Category: resources

Gestures, movements, and facial expressions

Gestures and facial expressions are a thorny topic. I tend to re-use the same gestures too frequently in my writing.

So, I’m trying to mix it up. My goal was to come up with a list that I could refer to when I needed a gesture or facial expression.

This is inspired by Bryn Donovan’s master lists for writers and the daily prompt Chuckle

Face

  • yawned
  • smelled
  • sniffed
  • sniffled
  • creases on her forehead deepened
  • furrowed her brows
  • wrinkles formed between her eyes
  • face became brighter and warmer
  • kissed
  • mouth twisted a bit
  • raised her eyebrows
  • raised an eyebrow
  • cocked an eyebrow
  • squealed
  • wondered
  • whispered
  • huffed
  • expression fell
  • expression grew sullen
  • expression hardened
  • expression grew flat
  • nodded
  • smiled a saccharine smile
  • chuckled
  • laughed
  • smiled
  • grinned
  • guffawed
  • cackled
  • burst into laughter
  • exploded with laughter
  • frowned
  • gasped
  • let out a deep breath
  • breathed deeply
  • sighed
  • exhaled sharply
  • inhaled sharply
  • grit her teeth
  • pursed her lips
  • bit her lip
  • bit her tongue
  • cringed
  • swallowed
  • drank
  • took a swig
  • smoked
  • took a drag of her cigarette
  • clenched her jaw
  • bit her thumbnail
  • bit her nails
  • wrinkled her nose
  • scrunched her nose
  • sneered
  • smirked
  • grimaced

Eyes/gaze

  • gaze followed the tiles of the dirty floor
  • gaze tracked
  • gave a look
  • looked down at her feet
  • looked at him
  • looked out the window
    • I try to avoid using look/looked/looking very often
  • narrowed her eyes
  • squinted
  • noticed
  • glared
  • stared
  • peered
  • watched
  • ogled
  • glanced down at her hands
  • glanced sidelong
  • glanced back
  • surveyed
  • inspected
  • took her in
  • with tears in her eyes
  • eyes welled up
  • eyes glistened with the beginning of tears
  • focused on her feet

Body

  • clenched her muscles
  • shivered
  • crouched
  • knelt
  • plopped down
  • hunched
  • her shoulders fell
  • slowly moved to a sitting position
  • stood up
  • sat intently reading
  • sat down
  • jumped up and down
  • ran into her bedroom
  • sank into her seat
  • sweated
  • shook
  • quivered
  • hugged
  • woke up mid-sentence
  • shrugged it off
  • shrugged
  • paced around
  • tapped her foot
  • bounced her knee
  • crossed her legs
  • folded her legs
  • crossed her arms
  • folded her arms
  • stood back
  • stood up
  • straightened up
  • tensed
  • a knot formed in her back
  • shuffled
  • ambled
  • slowly made her way
  • walked
  • trotted
  • pranced
  • traipsed
  • perambulated

Hands

  • shook his hand
  • tapped the side of her nose
  • rubbed her temples
  • pushed her bangs away from her eyes
  • pushed her fingers through abundant curls
  • pushed her braid behind her shoulders
  • adjusted her braids
  • twisted a lock of hair around her finger
  • let her hair unfurl
  • twisted a ring around her finger
  • held up her hand
  • splayed her fingers
  • splayed her legs
  • put her hand on her stomach
  • drew the sharpest weapon she had
  • bounced her fists
  • formed a fist
  • interlaced her fingers
  • grabbed his hand
  • pointed
  • released his hand
  • made the motion of waves with her hands
  • touched his face
  • flipped through a book
  • shuffled the deck
  • examined her fingernails
  • reached out
  • hands turned with palms towards her
  • put his hand on her shoulder
  • twirled the pen
  • clicked the pen
  • high-fived
  • scratched her droopy cheeks
  • clutched a bottle
  • put on gloves
  • took off gloves
  • rubbed her forehead
  • rubbed the nape of her neck
  • rubbed her eyes
  • rubbed the back of her neck
  • fiddled with her hands
  • squeezed her hand
  • squeezed her shoulder
  • clasped her hands
  • clapped
  • picked it up
  • put it down
  • grabbed her hand
  • plucked an eyebrow
  • pulled a thread
  • pulled a cuticle
  • punched a pillow
  • drummed her fingers
  • squeezed the spot between her thumb and forefinger
  • put her hands on her hips
  • rested her hand on her hip

Do you have any others to add to the list?

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