Hello again, readers of the blog! It is I, Annabelle Iole Gray: Protagonist from the “Inspired” novels, author of various characters of my own, creator of The Totally In-Depth Author-to-Character Q&A! ® (“Oh, Yes – We Go There” TM), and of its newest subsection in which we explore how characters walk – and how we authors walk when letting aforesaid characters live through us. Last time, I assessed the walks of my jungle cat god and knight of the Order of the Dove. Let’s see if we have space to get through the rest of my fictional BFFs!
Character: Uriel, skater angel.
Punchiest Verb for Her Walk (Stride? Saunter? Sashay?…): “All swagger, all day,” Uri drawls. “Unless the state of your fallen Earth is actively depressing me. Then my walk’s a slump.”
Which Body Part Leads the Way? (Chin, Chest, Stomach, Pelvis, Knees, Other…?): It actually kind of varies? Because she has this habit of letting her movements drag a little before spilling forward; like a musical rubato, made physical. So sometimes it’s head-first, sometimes shoulders or elbows, or even her backside if her delayed momentum spins her around. Wow, weirdly, I never consciously noticed before that this is a thing she does. Why do you, Uri?
A rolling shrug. “Cool apathy meets an authentic need to get somewhere eventually?”
Favored Tempo: Faster than she makes it look. That ‘cool apathy’ drag effect reads as slow, but you best believe she covers ground like she means it.
Other Signature Details: Hands in pockets (pants or hoodie vest) are very much her thing. Also, when walking as her, I will frequently find myself squeezing one arm against my side, as if I’m carrying her skateboard. And how she manages to exude slouching while actually walking fully upright is another heavenly mystery to me.
Uri crooks a smirk. “Heaven loves a paradox.”
Character: Avelaine (aka Yves), French ballerina boy.
“Danseur,” he corrects me, because that’s what his father would do, and like muse, like son, apparently.
Punchiest Verb for His Walk (Stride? Saunter? Sashay?…): “My verbs will depend,” says he, “on the effect I wish to create. Perhaps I glide, or drift, or softly step. My movement is my art, and can be no static thing. But if one must name a signature, imagine my walk is a whisper; full-body susurration.”
Which Body Part Leads the Way? (Chin, Chest, Stomach, Pelvis, Knees, Other…?): Most often, his toes will point ahead, daintily parting the air before him. I, not being any kind of dancer, probably look three kinds of ridiculous trying to imitate him, but whatever – it makes me feel all airy-graceful.
Favored Tempo: Slow as a wafting feather. If he needs to move quickly, he won’t get there by walking; he’ll leap or sprint or simply mind-travel himself across the distance. If he’s walking, it means he’s got time to make a moving sculpture of himself.
Other Signature Details: Avelaine’s really not one for straight lines. When walking as him, I’ll take more of a curving, meandering path, steps sweeping, hands stroking, painting the air with my passage. I’m also likelier to walk on tiptoe, as if one pace away from floating off into the sky.
Not that Avelaine can or wants to float. That’s much more the purview of the next guy on the list…
Character: Lucianíel, elemental of light – also, my muse.
Punchiest Verb for His Walk (Stride? Saunter? Sashay?…): Certainly ‘stride’. Sometimes even ‘sail’. Very ‘casual runway model’-esque, in any case.
Which Body Part Leads the Way? (Chin, Chest, Stomach, Pelvis, Knees, Other…?): I might say chin. Where Avelaine oft goes about with gaze cast down, watching his foot-sketches, Luc’s head is more up-tilted, pulling him onward.
Favored Tempo: “Utterly sluggish,” Luc says, “for one made of light. But at nearer my full speed, no one could keep pace. So for company’s sake, I slow.”
…To something like a normal person’s version of brisk. My body and its material limitations thank you.
Other Signature Details: As previously hinted, Luc floats – almost never coming within an inch of touching ground. But I’ve got a more standard relationship with gravity, so my version of Luc’s walk better conveys the commanding weight of his personality. His walk is ownership, confidence, pride. The space he takes is his to manipulate. If all the world’s a stage, the muse is the director, and Lucianíel’s walk warmly claims it so. When I walk as Luc, I am insufferable. …but also sexy, if I do say so myself.
“Character!” a new voice bursts through me. “Mach Jenius! Brainstorm, bestest of best friends, brother from another plane of reality— Hey! How come there’s no picture of the Overauthor as you as me?!”
1, because Danielle called for the “Inspired” photoshoot a good while before dreaming up the sequel establishing you. 2, how in the world are we supposed to analyze your walk, Mach? You change physicality like I change shirts when I can’t decide which outfit best says ‘a trip to the bookstore, and maybe burgers after.’
“Well, yeah, but surely you can work out some sort of pattern! Thinking cap time.” He plops a silk top hat upon what, for now, are close-clipped mahogany curls. “When you’re walking as me, what do you tend to do?”
I dunno. Sorta… throw myself around the room?
“Aha! As if hurled by a wind! Very brainstorm.”
More like hurled by your mad spastic energy.
“But ‘hurl’ is the verb, is the point. And which body part leads the way?”
I’m not sure. Expect plenty of exaggerated arm gestures, though. Entirely the wrong sort of china shop bull. You have broken things through me, Mach. Including, almost, my wrist.
“You had my profuse apologies for that incident, Anna-babe. What’s the next question, again?”
“Oh, right! Fast!”
We know. Other signature details?
His top hat flaps its wings thoughtfully. (No, it did not have wings two seconds ago.) “Hard to say. Maybe my signature is that I have no signature. I just start moving, and see where I go.”
That you do. And what about your characters, Overauthor? How do they make you walk?
“Phew-boy,” says Danielle. “More like how don’t they? Will Scarlet’s is a heart- or hips-driven thrust – an expansive, pressing forward, in-love-with-the-world sort of walk. Allyn-a-Dale artfully creeps, slips like shadows, while Gant-o’-the-Lute… well, to quote ‘The Sky-Child’:
[He] never walked. He ran, he sprang, he cavorted, he danced; he was one place, then he was another, but he could not be bothered to /walk/ there.
“Sir Bedivere advances like a Winter Soldier. Edgwyn Wyle strolls like he’s shopping the world’s delights. I’ve got a sheriff that saunters seductively, and a dog-lover who bounces and romps, wobbles and wags. Nicky surges forward, then shrinks back, eager and unsure in equal measure. If ever I walked as Captain Johnny Crow – even in sneakers or slippers or sandals – I’d feel like I’m pacing a ship’s sea-salted deck in weathered but stylish boots.” She laughs incredulously. “It’s a wonder I’m ever caught walking as me!”
In that, by no coincidence, we are alike. And with that, this post comes to its end!
Writers in the house: Have you ever noticed – or put much creative thought into – how your characters move? Readers: Have you come across any characters whose manner of movement lives vividly on in your memory? Hop into the comments and tell all about it!