It’s a fairly easy condition to fall into and a hard one to notice.
Floating head syndrome.
What is it?
In novels, there’s times where characters are just talking. They’re sitting and talking, or walking and talking or what have you. These scenes are important to a novel.
I have a scene where a dad in his sixties is talking to his son (who’s 41) and the son remembers a life event about his mother which happened when he was six years old. However, since he was a child, he only saw a certain thing happening.
Now thirty-five years later, his father is explaining, actually, something else was going on. You were too young to understand at this time.
And is this /such/ an extremely important scene for my book, because is changes everything.
However, looking at it from a distance, it’s just two men staring at each other as they talk.
This is floating head syndrome. Just like on the comic pages, just heads which talk.
There’s a simple way to deal with this and that’s give the character’s something to do as they talk. Have them do anything!
For example, I have another book which involves depression and several therapy scenes. Complete floating head! So I have the therapist taking notes, changing pens, stopping to look at the main characters, tapping his fingers.
I had the main character look around, crossing his legs, gets up to stretch, starts to pace, sits back down.
There’s so much the characters can do. Have a character notice something around them. Maybe they’re eating or drinking something while they talk? If you really can’t think of anything, or you’re running out, google stuff. Or watch a real life conversation.
For instance, I always pace when I talk on the telephone. I have a really hard time sitting down. I always jump up. And my mother talks with her hands, a lot. People watching is interesting and it gives good ideas.