Writing Emotions and Facial Expressions

As a writer, it is important to “show not tell.”  Every author gets tired of that over simplified mantra uttered endlessly in coffee shops across the world.  Still, it is better to show than to tell.

For instance – Which of the following is better:

1)  He looked amused.

2) His eyebrows lifted and his lips curled up slightly at the ends.

The first is telling.  The narrator (if not written in first person) is telling you they “look amused” which may or may not bring a mental picture to you the reader.  In any case, it is an opinion of the character by the narrator.

The second tells you as a reader what you actually see.  It lets you determine why, if they are amused, interested, whatever.  It lets you as the reader discover what is going on without too much work.

I found a resource that helps with these small descriptions of emotion and facial features.  So odd the things you can find at random on the web.  By using the link below, you can match common facial features with the emotions they represent so you can show your reader instead of telling them.  Enjoy!





Filed under Writing

8 responses to “Writing Emotions and Facial Expressions

  1. Reblogged this on SHORT STORIES & A NOVEL and commented:


  2. Pingback: Writing Facial Expressions - ¶ilcrow & Dagger

  3. I bookmarked this then posted it on the writing forum in Scribophile. I’ve had 37 thumbs up in 1/2 a day.


  4. Alexis Johnson

    Omg this is a goldmine! I can really use this. Thanks for sharing!


  5. Wow! What a great writing tool. Thanks for sharing.


  6. This is a great tool! Thank you for finding it. I went to her website and purchased a poster. She also has a book and ebook. It seems only fair to compensate her for this invaluable chart. After all, I expect people to pay for my books. Here’s the website: http://cedarseed.com/portfolio/emotions/


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