Tips on writing facial expressions

by Jacob
(jrmatrix379@yahoo.com)

Question: Is there any tips that help to describe facial expressions. Such as the position of the mouth, eyes, eyebrows, head or even hands and arms. Expressions such as anger, deep thought, uncertainty, sarcasm, physical strain (lifting weights) I believe I have some basics already but am looking for more creative or elaborate ways of expressing the mood. Thanks for any help!


Answer: Some reference books have been written to help writers in this area.

Once such book is The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman. (Feel free to order it through this site at http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/store.html)

You may find books such as this to be a helpful starting point.

Of course, it is always best to find your own unique way of describing emotions through a character's actions and words. That's what makes your writing come alive. It's part of what will give you a unique voice that sets your writing apart.

Comments for Tips on writing facial expressions

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 15, 2015
How to use it effectively
by: Vijay

Hi, Glen,

I appreciate your time to answer us.
I have a copy of Emotional Thesaurus with me but I am not sure how to be more creative with it. For example, the mental response for happiness is listed as positive thinking, fearlessness, helpfulness, showing patience. Should we demonstrate all these with a separate scene for the character who is happy at that situation? How to use each of the listed items in one sentence to make it appealing?

Thank you again for your helpful advise,

Vijay

Dec 15, 2015
To Vijay
by: Glen

You should think about all the ways your character might react to your planned story event. For instance, let's say you have a happy event (maybe your main character wins a contest, has an attractive person flirt with her, gets a raise, etc.). How do you show her happiness once she perceives the positive event? There may be a physical sensation, and a physical response (gasp, smile, cry of joy). She may think positive thoughts as she realizes the significance of the event.

Later, she may feel so good about things that she does something she would usually be nervous about doing. She might spontaneously help someone. She might be more patient with someone she usually finds tiresome. She might apologize to someone she was cross with earlier.

Maybe you need a separate scene, but often it's just a matter of incorporating these illustrations into scenes that are concerned with other events. This is especially true in film, where scenes often must do double duty.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero