Make Your Characters Move: Think Like a Writer

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30Days-THINK
Here’s another creative writing prompt for your 750 words, a challenge to write 750 words each day to better Think Like a Writer. Read more here.

The Think Like a Writer series continues here with an exhortation to continue thinking in sensory details, the basic exercise of any writer. Today, think about how a person moves as a way to characterize him or her.

Action and Metaphors of Action

She is as lithe as a jaguar.

That simile evokes a certain type of grace and perhaps, stealth, in the movement of a woman. Today, watch everyone around you and record their movement in words. Use strong action verbs. Not walk. Instead, think about stumble, stagger, dance, pirouette, stroll, amble, etc.

And, hardest for me, is to think in terms of metaphors of some type. But metaphors can be some of the most evocative of descriptions.

Here are a couple videos to watch. How would you describe this beginning waltzer?

If you can’t see the video, click here. *|YouTube:l1wPywALl5U|*

Contrast that with these 8-year-old dancers in a competition. You can describe the overall FEEL of the dancer, or take a ten second section and try to describe IN DETAIL exactly how he moves.

If you can’t see the video, click here. *|YouTube:uUPSQYmZqZs|*

Contrast the above with these Tango Soloist.

If you can’t see the video, click here. *|YouTube:C8WkA1ja2-w|*

After writing about each video, read your work over. What does the DESCRIPTION say about your character? How does it make this person come to life in a way that could not be done with interior thought?

750words.com Features

If you are using 750words.com, you can see interesting stats about your writing. At the end of the day’s writing, click the green word count at the bottom and look around the stats about what you just wrote. Pay particular attention to whether you are using lots of visual, auditory or tactile senses. Try to vary your writing to include as many senses as possible.


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Why Editors Focus on Page 1
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2 Comments
  • SueBE
    January 4, 2012

    Darcy,
    I just finished reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. One of the things that I noticed was how she described the enemy fighters. Their movements were described in the same terms you would use for animals, most often feline. It really set them apart as “other.”
    –SueBE

  • Darcy Pattison
    January 4, 2012

    Sue, interesting that the “animal” descriptions made someone feel alien. Great characterization then.
    Thanks for pointing this out, I’ll have to go and read that one.

    DArcy