Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SAMPLE IT: 15 ways to show Jane's anxiety

1. As the political advisor told them all to prepare for the stage, Jane leaned forward in her chair, gripping the chair seat with both hands (literally holding herself back from leaving the chair). She just wanted to leave.
2. Jane rubbed her ear lobe, desperately wishing she could tell the political advisor to stop lecturing her (an adult variation of the child clapping their hands over their ears so they don't have to hear it).
3. Instead, she scrunched up the edge of her skirt, staring at the ground, as the political advisor ranted (apprehension leads to fiddly fingers).
4. The bright lights and sudden silence made Jane tug at her collar. Did he want her to say something? What had he been accusing her of this time? She'd stopped listening. (Anxiety, especially after an accusation, can cause people to feel hot under the collar or cause sweat to make fabric cling).
5. Jane's eyebrows knitted together as she struggled to remember. "Umm?" (acute anxiety).
6. Jane stared at the ground, open-mouthed, as the political advisor began his rant again.
7. Jane bit her lip, hard, to distract herself from her fear. He'd stop ranting soon.
8. Jane folded her arms across her chest as she hurried over to wait beside the stage (forming a barrier between her and other people).
9. Jane paced back and forth beside the stage.
10. Jane fiddled with her shirt cuff as she stepped up onto the stage (apprehension leads to fiddly fingers).
11. Jane rubbed her cold, clammy hands against her skirt before holding it out for the Mayor to shake.
12. Beads of sweat ran down Jane's face as she tried to remember her prepared speech.
13. Her mouth ran dry at the thought of going up on that stage. She licked her lips nervously, then went to pour herself a glass of water, sipping at it slowly.
14. The glass rattled slightly in her hand as she brought it up to sip.
15. Giving up on the speech entirely, Jane moved jerkily off the stage, desperate to sit down before her legs gave out beneath her.

Of course, if Jane has given her speech it would probably have been full of speech errors, voice tremors, and with a tone that varied its pitch. Poor Jane!

What other ways could we have shown Jane's anxiety?

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