Friday, May 4, 2012

Write On Edge Prompt: Body Language

Here's this week's prompt from Write On Edge:

This week, we asked you to focus on dialogue and body language to set a scene or move a story forward, limiting your use of narration.
We gave you an opening line: His crossed arms answered her question before he spoke.

I'm not sure if this scene will ever end up in the longer work, but the male character's story has been kicking around my mind for a while.  I'm at least attempting to set up some back story for him in this scene.  Let me know what you think of him.

   His crossed arms answered her question before he spoke, “What do you think?”

   Tears pooled in her dark eyes.  She clutched her stomach as if it were her only lifeline, “I’m sorry.  I had orders.”

   He arched one eyebrow.

   She sat down and stared at the floor.  He could see she struggled to even look at him.

   ‘As well she should,’ he thought to himself.

   He watched her start to fidget under the intensity of his unrelenting gaze.  She glanced up several times but looked away immediately.

   “My orders were to come get you at 0545.”

   “And the LZ?”

   She flinched.  Her knuckles were turning white.  He was sure she’d end up with bruises on her sides.  He couldn’t muster the energy to care.  He hurt too much for that.  He tucked his hands into his front pockets.

   Tears splashed onto the cement hanger floor.  She wouldn’t even look up anymore.  It was answer enough.

   “Why?” his voice was soft and too steady.

   “I-,” she glanced up to see the stark white bandages covering most of his muscled, tawny chest including his Black Ops tattoo.  He should have been getting his blue Command stripe added to it right now.  He could see the guilt over the fact that he wasn’t squashing her down like clay.

   “I wanted to help.  I overheard on the link your mission hadn’t gone as planned.  I thought moving the LZ a little closer might make your extraction easier,” he strained to catch her words.

   “Did it ever occur to you that the LZ was positioned at those specific coordinates for a reason?”

   “Yes,” she folded in on herself a little further.”

   “And yet you, a damn drop pilot, decided to change those coordinates without authorization and not bother to fucking inform me before you just drop in?  Were you looking to kill me?” the tone in his voice was scaring her, which pleased him a little.  He was getting through to her.

   She looked up at him, pleading for his understanding in every line of her body, “I swear.  I just wanted to help.  The intel I had said the area was clear.”

   “Yeah.  Real clear.”

   He walked away feeling her eyes follow him to the door.  He paused at the door, listening.  He heard nothing.  Palming the door open he left her behind.


  1. I like the word choices - white knuckles, palming door, and the dialogue was sharp and punchy.

    well done!

  2. Great job! I like the guy already!

  3. I love the juxtaposition between dialogue and actions. It's so true how we say one thing but our body betrays us.

  4. captivating. If this character as been "kicking around" for a while, maybe that means he's meant to be. Kind of the way I've been writing these days. Letting the kicking around stuff lead the way....

  5. He sounds like someone you don't want to mess with.

  6. I also enjoyed this. I like the word captivating that one of your posters used. Well done!

  7. You did a good job letting the tension build in their body language as the conversation progressed. It seemed realistic, though my Black Ops experience is fairly limited :)

    And even if this doesn't end up in the finished story, I think it is always a good thing to dig deeper into the story behind your characters.

  8. The body language and blocking are great here, they really punch up the dialogue.

  9. This really flowed nicely. The body language was fantastic, the dialogue natural, the tension almost visible. I have no military experience, but I was able to gather she really screwed up. :)

    Would love to read more.

  10. The dialgoue really moves the piece along - but I especially loved the image: "folded in on herself" - a great descriptor of your character!!


  11. The body language is particularly good--her white knuckles, the way he needs to strain to hear her. It's very visual. The dialogue flows nicely too.

  12. I'm loving this scene. Well done! There was some POV wobbles, but you nailed the body language! Again, so loving it!