (of course) Martha Wells’ Raksura trilogy.

Morris also provides a list of zillions of phrases you can use to express body language. Not sure I like that part — does that make using body language in your novel seem too mechanical? Because I think that might be the effect of overthinking this issue. Which I think might happen, with this kind of list.

But it’s still fun to read.

And I’m still smiling over the Emoticows.

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1 Comment Ever heard of Emoticows?

  1. Elaine T

    Like everything else, if you do it well, it works, if you don’t it’s mechanical. I notice it when the author hasn’t been providing those cues, and then suddenly does. It’s the switch, as if someone said ‘you need to add body language’, and the writer does from that point on, but doesn’t go back. Same with other sorts of detail. I remember reading something a few months back where the author hadn’t provided much cultural/religious information, and suddenly the character had a reminiscence about such stuff. I said to myself, ’bout time. Two pages later the memory had an active role in the action, and we never got any more such detail in the book. THAT is clumsy writing. Sprinkle it in all along, or do something else; in general do a better job and be more subtle.

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