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How To Show Character Development Through Body Language

How To Show Character Development Through Body Language


Writers Write is a comprehensive resource for writers. In this post, we discuss how you can show character development through body language.

Amy Cuddy, a social scientist, presented a Body Language TED talk in 2012. She speaks about how your posture can change your mindset. When I wrote this, it had already been viewed more than 27 million times. Clearly she has something to say.

We give so much of ourselves away by how we move. I found it fascinating and it made me think of how I can apply it to character development. I want to use her examples of poses to help me show my character’s emotional state through his or her body language.

She refers to High Power Poses and Low Power Poses. High Power Poses are used by people who are typically confident and dominant in a situation. The Low Power Poses are used by people who feel uncomfortable and insecure. Below are examples of the ten poses:

She also says that we complement each other’s body language. If a person assumes a dominant pose we usually assume a submissive pose. Try to use this to show how your character changes.

How To Show Character Development Through Body Language

List your scenes and make a brief note of your character’s emotional state. In the beginning, for example, your protagonist will assume a submissive pose when confronted by your antagonist. At the end of the novel they should be able to assume a more dominant pose. We don’t say ‘stand up to him’ for nothing. [Recommended read: Cheat Sheets For Writing Body Language]

You can use this awesome infographic as a quick reference.

Happy writing and strike a pose. It’ll be good for you and your character.

TOP TIP: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course or join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. Protagonist vs Antagonist Worksheet
  2. First Draft Checklist
  3. Five Incredibly Simple Ways to Help Writers Show and Not Tell

This article has 1 comment

  1. Caroline Gerardo

    I’m going to practice standing tall with my arms up!

Comments are now closed.