Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's in the Walk

One of the details I put into GW was a nod to the fact that Rhys, my magician, was good at reading people. He knew a bel dame (a bounty hunter/draft dodger police type of person) just by looking at them.

Trouble with this "detail" was, I used that whole "Well, he just KNEW" language. Which looks like (and, let's face it, IS) a handwave. It bugged me again with this scene in Black Desert where he does a deal with three women he pegs as being authentic bel dames. "He just KNEW."

But what did he know? How did he know? Well, something about they way they stood, the way they walked, something, something....

And now I have a better idea on how to properly detail that something.

Check out this great writerly guide to police body language.

1 comments so far. Got something to say?

Perpetual Beginner said...

Pretty much everybody reacts strongly to body language. It just that some people know what they're reacting to consciously, and others never know why.

I have a body-language set that is in some ways (though not all) like a cop's. In particular, I seem to come off as authoritative. The plus side is that people very rarely argue with me. The down side is that I never get offered help (when struggling with luggage or some such). But I doubt that 95% of the people who just assumed I knew what I was doing, knew why they thought that, in the face of concrete evidence to the contrary.