Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Character’s Silent Language, Part III

Let’s look at some ways to show characters’ nonverbal expressions:

Happiness: smile, crinkled nose, bright eyes, raised eyebrows, swinging arms, relaxed shoulders, open-mouth smile.
Sadness: pouting lips, tears, red eyes, drippy nose, stooped shoulders, head hanging low, lack of eye contact, frowning, trembling body.
Fear: wide eyes, closed eyes, trembling hands, hunched shoulders, open mouth, tears, arms wrapped around body, body in fetal position, white-knuckle grip, shaking head in denial.
Anger: flared nostrils, fists, swinging arms, flushed checks, wide-eyed stare, pounding fists, breathing deeply.
Curiosity: moving toward something, parted lips, squinting eyes, reaching out to touch, delighted smile.
Stubbornness: shake head, stomp foot, cross arms, turn head away from speaker, walk away.
Try using a variety of silent language expressions to offer more information to the reader.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Chicken Soup for the Soul. My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

Our dog books are so popular that we do a new one every other year. We are now collecting

 stories for our 2016 edition. We want your funny stories, your heartwarming stories, and your

mindboggling stories about all the very good, very bad, simply amazing things that your dog

does. What have you learned from your dog? How does your dog improve your life? What crazy

things does your dog do? Has your dog ever done anything heroic? How does your dog warm

your heart and make you smile? We want to hear all about the absurd antics, funny habits and

insightful behavior of your dog. Stories can be serious or humorous. The deadline date for story

and poem submissions is August 31, 2015.


  1. These kind of "non-verbal: verbal clues are EXACTLY what an illustrator is using when we draw up a character in a scene. We will take our character with all his/her attributes (skinny,fat,short,tall etc) and use visual physical clues to tell the viewer just what that character is feeling. Very nice, half dozen. visual emoting "clues".

  2. A great resource for this kind of non-verbal communication is The Emotion Thesaurus. It's hard to come up with a lot of different ways to show emotions in our characters, but this book can be a real help. Thanks for the post.

  3. Thanks, Alison and Rosi. I'm so glad what I'm posting resonates with illustrators as well as authors. Hope your days are filled with many writing possibilities.