Moving your Characters Around

It turns out that you, as writer, become a kind of actor, thinking up the “business” needed to make a scene believable and interesting.  It’s one thing to have characters talk to each other, but what are they doing while they talk?  Are they gesturing?  Making a face of some kind?  Picking up an object that suggests something about them or the story?  Tugging on their clothing?  Doing something with their hair?  Fidgeting in some specific way?

These actions work better than attribution.  You can almost always replace, he said with something like:  Jack subtly ran a hand over his belt buckle to make sure his fly was zipped. 

So let’s play around with this.  I will start the dialogue, and you can add a few more lines to keep the scene going.  However, you have to add the “business” instead of attribution.  Here we go….

Yvonne smirked with half-closed eyes.  “Yeah, right.”

“No, really.  That 2007 Taurus is in primo shape and ready to roll.”  Jimbeau smiled to make his one dimple show and dangled a shiny key in front of her face.

(Your turn!)

7 responses to “Moving your Characters Around

  1. As Yvonne’s face beamed the smile spread. She snatched the keys out of his hand before he could change his mind. Her eyes revealed the love she had for the Jeep. but her body was saying something else. Her left hand raised back as if to strike him.

  2. This can be inserted anywhere in the storyline that makes sense. Or, not.

    Yvonne backed into the bathroom, holding her cell phone with her shoulder as she quietly locked the door. “Hugo? Hugo, this is ‘Vonne. Yes Hugo, ‘Vonne. I need to talk to Valentine. Valentine, Hugo. God damn it Hugo, NOW.”

    Turning around, Yvonne saw a large mirror on the wall directly above a particularly ornate granite double sink. She walked over to it and leaned in, parting her lips to check her teeth for traces of peach-frost lip gloss. She quickly shifted her focus to the corners of her eyes which she smoothed by tightening her face with the palm of her hand. This business was catching up with her.

    “Valentine, ‘Vonne. Yeah, I know it’s two in the morning, what are you, a goddamn banker? Cut the shit. Hey look, I need four kilos delivered by noon today for a premium payback. Yeah, that’s right, four. And not the sorry shit you came up with last time either. This has got to be good.”

    Hooking the side of her baby doll panty with a finger, she wiggled until it fell lose, past her milk-white thighs, to the floor, catching for just a moment on her Harry Winston diamond ankle bracelet. With perfectly pedicured toes, done in bright red, she flicked the silken garment to the wall.

    “Yes Valentine, noon. Afternoon is too late, it has to be noon, and, it has to be good. It is going to be good, isn’t it Valentine? Well, it had better.”

    Yvonne walked over to the toilet, checked the supplies, and took a seat. “Okay then. The usual place. At noon. I’ll have the money, don’t worry about that. Alright. Hey look Valentine, I gotta go.”

    • thornyrosedechile

      Like the conversation, Gary. To me, this piece has the flavor of “Orange is the New Black.” Yvonne=Alex pre-prison.

  3. Yvonne smirked with half-closed eyes. “Yeah, right.”

    “No, really. That 2007 Taurus is in primo shape and ready to roll.” Jimbeau smiled to make his one dimple show and dangled a shiny key in front of her face…

    Yvonne lowered her head and brushed the corn-silk bangs from her eyes. She took a deep breath through her nostrils which flared is a sensual way that Jimbeau understood but could not comprehend.

    Her lips pursed to a pout, “But, Jimbeau. The downpayment is more than I can handle at the moment.” Long fingers tipped with crimson nails reached into her blouse above the top button and she made a feminine adjustment to her bra. Jimbeau’s eyes followed their movement like a bass after a spinner bait. Her tongue traced the contour of her pout as Jimbeau’s jaw dropped ever so slightly. She closed the distance between them with a step that was more of a whisper and pushed a breast into his arm. Jimbeau felt petrified as its natural softness pressed against his arm which tightened in recoil at her touch.

    Yvonne’s pout spread like melted butter to a slight smile as she laughed to herself. Stupid men she thought. The trick works every time.
    Yvonne placed a fingertip to her lips feigning pensive thought. Their crimson color matched the color of her nails, and not by coincidence.

    Using the same finger, she touched Jimbeau’s dimple and traced its contour seductively as a shark circling its prey. Her eyes stared hypnotically into Jimbeau’s as Jimbeau felt another muscle tighten. He was thankful that he had worn boxers and not briefs.

    Yvonne flicked the tip of her fingernail down his chin, and cocked her head to the right just a tad. “Guess we just won’t be able to do bizness today, Jimbeau,” with emphasis on the zee sound. And with that she turned toward the street.

    Jimbeau’s mouth tried to make words, but all that came out was a guttural girgling of his vocal chords. The key still dangled from his outstretched hand as in a mimicked pose of the famous portrait of Socrates. He stood, deflating, and watched Yvonne’s slender legs lift her up the steps of the crosstown bus.

  4. Oooo, a modern bodice-ripper. “Understood but could not comprehend.” So true, love it.

  5. Yvonne smirked with half-closed eyes. “Yeah, right.”

    “No, really. That 2007 Taurus is in primo shape and ready to roll.” Jimbeau smiled to make his one dimple show and dangled a shiny key in front of her face…

    Yvonne’s hair swished like yellow wind as she turned her head to Harry’s car lot across the street. She licked her chapped lips and reached in her purse for her lipstick. Jim fidgeted with impatience as she coated her lips. He ran the figures through his head one more time.

    “Okay, Yvonne. I’ll drop another two-fifty of the price. Whadd’ya think?”

    Yvonne’s attention stayed with the lot across the street, on a red Mustang in particular.

    “I talked with Harry yesterday,” cooed Yvonne. “Offered me a sweet deal on that Mustang.”

    Jim’s lips tightened like piano wire. His salesman’s smile now a grimace. Yvonne continued staring at the Mustang.

    Yvonne shouldered her purse and stepped toward the street.

    “Yvonne. Wait!” urged Jim in panic as he watched his first commission of the week begin to evaporate. “Five hundred! I’ll drop five hundred.” He cringed as her heard the panic in his own voice.

    “How about a thousand, Jim?” Drop the price a thousand?”

    Jim’s lips moved in silence like he was speaking in Braille.

    Yvonne lifted her shades and gave him a last chance look over her shoulder.

    “I can’t Yvonne,” Jim pleaded. “I just can’t.”

    “Doesn’t matter anyway, Jim,” spit Yvonne. “I wouldn’t buy a car from any man who thought I looked good in a Taurus.”

    With that, she adjusted the hem of her skirt and stepped toward the Mustang she had bought yesterday.

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