Apr 132016
 

Whatever you do, please don’t over-animate your characters. Some writers have a bad habit of making their characters move and use body language every time they speak or sometimes every time they are mentioned in a scene. If your character is distressed, they might do one or two of the movements listed below, but they don’t tend to go through the whole list in a few pages.

This sheet could be much longer. For instance, I’d add “looking down and to the left” under lying and “gripping something so hard knuckles turn white” to anger, but this list can help you think of another body language you’ve seen people display under certain situations. As always, this is only a tool to make you think, not a comprehensive list…

body language

Oct 122010
 

The difference between a blocked artist and a lazy artist was first up this week in The Artist’s Way. Lazy is pretty self-explanatory, but a blocked artist actually isn’t lazy. Just because an artist is blocked doesn’t mean they aren’t expending tons of energy on fear, self-loathing, self-doubt, regret, jealousy, and so on. I’ve personally spent a large amount of time on all of the above, so I guess I can stop calling myself lazy now.

Creative U-Turns was another thing I could relate to this week. A creative u-turn is when artists sabotage themselves. As an example, I thought I had an agent for a time. After discussing what this agent was doing, several colleagues told me I was probably being set up for a scam and to walk away. I talked to the agent and he was indeed setting me up the way they described and I ran away with my tail tucked between my legs. I was hurt. I felt used and unworthy because I didn’t recognize the signs.

A couple of weeks later, an opportunity practically fell in my lap. Instead of jumping on it, I decided to continue to brood and lick my wounds. I wasn’t sure I could trust anyone and I wasn’t sure I trusted myself anymore. Instead of doing a little research to find out if the deal was legit, I turned it down. I scoffed at the idea. Turns out it was legit, of course.

Another example, a short story I wrote was offered publication if I made a few changes. I didn’t even contact them back. I was afraid, but I have no idea why. Afraid of success? I don’t really think so. I think I was more afraid that this one editor was insane and would be the only person in the world to actually like my piece. I remember having a vision of the magazine collapsing after publishing my piece because everyone hated it that much. As if I really had that much power.

The next section, Blasting Through Blocks, was designed to help to identify anger, resentments, and grudges. For some people, simply identifying problems can lead to resolution. When you actively write down these resentments, they can instantly seem childish, unwarranted, and silly.

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