The subtext of body language

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CageSage
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The subtext of body language

Postby CageSage » Fri, 23 Nov 2018 6:45 am


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Rath Darkblade
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Re: The subtext of body language

Postby Rath Darkblade » Fri, 23 Nov 2018 9:30 am

Hmm. Writing body language is hard! :(

Like one in every sixteen people in the world, I have Asperger's syndrome, which is a neural condition in the high-functioning spectrum of autism. The trouble is, how do you explain that? When I talk to most people about autism, they immediately think Rain Man or Look Me in the Eye. My experience hasn't been like that. It affects everyone in a different way.

In my experience, Asperger's has given me heightened levels of concentration, attention to details, and an increased aptitude for both mathematics and languages. On the negative side, it also gave me increased sensitivity to light and noise, as well as some difficulties in reading (let alone writing!) body language.

It's not a bad life. At least, it's a lot better than it might have been. I'm aware of my limitations, and I work hard to overcome them. I know it's a cliche, but in this case it's true: I just take it one encounter at a time...
There is nothing wrong with nepotism, so long as you keep it all in the family. (Winston Churchill)

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PaulE
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Re: The subtext of body language

Postby PaulE » Fri, 23 Nov 2018 10:12 am

I'm in the same boat to an extent, though I've made an effort to learn about body language. The main problem I have is that I know theory, but have trouble using it in real life (both reading and expressing it).

However, the theory is really useful for my writing. Again, i find role-playing useful here. I put myself in the character's place and try and act/react as they would. I then take note of my own physical cues (quirked eyebrow, crooked grin, clenched fist) and write that down as part of the character response.
"If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do." - Angel

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CageSage
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Re: The subtext of body language

Postby CageSage » Fri, 23 Nov 2018 10:40 am

There's body language as one side of it, but also when the words spoken aloud have almost no relevance to the inner dialogue of the characters, and sometimes, things that aren't said are what's answered by the other character. All nuanced levels of subtext - which basically means the things hidden or not overt.
So, body language is only part of it, and there are at least two other levels of subtext. The outer dialogue versus the inner dialogue, and assumptions of the hearer based on their own beliefs and needs.
There are probably more (NLP has helped me understand how people reinforce outer facades, but also show the tells), but that's enough for me at the moment.
I tend to be the method-acter writer. I put on the character while I'm in their pov, become them for that moment, knowing I can take it off at the end of the session - usually.
but I'm still learning, and I could be wrong - it remains fun to try to figure it out!

And I use kids as my best learning tool - no holds barred when it comes to kids reactions!

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Re: The subtext of body language

Postby Rkcapps » Fri, 23 Nov 2018 11:26 am

Think of subtext like a skilled poker player. The face never reveals what is going on. They're body language hides the truth. They can be holding a winning hand, be excited, and never show it.

If it helps to know, I don't have Asperger's and I still struggle with body language. It's a skill that takes time to develop and it's often trial and error. That's why critiquing is so important. It helps you fine tune. And by helping another writer it can help you with your own.

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CageSage
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Re: The subtext of body language

Postby CageSage » Fri, 23 Nov 2018 12:01 pm

And everyone's different - assumption can be used to good effect in a story!


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