Saturday, July 9, 2011

L is for Lies.

Ack. I hit publish and the entire article vanished.
So here I go again, in a much more abbreviated version of the original.

Recently I had to write a chapter where the hero doesn't know if the heroine is lying. The fate of the galaxy could rest on the truth. Can he believe her with billions of lives at stake?

I picked up a book by Joe Navarro called, "What Every Body is Saying." Joe is an Ex-FBI and counterintelligence agent, who specialized in non-verbal communication. He has a lot to say about what a person is really saying with their body, what you can't hear with your ears.

Can a person look you in the eyes and lie? Of course they can. Watch professional poker players when they bluff. The face is the least reliable part of the body to watch. What should you look for if you want to know if someone is being deceptive? What traits would your characters display?

Non-verbal communication is important when you want to add realism to your characters. We've all heard that if you see someone look up and to the left when they're talking to you, they're lying, but what about stroking their neck or face in a gesture called pacifying. Or perhaps you've seen someone freeze for a second after you asked them a question, or wipe their palms down their legs in a gesture called cleansing.

In my humblest opinion, body language is as important as dialog in a novel. Often, too little attention is paid to what the character is saying with their bodies. Study, watch people and what their bodies are saying.

In the situation above, the heroine isn't lying, but my hero needed more to gauge the truth. Her actions spoke louder than words and the mission moved forward, the galaxy was saved.

In Joe's book, I found a wealth of information.
I hope you'll check it out. It can really help you take your character's communication to the next level.

Have a great weekend.


1 comment:

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Oooh, very interesting post. I'm going to have to check this book out. Sounds useful and not just for romantic suspense. Thanks for passing it along.