In a post on the Writer’s Digest site, Elizabeth Sims recommends using description of a character’s body language to help the reader understand what’s happening with them. This is an excellent idea, and underused.
Most people understand body language intuitively, so you don’t need to explain what a certain posture means, just describe it. If you’re not sure what the different body language signals are, this site will help: (www.changingminds.org/techniques/body/body_language.htm)
It explains that body language comes in clusters of signals and postures. That helps you be more accurate what how people convey their feelings.
For instance, let’s look at closed body language. We’re used to crossed arms. Other signs of this can be crossed legs and looking down or away.
If you want to suggest that Don is not really open to Margaret’s suggestion that they get together again you might write. “Yes, sure, that could be a good idea,” Don said, looking out the window.
If you want to suggest he genuinely is open to the idea, you might write, “Don turned his gaze from the window to Margaret. “Yes, that could be a good idea,” he said.
Obviously body language is only one of many clues you can give about what your character is thinking or feeling but it’s one many writers neglect. Why not add it to your toolbox?
(For friendly advice on how to take your book all the way from idea through to publication, get a copy of my book, “Your Writing Coach,” published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon or your other favorite book seller.)