1. QQinfinity
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    QQinfinity New Member

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    Evil smile vs Evil smirk?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by QQinfinity, Sep 20, 2013.

    I have been writing my head off and spontaneously got stuck on such a simple thing as 'which should i go for, smile or smirk'?

    My protagonist was hurt badly in an attempt on her life, and her friend came along dragging the assassin with him.

    He began to beat the poor guy on the spot, and while giving a heavy stomp to the chest, was rewarded with a resounding crack of a broken rib and gasps of immense pain.

    Now comes the problem.

    "He gave a sinister smile" or "He gave a sinister smirk"

    and even worse yet,

    "He smirked cruelly" or "He smiled cruelly"

    GAAAH I JUST CAN'T DECIDE!

    Well, the guy is a gentlemen in general, but he has a crush on our dear protagonist, where the protagonist didn't know he cared and keeps giving him the 'you're a good friend' treatment. You know, the usual stuff.

    Since the guy is pretty reserved in his emotions, he kinda lost it when he saw the protagonist lying on the ground with blood gushing from her abdomen. I want to portray a scene where despite him being laid back and controlled kind of person, he has amazing potential to be evil or bad ass.

    But URGH! am I stuck on how to do that.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    1. The feral shine in his eye made a liar of his smile.
    2. The corner of his lip turned up, decoy to the cold stone of his face.
    3. His smile was murderous.

    The possibilities are endless if you're willing to go out on a descriptive limb. ;)
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Depends on what you want to convey. "Sinister smile" means just an evil-looking smile, but not actually evil, at least to me. "Sinister smirk" is better, but perhaps you could cut out the word "sinister" altogether.
     
  4. Arannir
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    Arannir Active Member

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    Would he be happy that she's in pain or laughing?

    I'd think a smirk is more sinister than a smile. But as said by Thomas, I wouldn't put sinister there myself.
     
  5. QQinfinity
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    QQinfinity New Member

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    Alright, lets try something else then.

    I've seen murderous so far, anyone got suggestions?

    Another one I came up on the spot is malicious.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  6. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    An evil smile to me is someone that is bragging about what they have done and has nothing to hide. An evil smirk is someone that wants to give the outward hint they have done something evil, but still leave something up to the others to figure out.
     
  7. ScaryMonster
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    ScaryMonster Active Member

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    I'd personally avoid the word " smirk," because I think it doesn't fit the scene you've written.
    A smirk is an insolent, self-satisfied or scornful smile. I think its too affected for someone to do after they've just beaten the villain up. I think they'd most likely smile cruelly and openly in satisfaction.

    Also "smirk," sounds a bit cute to me. Almost like smurf.
     
  8. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't worry about it too much. The thing that shows his potential for cruelty isn't how he's smiling, it's what he's doing.

    Personally, I'd drop the adjective altogether, and maybe show it from your protagonist's point of view.

    -----

    Was it the pain making Emily hallucinate? That was Gerald. Gerald, who offered his seat to old ladies on the bus. Gerald, who once listened to a Jehovah's Witness for 2 solid hours because he didn't have the heart to tell them to go away. Gerald, who was now beating the man so hard that blood was bubbling up his throat... and who looked like he was having fun.
     
  9. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Lewdog, that smirk is more about showing that you've done something more, something which the others have not yet figured out. Therefore I must say I can't really see that word used in the scene you've provided us with.

    I do however not completely agree with Nige, that the smile is not what shows his potential for cruelty. Of course his actions gives us the bulk of the fact that he is/can be cruel, but it is his smile that betrays that it is not just a moment of anger but something which he deeply enjoys. I personally find facial expressions as something which cannot tell something all by itself, but has the ability to make clear what might otherwise just be a hunch.
     
  10. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    If I'm right "smirk" usually isn't exactly positive, and "smile" isn't negative unless you add something like "evil" or "sinister" to it.
     

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