Hi! Trying something different this week. In my writers guide, the Literary Handyman, I include a section of writing exercises groups or individuals can use to explore some of what I go over in the book. Well...I thought I would experiment and test a couple of them out here. If you want to help me test them out, paste the exercises (for each one, starting with "In this exercise...") into a comment field and fill it out. (This will either be a great test run or a total flop LOL.) If you aren't comfortable with that, try them out on paper in the privacy of your own space and just drop me a comment if you felt it was a good exercise to be added to a workshop or a future book in the series.
Writing Exercise – Nonverbal Cues: All of us have been told over and over “Show, don’t Tell.” Easy to say, but how do you do it? Particularly with feelings it is easy to fall into telling. How do you show how someone feels? I’d say to pay attention to your own reactions, but most of the time we don’t even notice. So what are you to do? Just look at those around you! All of us have unconscious or conscious reactions to emotion. While everyone does react differently, there are some typical physical acts that correspond to recognizable feelings. Unfortunately, that makes them not only cliché, but also potentially repetitive in fiction.
In this exercise describe three different physical cues for the listed emotions.
Example: Anger – (Her fists clenched. His temple pulsed. She ground her teeth. He punched the wall.)
Writing Exercise – Nonverbal Cues: People and emotions are both complex. Sometimes we feel more than one thing at once. Sometimes certain reactions represent different feelings for each person, we can get an idea of which is appropriate by context, but knowing what is potentially conveyed is important so you know when you need to make it more clear.
In this exercise write down all the different feelings you can think of that would apply to the different physical cues (For this I am counting anything that would complete the sentence “I feel” which could be an emotional or physical feeling).
Example: Bright eyes. Sorrow, Excitement, Pain, Joy
A head toss.