Michille: Body Language, Lying, and Manipulation

https://writerswrite.co.za/10-poses-to-show-character-development-through-body-language/I was noodling around on one of my favorite writing blogs recently and found a post entitled 10 Poses to Show Character Development Through Body Language. The post referenced a TED talk from 2012 by Amy Cuddy about Body Language. Still noodling around the Internet on this topic, I came across this image on bodylanguage.com. These resources reminded me of one of the sessions I attended at an RWA in the past on “Body Language, Lying, and Manipulation” presented by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark (I remember it because Linda Howard also attended it. She sat next to me and went all fan-girl on her). Continue reading

Michaeline: Groundhog Day Always Loops Back to Love

Celtic Heart Knot, intricate with many crossings over and under.

If it were a straight line, it wouldn’t be beautiful, and it wouldn’t be a heart. There’s a certain satisfaction in working through the loops, and arriving back where we started. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies, and I’m trying to establish it as a personal February tradition. Obnoxiously cocky weatherman Phil Connors gets stuck in a time loop that repeats Feb. 2 over and over — perhaps for thousands of years, alternative time. He eventually becomes a good person, wins the love of his producer, Rita, and breaks out of the holding pattern.

This year, I wanted to think about the role love plays in this movie.

My first, standard thought was, “This movie is about Phil’s journey to learning to love, and be lovable.” Sounds good, right? But then, inspired by Elizabeth’s post, I decided to meditate in some hot water. The question came to me, “What did Phil do to make himself lovable?”

“Maybe it’s all about self-esteem?” The thought floated through my head like a bubble on the surface of the bath. “Bingo! Of course it is!” Just like Whitney Houston sings, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all, right?

Note to self: deep thoughts that can be condensed into pop lyrics are a little suspicious. Continue reading

Michaeline: Story Arcs and Flatlines


A rainbow arc poster with a clown artist, dancing girl and other assorted characters. Circa 1898.

Sometimes an arc can look a little crazy in the first draft. Keep the faith! (Cheret, via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s a big idea in genre fiction writing that at least one of the main characters must change. It’s got to be a big change, and it has to be irrevocable. No backsies. Ideally, one has died a death (physical or psychic), and the other has grown into a new, powerful character.

And, I love some stories that follow this pattern. One of my favorite books is Faking It, by Jennifer Crusie. The heroine, Tilda, goes from a reproduction artist to someone who displays and sells her own work. Her dead father goes from being a memory that confines and constricts his surviving family to being put in his place as a memory that guides their actions mostly by being a horrible warning. (The real antagonist is Davy, ((I think)) but to tell the truth, the only psychic death I see him dying is his identity as a playboy. He grows and changes, but I don’t see him fundamentally destroyed. Is this the big, mainplot character arc for most romantic story antagonists? Losing their womanizing or patronizing tendencies?)

But at this point in my life, one of my pet peeves is the story arc that begins with the little lost orphan, hated by everyone, deserted in the rain and mud and feeling so sorry for himself or herself. Sometimes the arc is magnificent, but I must confess Continue reading