1. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Body language help?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CMastah, Aug 20, 2014.

    I'm not satisfied with writing 'his face was etched with pain' and would rather describe what's happening there instead. The problem is I only know so many ways to describe it. Quivering lips (it's a child) would be one but how would I describe his eyes or eyebrows?

    This isn't the only instance or emotion either, does anyone have any resources on the matter?
     
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  2. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    'he grimaced, eyes tightening, eyebrows tensing, as the pain washed through him'
     
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  3. Autumn Hazel Rain
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    Autumn Hazel Rain Member

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    the rule of thumb: show don't tell!!! Do you want these expressions to also convey the scene/environment? Is the child the narrator?

    With a quivering heart and mouth, the boy's eyes dilated, reflecting the deep seeded fear within. His eyebrows hung heavy over his face, like a snow-capped hill....
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    All depends on the scene and it's hard to give advice out of context. Sometimes I feel that an action can provide more than a look - because a look is what we always race for. Action or position can create something fresh. When someone I know and love battles depression he has a very clear way of sitting in a chair. And then he holds his head so that his hand forms a kindof visor keeping his face in shadow. Maybe look to your scene and see if your character can perform an action that will give you the desired effect - could even be something simple - He turned so that I would not see the pain revealed on his face - example.
     
  5. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Thanks guys, the context here was that a child was hiding (at first, then talking to an adult shortly after) while his tribe was being massacred.
     
  6. Lee_and_JJ
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    Lee_and_JJ New Member

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    You might try 'The Emotion Thesaurus' by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. You could say something like, 'His brows knitted over eyes that were now huge and liquid with pain.'
     
  7. Lee_and_JJ
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    Lee_and_JJ New Member

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    By the way, it's 'deep-seated,' not 'deep seeded.'
     
  8. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Stand in front of the mirror and make the expressions and body language you want your character to do. Then describe it. Does he pick at his fingers? Suck his thumb? Does the corner of his mouth twitch as he tries to restrain a full blown frown? Does he gasp with the pain? Are his brows furrowed? High? Is he crying? Is he trying to hold back the tears? Is he old enough to hold back those tears or would they just fall? If he is afraid, is he backing away, is he cowering? Has he backed himself into a corner and crouched into a tiny ball assuming if he is small enough he won't be seen?
     
  9. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Also, dip into other senses besides touch and sight. What does he smell? What does he hear? How long does the anxiety seem to last? Does he have time to process what he is experiencing? Or is it flying to fast? What does he feel internally? Physically that is. Nausea? Heart racing? Jumping out of his chest? Does he have to pee or has he wet himself in fear?
     

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