Jul 24, 2012

Art of Communication – Nonverbal Messages

By Leesa Ostrander

I began reading Wicked because the Broadway play is coming to our region. The beginning chapters have suggestive behaviors, laden with heavy plot building actions, and limited portrayal characters role in the story. The main character’s only spoken word in the first 70 pages is “horror.”
However, you come to love and pity the vile evil portrayed by the main character, Elphaba.

Through her actions there is a feeling of her being extremely misunderstood.
The character descriptions not only describe their physical attributes, but their personalities intertwined with moral character. Elphaba is described as having skin tones the shades of green with long elegant legs and pointed fingers. In the future you see a sophistication of her motives wanting to destroy the ruby red slippers.

I would love to have a book group on the book to discuss thoughts of how did she bath, drink water to hydrate, been splashed by rain. This is for another time.

As for now, I found the nonverbal messages an integral aspect to the story. When including actions that build a character there a few basics to remember. The actions need to be believable, build up the character, not detract from the story and give the reader a sense of connection to each situation.
A few key aspects of nonverbal communication:
-          communicate feelings and attitudes
-          more believable than spoken words
-          create successful relationships
-          can substitute for verbal communication
-          are cultural bound
Characterization and use of nonverbal or action cues give meaning and soul to a character. Each character that is visualized by the reader clearly can be a part of the story and build the plot.

Each character can be alive and believable through using human attributes. With over 80% of our communication from nonverbal messages then our characters need to have these qualities in the story as well.

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