Posted On October 9, 2015 by Print This Post

Resisting Attraction: Body Language Cheat Sheets For Him & Her – Angela Ackerman

Don’t you just love when Angela Ackerman visits with us here at RU? I sure do, I learn a LOT! Wait til you read through these cheat sheets – you’ll love ’em!

Image3Emotion is the heart of any story, and there is no genre truer of this than romance. Readers look forward to a romantically-tense roller coaster ride (how’s that for alliteration?) that will feel both authentic and satisfying as characters are drawn together. Often though, characters fight attraction for one reason or another. They might have goals or responsibilities they believe require all their focus, or have something to prove and are determined to remain independent. And of course some avoid entanglements because their past has taught them love only leads to emotional pain.

This last one, emotional pain, is often a factor and it’s no wonder. When it comes to the heart, vulnerability threads through everything, and can lead to a lasting, loving bond that knows no depth, or a terrible wound that makes trust all but impossible moving forward. However, regardless of the baggage your characters lug into the story or their desire to avoid romantic collisions, our job as authors remains the same: bring the protagonist and love interest together.

When our characters are both invested in the idea of a romantic connection, we have an easier time showing it through their behavior as they progress through the four stages of attraction: Interest, Flirtation, Desire and Lust. But when characters fight attraction, it’s more difficult, yet the friction creates a magnetic story pull for readers because they know the romance won’t come easily.

Image4If a POV character is trying to resist or deny their feelings for someone, their thoughts often reflect anger, frustration and impatience. This can be a great way to show that their emotions have romantic roots as there will be a “disconnect” between what they think and what they do. Why? Because in real life, people can lie to themselves about what they feel, but their body language will tell the truth. What happens in the real world should be applied to fiction to create realism, and so using this disconnect will show readers that despite what the character believes, love is starting to bloom.

One obvious type of “disconnect” might be your character telling themselves they are going to make a point of ignoring the Love Interest at an event, yet they find their attention is drawn back to them time and again. Your character may even convince themselves they have a good reason for keeping tabs, but the real reasons, often helped along by body language cues, will leak through to readers.

It can be tricky to show readers something that the character themselves doesn’t see, like their own primal attraction for another person. Uncontrolled body language cues and visceral sensations are the perfect way to show your character is being drawn forward into the grips of a romantic connection whether they want to or not.

Image2To help writers brainstorm their character’s body language when it comes to the Stages of Attraction, I created these “Cheat Sheets” for romantic cues (one for Him, one for Her.) If you like, download, share or pin these images to hang onto for when you need them. If you want more of these One Stop For Writers Cheat Sheets, stop by our Pinterest Boards, where we’ve collected the best of the best as far as writing tools, articles and resources to help you write.

Speaking of One Stop For Writers, this week is our official launch! What is One Stop, you ask? A fabulous collaboration between myself, Becca Puglisi (my co-author for the Emotion, Positive and Negative Trait thesaurus books), and Lee Powell, The creator of Scrivener for Windows. This new site is a powerhouse online library like no other, taking the many descriptive thesaurus collections from Writers Helping Writers along with our popular books and putting them together with some amazing new tools just for writers. Stop by to check out our launch week festivities, and happy writing!



Do you have a line from a favorite book that shows an excellent use of body language? Do share!

Join us on Monday for Are You Waving The Novice Writer Flag? by Rayne Hall


Angela AckermanBio:Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker and co-author of several bestselling writing books, including The Emotion Thesaurus. She loves building communities and her newest project, One Stop For Writers, is a brainstorming library tailored to help writers elevate their storytelling while saving time. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and at her website, Writers Helping Writers.

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15 Responses to “Resisting Attraction: Body Language Cheat Sheets For Him & Her – Angela Ackerman”

  1. Can’t view it, unless one signs up for Pinerest.

    Posted by John | October 9, 2015, 6:20 am
    • Hi John! This is true–the links go to Pinterest–sorry about that. This is where the images are hosted. However, if you right click each image, you can save them to your computer as an image, copy them to a word document, etc. Give that a try if you like?

      Posted by Angela Ackerman | October 9, 2015, 7:47 am
  2. Great stuff here, Angela. You’re so good at this!

    Posted by Becca Puglisi | October 9, 2015, 7:24 am
  3. Thank you so much for having me here–I love my visits to RU 🙂

    Posted by Angela Ackerman | October 9, 2015, 7:57 am
  4. And we love having you Angela! =)

    i always love the scenes where the hero/heroine has every intention of ignoring the other, but they hear a laugh across the room, can’t keep their eyes off the other. Destiny just pulls them together…=)

    And thanks tons for the cheat sheets! I’ve got them bookmarked. =)

    Checking out your One Stop for Writers next, it sounds awesome!

    thanks Angela!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | October 9, 2015, 9:44 am
  5. Your cheat sheets are great, Angela. Good luck with the new web site. Sounds like a good place to hang out.

    Posted by Marsha R. West | October 9, 2015, 2:41 pm
    • Thanks so much Marsha. I hope One Stop is the answer to a lot of writing struggles–we want people finding what they need quickly so they can get right back to writing. More stories in the hands of readers is what it’s all about. 🙂

      Posted by Angela Ackerman | October 9, 2015, 4:16 pm
  6. This is AWESOME! Thanks so much, Angela – I bookmarked your post. I wish I could just memorize it!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | October 9, 2015, 11:21 pm
  7. Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions. Got to go back and make my poor heroine more human, more likable, more deserving of some good things in her life. She’s too timid!

    Posted by Normalu Cooper | October 15, 2015, 11:07 am
  8. Awesome article. I write fantasy but I’ve always felt romance is the most difficult genre to write with versimillitude. Your ability to explain what you discussed is exceptional. Respect.

    Posted by Lee Stephens | September 27, 2016, 7:30 pm


  1. […] I am over at Romance University discussing How Characters Often Resist Attraction in Romance, and How To Show Their Body Language Struggle (plus I’m sharing some great body language cheat sheets for HIM and […]

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