The Fictional Character's
Guide to Acting


Have you ever watched a bad movie? I don't mean the, "It just wasn't my thing" type. I'm talking about the, "Who told those people they could act?" kind of film.

The dialog was horrible. The actors weren't convincing. You found that you didn't care what happened to them. The actors might have seemed like something out of a bad school play.

B-list actors aren't the only ones who don't know how to act. Neither do characters in many books you read. Their dialog leaves you asking, "Who talks that way?"

Painful fact: When Brandon Sanderson reviewed the first chapter of a novel I wrote, he asked that exact same question. Ouch! He was right, though, and my dialog is much better now.

Well, you won't find me wearing a beret or sitting in one of those collapsible director's chairs, but I'm here to do my best to whip your characters (and mine) into shape with some acting lessons.

We'll teach them what to do with their hands when they're relaxed, how to convince us they're sad, and other lessons in body language. Since as much as 90% of all communication is non-verbal, we'll teach your characters how to project emotions without saying a word.

Let's get started. Click on one of the emotions to the right that your character struggles with the most. Now, silence on the set! And... Action!

  • Amusement
  • Anger
  • Annoyance
  • Anticipation
  • Boredom/Disengagement
  • Confidence/Pride
  • Confusion
  • Contentment
  • Curiosity/Interest
  • Defensive
  • Desire
  • Desperation
  • Disappointment
  • Disgust
  • Doubt
  • Embarassment
  • Energetic
  • Enthusiasm
  • Excited/Elated
  • Exhausted
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Guilt
  • Happiness/Joy
  • Hatred
  • Haughty/Smug/Superior
  • Hopeful
  • Humble/Meek/Shy
  • Hunger
  • Impatience
  • Indifference
  • Indignation
  • Jealousy
  • Loneliness
  • Love & Attraction
  • Overwelmed
  • Pain (physical & emotional)
  • Panic
  • Powerless/Defeated
  • Relief
  • Reluctance
  • Resentful/Sullen
  • Resigned
  • Sadness/Grief
  • Sarcasm/Verbal Disrespect
  • Satisfaction
  • Shame
  • Shock/Surprise
  • Somber
  • Stubbornness
  • Sympathy/Empathy
  • Uncertainty/Unconvinced
  • Unease/Nervous
  • Wariness
  • Worry
  • Wounded/Hurt