Creative Writing Exercise: Use Body Language

    Welcome to our Creative Writing Exercises, designed to flex your creative muscles.

    We’re thrilled that so many of you are participating in our writing prompt series.

    How it works

    • We set the scene
    • You steal it, make it your own, and
    • Share your creation in the comments section of this post

    Of course, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to share your work, but we hope you’ll do the exercise anyway.

    The ground rules:

    • Your story must begin with the exact wording we provide.
    • Your story must be 350 words or less.
    • Your work must be original and not previously published.
    • WTD provides an encouraging and safe environment for writers to grow and learn from each other. We’d love you to comment on other people’s submissions in a friendly and supportive manner.
    • We reserve the right to delete any comments or entries we deem inappropriate and those that do not meet the specifications above.

    This month’s installment Using Body Language helps you to exercise your creative muscles by adding depth and nuance to your characters through the use of body language. Remember, you’re showing, not telling.

    I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. 

    Now make it your own.

    We can’t wait to read what you come up with, so please add your submission to the comments section of this post.

    By Vinita Zutshi who also blogs at Carefree Parenting.

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at and for her cutting-edge book, Youthful Aging Secrets. In her “spare” time, Mary is also the brains behind, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • twitter says:

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    • Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
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    • Paul skinner says:

      I watched her forefinger creep toward her teeth,as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor.

      This girl had vivacious curves and big,pouty lips. She was getting a tattoo of a rose
      On her lower back. She oozed sexiness and appeal as she leaned over for the tattoo artist.

      She seemed like a very confident woman who knew what she wanted in life.
      Her demeaner was sullen and unabashed .

      I was next in line to get a tattoo that said mom on my right shoulder.
      We talked while she was getting hers done.
      She had a laugh that said come hither.
      After she got her tattoo she told me goodbye as her hips swayed back and forth
      To her red Porsche . I never saw her again much to my chagrin!!!

    • Judith Krouse says:

      “I watched her forefinger creep toward her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on her floor.”

      ‘What does that mean,’ thinks Sue, as the singer sings.

      “I was getting warm with all the heat,
      She is a person I adore.” He continued to sing.

      ‘He has a beautiful voice and I know he writes his own songs. He is cute,’ Sue thinking. I wonder who he is talking about.’

      He, Fairlaine Fisher, finished his song. there are a few who are clapping, after all, this is a small club that generally has few people each evening. He bows and walks off stage.

      ‘I have to meet and talk to him,’ Sue thinking. She goes in the back where the dressing rooms (room) are. There isn’t anyone to stop her, because there’s no need. Only small time singers come here.

      Sue knocks on Fairlaines door. He yells, “come in.” She opens the door and he is sitting in front of a mirror. It resembles a scene seen on tv and movies.

      “Hello,” Sue begins, “I think your singing is beautiful and I know you write your own songs. May I ask what the last song you sang means? Who were you thinking of when you wrote it?

      “Well, that’s a couple of good questions. Thank you for enjoying my singing. I wrote that song last night. I was inspired by you,” Fairlaine looking into Sue’s eyes.

      “What! Why! How!”

      “I have notice you whenever you come into the club, every week.”

      “I do love your singing and … ah, go ahead”.

      “I was hoping you would want to meet me. It isn’t hard to do here. Whenever I see you each night, you have a tendency to put your fingers to your face, usually i different places and I noticed your teeth at one point. As for the tattoo tapping, just my impatience in meeting you. I would have come to you sooner or later.”

      “Oh, wow.”

      “Let’s find a table and I will tell you about my next song.,”


    • Kate says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. I leaned out to stop her.

      “Don’t,” I said.

      She nodded distractedly and placed her hands in her lap. Her eyes scanned the room – at the fish darting around their tank, at the fitness and housekeeping magazines piled to her left, at her toes. Anywhere but at me. She had remained still for less than a minute before she started to pick at the skin around her right thumbnail. All of her fingers looked raw and chewed up, but her thumbs were by far the worst. They looked like bloody little stumps. They’d always been bad, but she had kicked the habit about six months ago. Well, temporarily, I suppose. She had started up again once we had received the diagnosis. God, it had taken her a full year to stop. She went to a hypnotist, used weird bitter nail stuff, and slept in these hilarious “lotion gloves.” She was a woman on a mission. Finally, after months of abstinence, she pranced around the apartment gleefully. “Look!” she had cried, wiggling her polished and hangnail-free fingers beneath my nose. They were decorated with wild rainbow sparkles, completely unprofessional and completely her. I had laughed and kissed the palm of each hand. “They’re beautiful,” I had whispered.

      I slipped one of my hands into hers and squeezed.

      “Look at me,” I said. She raised her eyes and I could tell she was holding back tears. “It’s going to be okay. I promise.”

      “Jonathan McCrae?” A voice called. It was the nurse, who stood with a tidy clipboard her hands, eyebrows raised at me expectantly. I pulled her hands closer, and kissed each palm gently before I stood. “I promise,” I repeated.

      I took a deep breath and walked towards the nurse. With purpose. I wanted to look secure for her. Worry-free. But I wasn’t. I was terrified.

      It was time to face the music.

    • Steven Y says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. Everything was fuzzy, her finger a blur, her teeth indistinct white flashes. Her forefinger – dragging her whole hand behind it – felt around and inside her mouth, pushing teeth into gums with a soft squelching sound.   My feet demanded my attention. The tattoo became more regular as the toes flexed, scrunching up and dragging the rest of the foot behind them, extending, then scrunching again. In this way they navigated the mess of body parts – mine and hers – strewn across the floor. My right eye watched as my feet found my legs, my left eye watched as her face was assembled, as her hand crawled like some industrious insect attaching ears and popping eyeballs into place.   We assembled in opposite order. Her hands entwined in her hair and dragged her head to her torso, whilst my legs attached to my hips. Her arms joined her shoulders as my hips wriggled towards my torso.   Step by step we put ourselves together; two jigsaw puzzles made of skin and bone and muscle. My body, a torso complete save for the head, clambered uncertainly to its feet. Her body, I saw from the corner of my left eye, sat on the floor, screwing feet to ankles with several vigorous twists. My right eye watched my body stumble to my head, watched my body pick it up and place it atop my shoulders. Flesh melded, and a second later I was all but complete.   Somehow, the final part was the most difficult. Eyes which pointed in different directions made coordination tricky. My body staggered as if drunk towards my left eye. My hand descended, growing larger and larger. The world spun. A popping sound resounded through my skull.  Almost done. The final step, my right eyeball a swift formality.   I looked at her. Finally, I could see clearly. Her mouth twisted into an ‘o’ of consternation. I looked at her, saw shapely legs, breasts. Her face. Stubble.   Stubble?   “Something has gone horribly wrong,” we said.  

      • Steven Y says:

        Sorry… my paragraphs appear to have disappeared…

    • I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. Elizabeth’s smile relaxed, and her gaze shifted from my eyes to her Something-tini.

      “Is that your best offer?” she said.

      I quieted my restless foot. She tilted her head and shifted her focus back to my eyes. Her hair, just a tad lighter than the oak paneling behind her, draped her face.

      “Offer?” I asked?

      Her smile expanded. “Yes. Offer. What would you call it?”

      I drew a deep breath though my nose. I read somewhere that’s supposed to calm the nerves.

      “How’s your drink?” I asked.

      She looked at the martini glass. Her eyes followed a tear of sweat creeping serpentine down the side toward the stem. She squeezed her brow a bit, then that soft, delicate finger thoughtlessly killed the sweat bead.

      “Yes,” she said, and looked back into my eyes. The length of hair she’d secured behind her left ear escaped its cage and fell across one eye.

      I tried to stay cool, nonchalant, but my shoulders jerked a bit. I’m sure my eyes widened, too. As I started to say, “let’s go,” her forefinger, perfect as a nail polish ad, floated across the table and pressed against my lips.

      “I said ‘yes,'” she repeated. “Take me home.”

    • Michael says:

      Very cool exercise. I always thought the “scene stealer” idea would be a great way to start a three hour formal writing class. I’ve never been to a writing class, but a scene stealer would offer a large diversity of topics to choose from and offer lots of opportunities for class critique. Writing is fun, isn’t it? Playing with words is the next best thing to playing an instrument, or playing with a paintbrush. It should ALWAYS be fun.

    • Michael says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor, all to the beat of the song the band was banging out. It was a cross between a ska beat and a reggae beat, but with more of a fast jingle-jangle coming from the drum sticks. It was danceable enough. I take a sip of my Gin&Tonic and look back over her way.

      She sees me watching her. She grabs my gaze, holds it in her eyes, smiles, then turns her lingering smile to the dude singing in the band. She seems awfully damn happy to be sitting in this shit-hole bar. She probably knows the guys in the band. One always has to assume that. An attractive woman with a big smile sitting at a table all by herself?

      I look over to the bar. Full bar, but no one there is smiling. Half the bar is watching the goddamn television. Doesn’t make sense. Goddamn television on in a bar while the band is playing. I light a cigarette. Then I see her light a cigarette. That’s a good sign, right? The band finishes the song then snaps right back into another song quicker than I can tap my foot to the change. Tight band. Serious musicians. For some reason or another, they remind me of vintage Joe Jackson. I dig the bass player with the beard and the big smile. He looks higher than a kite. He’s all over the place with his fingers as his eyes move from one face in the bar to the next.

      A woman in a short, loose black skirt and lavender sleeveless top skates past the band and sits down next to the girl with the cigarette. I can tell, they’ve been expecting each other. The one with the cigarette motions with her eyes in my direction and the lavender girl looks over. I smile, take a sip of my drink and take a long drag on my cigarette. This might turn into a long night. Good thing there’s no work tomorrow.

    • Please, keep in mind that english is not my native language. I’m from Brazil and I’m trying to get used to write texts in english. So… expect some grammar/ spelling mistakes. 🙂

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. I was finally calming down and I started to feel a little bit nauseous. My whole body started to shake and I almost left the baseball bat that was in my hand fell down on the floor. I have never hit anyone before and now I was with my feet on the tattooed chest of a man that was lying down on my kitchen’s floor.
      She looked confused and stopped for a second under the doorway.

      – What happened here? I heard a loud noise. Are you OK?

      – I’m fine.

      I was not really fine. Things started to get a little strange lately since the beginning of the mysterious “disappearance” of random people all around the city. Everybody was worried with the possibility of being the next one.

      A couple of months ago a guy did not show up at his office in a Tuesday morning. No big deal. His colleagues thought that he was sick, maybe a cold. They tried to reach him with no success. It turns out that no one in his family knew where he was too. He simple disappeared! After a couple of days missing they called the police. They broke into his apartment and what they found there was surprising. Absolutely nothing. No signs of violence. The TV was still on and a bottle of beer recently opened was on the table near the couch. Even the bottle cap was there. It looked like he was on the bathroom and could get back at any minute!

      – This guy broke into our house! I was here drinking water and he came in through the window! I hid behind the door and smashed his head!

      Her confused expression turned to a shocked surprise. She put her hands on the mouth like she was trying to avoid screaming.

      – Is he dead? Did you kill him!

      – I don’t know! I hope not! I didn’t hit him that hard!

      – Where is he?

      – Here! On the floor! Just a couple of steps from where you are!

      I stepped away from the body. She entered the kitchen slowly, looking for the body with her feet. She kicked gently his arm and lower down to touch him.

      After the first disappearance, several others were reported on the news – a homeless guy that lived in a shelter downtown, a police officer, a bus driver, an engineer, an elderly, a kid. Apparently there was no pattern. All cases were similar – No signs of violence. No fingerprints. No clues at all. The police were intrigued and no one had any idea of where all these people were or what happened.

      But everything started to get really big on the news when two people disappear. First, it was a retired famous film director and them the city mayor.

    • Sukumar Karmakar says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor.
      Indecent! I stopped it.
      ‘’You are much too beautiful! Do you want me to feel depressed?’’, and that was her reaction. I shouldn’t have told her that way from nowhere. I don’t know her and neither she.
      Now you could guess what that running in her mind was: Shit! Another flirt.
      The bar was not so crowed & I haven’t seen her before here.

      ‘‘It’s wrong to be beautiful, now I come to know!’’, sternly she replied on my face & sipped her red wine glass smoothly. I said nothing simply smiled as a reply. Expected answer!

      Defensive mechanism!

      Of course you fight back when you don’t like. You hate. You scream when you’re in trap. She might have been in trap for her beauty before & facing it, perhaps now.

      ‘’It’s wrong to be beautiful ..!’’

      I ordered drinks for both of us, suddenly -Vodka for me.

      ‘‘But I haven’t finish…’’,
      ‘’Birthday’’, I stopped her in middle.

      ‘’Happy Birth Day Mr ….’’, I stretched my hand & told my name – John.
      ‘’But you should be at home on this day, John, why alone here. Should be with family, isn’t it?”

      I didn’t answer. No I couldn’t. I looked down at my drink, sipped a little, placed it on that shinny wooden table & started scribbling; don’t know what on that foggy wall of my glass.

      She was waiting for my turn.

      ‘’I am at home. You’re wrong. A home .. a home is not a place but feeling’’
      She laughed then, facing at … No, not at me, but at that faint shadow of her on table & remained quiet after that.
      …… LOST.

    • KBS Krishna says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor.
      “It won’t hurt, yes?” There was a note of fear in her voice.
      I nodded impatiently. “Of course not. Hundreds have it. Daily.”
      “I guess so. But..”
      “Now, what? Well, madam, I hope you won’t mind…but, you see, I have got nine more root canals to do before I leave, and…” I trailed off, noticing that she was about to stand up. “No, No! You misunderstood me. I didn’t intend to, well, hurry you. But..”
      With an almost regal gesture she quieted me. “No, doctor. Its my fault. Was behaving like a kid. Please get it done with..quickly”.
      I ushered her to the chair, and donned the surgical gloves. I wondered if I should anesthetize her. It made sense, of course.
      Probably it won’t be needed. In pain, women are very vulnerable. At least, that is what my experience had been.
      As I reached her, my only hope was that he would not call off his holiday and come to office. I mean, the dentist.

    • Glenn says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. She seemed to have very little interest in the magazine she was reading so intently ten minutes earlier. Forty-five minutes of waiting to see the specialist will do that to anyone, I’d imagine. I knew this all too well, seeing as how I had been waiting for more than an hour. I wasn’t very interested in what I had been reading either, a three-year-old issue of Popular Mechanics. Honestly I was so distracted by the subtle waiting-room music, awful artwork all around me, horrid wallpaper, and general tension between my fellow waiter, myself and the receptionist behind the counter, barely acting like she knew we were there.

      At that point, the young lady made a frustrated sigh, not really loud enough for anyone to hear, but in a state like this one, I tend to have heightened senses, for no real reason. She put the magazine down and didn’t bother to replace it with anything. She must have figured she couldn’t possibly be waiting that much longer! She uncrossed her legs, and sunk downward in her chair, stretching her arms at the same time, attempting to make the best of the semi-comfortable waiting room chairs.

      It was at that point that I decided to break the silence, probably due to my own sense that I’d go completely bonkers if I didn’t break the silence at that moment. “Nice day today, isn’t it?” I attempted, and even as I heard the words leave my mouth I regretted them. Probably the lamest opening line for a conversation in world history.

      “Yeah….its pretty great. A little warm for me, though.” was her reply. She seemed glad for the distraction, in spite of its triviality.

      I sat up more straight in my chair and leaned forward, resting my arms on my knees. Just as I was preparing my next attempt at human contact, the door opened, and a young man in surgical scrubs called my name, along with the very standard, tried-and-true “The doctor will see you now.”

      I found this so jarring I nearly fell out of my chair. It was nothing compared to the rapidity with which my fellow waiter’s expression changed from tired blankness to utter hatred, hatred of the person who has doomed her to continue to wait.

      All I could do was smirk slightly, stand up, and walk out.

    • I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. Perhaps I ought to have told her about the rather large piece of raisin and cinnamon cake that had been there for a good fifteen minutes since the ambassador had approached to introduce himself but the fact she had not offered me any had, I’m a little ashamed to admit, made me somewhat resentful, not to mention the fact that she had physically (and rather forcibly) interjected my handshake with him and practically removed my existence from the room, so much so that even my insistent foot tapping seemed to pull attention away from her.
      I began to look around the room in the attempt to find something that might interest me just enough to console my feelings of rejection and embarrassment but that only served to coerce my mind into the pursuit of answers to the simple question of ‘why?’.
      Why did the Ambassador not make a point of shaking my hand? After all, he did attempt to shake mine first; that was quite obvious. Then again, it was just as obvious that she had rather rudely interrupted his handshake so why was this being ignored?
      Why was I being ignored?
      If my presence wasn’t required or wanted then why on earth was I here? Why did I even get an official invitation in the first place?
      Then an awfully belittling thought struck me; was I simply here to make her look good?
      She was only slightly senior and neither of us were unattractive women so why were they all completely ignoring me and surrounding her with huge beaming smiles on their faces?
      As I watched her arrogance grow and her body language become so theatrical, another thought struck me and suddenly my rejection, embarrassment and resentment began to fade as a huge beaming smile grew across my face; I didn’t have a comically large piece of cake stuck in my front teeth.

      NB Just a quick off the cuff 7minute first draft!!

    • I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor.

      “I thought this was supposed to work,” I hissed at the man in the corner. In the shadows, one of his shoulders lifted. I glared at the pattern on the floor, but the Amelia’s finger continued its inching march to her mouth, a sticky trail like trailing paint behind it.

      I tapped my feet again, sweeping and grinding through the dust. Beyond the screen door, Rusty’s barks rose sharp and bright as sparks into the black canopy of trees. And past Rusty, low and splashing, the gators began to howl.

      “You said this would work,” I shouted at the silent black figure, curled and coiled and quite accustomed to cruelty. “I paid you for this to work.”

      The pink nail of Amelia’s finger was ragged and edged with swamp mud, but her hands had always been strong. Her knuckle, so slender and white, the perfect knoll I had kissed more times than I had breath, was the shredded meat of a butcher’s nightmare. Still, mindless, it inched.

      And then the worst of it: Amelia’s mouth opened, and she began to sing.

      “Make it stop,” I raged, realizing too late that my back was against the shack wall, the brown smell of rotting leaves and dead things gathering in my nose, the back of my throat, the flat pink of my tongue. “Make her stop that right now.”

      In the corner, the old man made a sound like laughter thumbed inside out. On the floor, Amelia sang her finger to her, cooing in a gnawed sprawl, as her own ripped, red flesh sought the thread of blood and bone. The torn pink nail nestled into the corner of her mouth, and Amelia suckled.

      “You liar,” I whispered finally, inching along the wall until I was out of her line of sight. Beyond the door, Rusty’s head lifted. “You keep her.”

      I ran, and didn’t stop until I couldn’t hear her song.

    • Jim Porter says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor.

      I pulled out my Glock, tromboned the slide, and pointed it at Gilroy’s crotch. I tapped his chest tattoo again with my foot. Gilroy continued to hold the front of his pants. Can’t say I blamed him. You never want to be on the receiving end of a dead on balls-shot. He’d had the honor.

      “ROLL OVER, GILROY!” I barked as I watched Red-Lotus-Flower, or whatever name she was using here in London. “And YOU!” I snapped at ole Red-Lotus-Flower. “Check your teeth later. You’ll be disappointed. I see toothless gaps from here.”

      I was still breathing a little hard as I held my gun on both of them. They’d put up fight, but I’d taken Red-Lotus-Flower down with the first thing that came to my hand, a crystal ash tray, smashing it into her nose and upper lip, flooring her. Gilroy came at me, thinking I wasn’t paying attention. I caught him right in the zipper. Groaning and grasping desperately at himself, he screamed F-sharp above high C. It’s kind of neat having perfect pitch. It never helped me much in my work as CID Warrant Officer. But it was always funny later when I was telling someone how my take-downs went.

      “Red,” I Growled. “You move your Chinese butt over here, put your nose on the floor—PUT YOUR NOSE ON THE FLOOR—or the Shuanggui will be paying your salary to your replacement. She glared at me, spouted something in Mandarin—I could hear a lot of z and s sibilants that probably cursed my ancestors’ testicles back 1,000 years.

      I didn’t care. I had the Gilroy and Red, though I still think her name was Luiminous Fountains of Desire. That’s what Kelly used to call her. But Kelly had gone through the Army language school, and I didn’t. I still spoke a rough form of American dialect called Hell’s Kitchen Brogue. It was easier to swear in Hell’s Kitchen Brogue. That’s why I never gave it up.

      • Michael says:

        Hey Jim…..that was sweet man. Nice job, and funny too. Very important I think to be able to keep a sense of humor in the middle of a dramatic scene. All the best could do it. GREAT fist paragraph….you sucked me right into the story. I think this is such a great exercise. This is how a three-hour writing class should start….with a fifteen to twenty minute scene-stealer….don’t you think?? look forward to reading more of your “scene stealers”. I enjoyed the little story a lot.

    • Bob McInnis says:

      I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. Was this the moment? Had she finally agreed to my proposal? The past 20 minutes had been tense, full of expectations with anxiety squirting out the edges. It had seemed so simple, so serendipitous – I never imagined there would be any hesitation. We know each other, we like each other. She had a need and I desperately wanted to fill it for her. Had I misread the signs? Did I overstep personal boundaries? Was mixing work with relationships somehow taboo? “Oh my God, what if she said “NO”” How could we ever return to where we were before I popped the question?
      Our relationship hadn’t been easy but these past months we had found a give and take that wasn’t competitive. A friendly tennis match, no killer overhead slams and no feeble lobs. We really liked each other. I really liked her. Had I started a rally that we couldn’t continue?
      Well, I am sticking to my guns. She needed me and I needed this. It would be great for both of us. The benefits would strengthen our friendship. The ball was in her court. It came down to her simply saying “yes “or “no”. My proposal was honest, fair, and reasonable and I guaranteed she would be more than satisfied. I am sure she would tell all her friends about it and I would be busy satisfying her desperate friends who couldn’t find someone who could do the job. What else could I say?
      After all, I wasn’t asking her to sleep with me. I was only asking her to be my first client in my house painting venture. What could go wrong?

    • I watched her forefinger creep towards her teeth as my feet tapped a tattoo on the floor. It was obvious that she wasn’t sure about her next move, only trying to distract me with her feminine charm before she moved her piece. I knew I had her, that it was only a matter of time before the game was over, and her next move, no matter how eloquent, would lead to my victory.

      I smirked at her as her eyes flashed toward me, her finger finally resting on her lip. I sat back, my foot still tapping the black tattoo of a knight on the marble floor. Arrogance covered me as I watched her make her mind up and reach her hand toward her bishop. My left hand smoothed over my beard as her fingers gripped the piece. She moved it across the white tiles, placing it in the way of her king. She stuttered her release as she looked at the board again. With a deep sigh, she let go.

      My eyes lit like electricity as I pounced forward, ready to make my final move. Her slumped shoulders and her down turned face let me know she already knew the game was over. I gripped my knight, eager anticipation of my next move causing my fingers to shake.

      I made my move, and as if one fluid motion, I stood up, raising my hands in victory and looked at her.

      “Checkmate!” I exclaimed, breathing out my victory into the atmosphere.

      I had finally won.

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