So what do we do during dialogue? Let's assume they're in that coffee shop, and 'just talking.'
Here are 25 ideas...some of them overused, but still effective:
- Nod or shake head
- Talk with hands
- Wipe table
- Reading and ignoring
- Checking phone
- Playing game
- Signaling for barista or waitress
- Checking out people in restaurant
- Moving in chair
- Folding or steepling hands
- Crossing arms
- Setting jaw and/or lowering eyebrows in anger
- Sagging shoulders as if fearful or inferior
- Sitting on hands
- Holding hands with someone
- Kissing someone
- Putting arm around someone
- Sipping drink
- Blowing top of drink to cool it down
- Eating something
- Waving at someone
- Laughing or crying--emotion on face
- Lighting a cigarette
And that's just while someone's having a conversation at a coffee shop. Think what they could be doing if they were working on a farm, for example?
So the next time you fall back to 'he nodded' for your action beat, think about what else you could use on this list. And yes, 'nodding' does work, but sometimes, it can be overused.
Have a great week!