Friday, October 4, 2013

Writing resources #7

Please enjoy this cute picture of Goo!

Okay, so today, I'm going to go back into emotions again. Besides base, body language, there are actions that a character will take when they are undergoing a certain emotion. I'll start by dropping the wiki how sample 'cheat sheet' that is easy to reference whenever you're cleaning up your day's work.

Emotions cheat sheet

First, I'll go into how I use this cheat sheet. I have other emotions and ideas written out for how I want a character to appear, but if I can't think of one, or I have been echoing actions, I will just {   } and type the emotion in between. Thus, when I go back to clean up the work, I'll see that part, pull up all my emotion resources and add a new action that fits the character/scene.

Then, I clean each action up and make sure they are in Character Voice.

Beyond that, I actually design my characters with a set of two major actions per emotion in mind. This helps to create a character that is while being diverse, very different from other characters. I pick out about 3 or 4 different pieces of body language and 2 ways to express each emotion. These become my 'Character Twitches' and allow me to keep each character from blending in with another character. Though, when removing echoes, I will stray away from this set.

Of the happy (glee) actions listed: I also include fidgeting with the torso (desiring to move), licking the upper-lip (wanting to speak) and constant changing of eye size (excited). (--constantly narrowing and then widening the eyes before narrowing them again, though only at slight degrees, close to blinking without ever shutting the eyes--)

Of the sad (grief) actions listed: Chews on their tongue or cheek (pain helps them forget), pressing their toes into the ground (trying to find something to connect with) and clenching their stomach muscles (wanting to create a disturbance in their body functions/the functions going on in the room to take their mind off of what is wrong).

Of the scared (terror) actions listed: Nose stopping up (showing the body trying to sabotage what the character is doing in order to stop them from moving forward), heavy breathing, but always out of breath (subconsciously wanting to give up) and teeth chattering (unable to control ones own actions).

Of the mad (rage) actions listed: Gritting teeth (wanting to bite something in half), clenching all the muscles in your body/arms/legs (ready to explode on anything that crosses their path) and huffing (unable to control your body).

Of the surprised (surprise) actions listed: Swallowing ones own tongue (wanting to choke, unable to breath and unable to speak), tensed muscles in the legs (feeling a need to run) and pupils dilating (unable to see, body trying to block out the images or having sensory overload to reduce the body's shock at seeing something surprising/shocking)

Of the emotions not listed: disgust, anticipation and acceptance, I have a whole list of things.

I'll do a full emotions blog post at a later date, but to be brief, I'll give a few actions for each of the 3 missing.

Disgust: Spitting (showing that the character has no taste for what just took place), sneering/snarling (the body having a knee-jerk reaction to whatever anyone said to show that the character disapproves of it) and pursing lips while squinting (trying to remove the 'nasty' taste the even left in the character's mouth while removing the image from ones head)

Anticipation: Tapping a foot (the body not wanting to sit still), brushing the tongue across the teeth or pushing it slightly between the lips (showing the body waiting for something to happen and trying to keep itself alert with subtle motions) and chewing on the lower-lip (unable to wait for the news/event to happen, the character begins to come up with situations and outcomes of his/her own in his/her own head)

Acceptance: Sighing (allowing whatever happened to wash over the character), closing their eyes (resigning themselves to their fate) and melting (having all their muscles relax to show their body giving out, no longer able to fight against whatever they had been fighting against up to that point).

Anyway, I hope this helps.

I'll try and do a full emotion post soon, though next Goo break will be about writing tools.

Keep working hard on your writing.

Thanks for reading,

Next: Dialogue

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