Writing what someone else is doing and understanding them by it is one of the hardest things to pull off in writing.
There are bad examples all over the literature world and then there are good examples. One of them I happened to read too casually for one page and passed the book on and now I’ve spent nearly a year searching for it. Body language is important, it defines the characters the best way possible and makes them real.
In animation, they suggest looking how people walk, to understand the character. The character is often defined by the way they walk and thus it is the hardest part to pull off. I suggest reading the chapter from Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams. If nothing else, then that chapter, where he talks about the importance of the walk.
Even if you are not into animation, why I highly suggest reading this (countless already), is how it teaches you to observe and use what you see.
So, exercise, anyone?
“The noise of the plain was unbearable when it turned its nose towards Washington. Mathew had never liked flying and today was no exception. He usually crunched somewhere in front seats and prayed his way through it. But he still hated the sound, that painstakingly shallow hauling that raked havoc in his head, pulling extra lines in his already frowning forehead.
Today it was worse, he had landed too close to the engines and it made his fingers clung in fists. The heavy vibration only added to the agony, when it run through the seats and through his fist, turning his skin into unpleasant wobbly waves. He pulled his hands away, sickened by the feeling and pushed them under his arms, fixing them so they couldn’t perform this repelling dance anymore.
He immediately looked up, searching if anyone had noticed his unpleasant reaction; no one hadn’t even raised their heads.
Except one bored young lady, who was staring right at him. He frowned in resentment, but she simply turned her eyes away and yawned. Just as fast his eyebrows fell, they shoot back up.
Her fingers began drumming on the plastic table and her eyes kept looking around in haze. Suddenly they stopped. Her fingers crawled forward and quietly, but defiantly dig into the front seat.
An older man, startled by the sudden finger in his seat, pushed up and searched the sudden motion from the behind, before frowning harsh – receiving only innocent smile and questioning eyes – turned back.
Moment later the finger landed back in the foam and disappeared almost completely in it. Then it froze together with the rest of the lady and waited what the front seat man would do. Nothing followed, so her face lightened up. He swore he saw little red horns grow through her blond locks. She sure grew tiny tip of tongue from the corner of her lips and constantly checking the old man, she sweetened her lips and dug deeper with the one finger.
After about ten minutes of digging, she thrust her other finger in it and searched around under the fabric, frowning on her own. She then pulled the fingers out and revealed small capsule between her green nails. It wasn’t big, only an inch long.
She looked puzzled, too surprised to be the one, who put it in there.
“Open it!” he shouted in his head. “Show what’s inside!” His hands fell and he dig fingers in his knees to stop himself from marching over. But he wanted to go over and see the thing between her fingers. His heart started pounding and he grabbed his chest, trying to ease it.
She did open it at last. It made barely audible popping sound and revealed an SD card in it.
She stared at it for a moment before shooting her eyes up and taking quick look around. Her eyes stopped in his. He felt hot and thought he lost all the color from his face, when she suddenly broke off the eye contact, jumped up from her seat and came right over.
“Do you have a laptop, sir?”
He stared at her with wide eyes and before his brain managed to form proper, thought through response, he heard his lips mumble: “No, but I have a camera – SD will fit right in it.”