PHYSICAL FEATURE THESAURUS

FACE



Never struggle with Show-and-Tell again. Sign up and activate your free trial, Sign in as a subscriber to view the Physical Feature Thesaurus in its entirety, or visit the Table of Contents to explore unlocked entries.

START MY 2-WEEK FREE TRIAL

HELPFUL TIP:

One trick to writing fresh emotional responses is to focus on different parts of the body. Think carefully about the character’s exact emotions in the scene and how the body might shift or move in response. Vividly describing the colors, shapes, or textures in the character's environment can also bring the scene to life for readers.
DESCRIPTORS AND KEY ELEMENTS:
...
COMMON ACTIONS AND ALTERNATIVE WORDS TO DENOTE THEM:
Fall: sag, droop, sink, crumple
Brighten: shine, gleam, glow, uplift, beam, radiate
During emotional events, many of the things happening to the face (tics, twitches, etc.) are actually the work of specific features—the eye, jaw, or cheek, for example. This is why the face is so often used to portray emotion, because so much of it is involved when feelings are being expressed.

EMOTIONS AND RELATED GESTURES:
  • In times of fear, the eyes grow wide and the nostrils may flare. The mouth sometimes drops open to take in more oxygen or squeezes closed in an effort to maintain control.
  • Happiness is easily seen on a person's face via smiles and eyes that shine or glisten with joyful tears. The entire face may brighten or become more animated.
  • Alternatively, sadness causes the eyes to grow dull, limpid, and blank. The mouth turns down and may quiver with one's effort to hold back tears. The entire face can sag, droop, or crumple.
  • There are many common signs of anger, including flushed cheeks and flaring nostrils. The teeth may clench, making tendons in the jaw stand out and giving the face a tense or hard look. The lips might mash together. Eyes often narrow and take on a steely glint.
  • Worry and nervousness are often indicated by shifting eyes that dart here and there and blink rapidly. Tics may emerge in various places. The person might also lick, bite, or chew on the lips or the inside of a cheek.
  • Surprise is often shown through eyes that grow wide and cease blinking for a time. The mouth may gape open as the face becomes still or appears frozen.

SIMILE AND METAPHOR EXAMPLES:
...

CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
...

BODY DESCRIPTION NOTES:
...