Giving Your Characters Some Business

What started me thinking about this topic for a post was a comment I just got from a new beta reader. She found it interesting that my characters were always doing something, epically touching a lot when they were together. She said it felt like she was watching a movie. That made me smile. My background is in film and video production. And when I write I often feel like I’m directing my characters. “Okay Sam now when you walk into the room and see Jeff there here’s what I want you to do…” But of course just like real life actors they often have their own idea about what their “business” should be. And they are usually right.

How do you writers out there approach giving your characters stage business? Readers, do you like when there is action interspersed with dialog to give you a feel of what’s going on? Post some comments and let me know what you think.