PHYSICAL FEATURE THESAURUS

HEAD



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HELPFUL TIP:

Physical features should do more than simply describe how a character looks. Just like their occupation or area of giftedness, a character's appearance can say a great deal about them. Hinting at traits through clothing choices, alluding to an emotional state through movements, and highlighting certain details for comparison or contrast purposes can help readers form opinions on who the character really is.
DESCRIPTORS AND KEY ELEMENTS:
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COMMON ACTIONS AND ALTERNATIVE WORDS TO DENOTE THEM:
Nod: dip, incline, bow, tip, bob
Shake: wag, jerk, swing, flick, swivel, pivot
Move: cock, slant, tilt, twist, shift, lean, turn, pitch, bend, whip, rotate, wobble

EMOTIONS AND RELATED GESTURES:
  • People often move their heads without thinking, especially when they're interacting with others, so the head can be a good indicator of a shift in emotion. During conversation, a person may tip his head forward when he's experiencing uncertainty, nervousness, or embarrassment. This movement is also a common way to conceal an emotional reaction to what is being said or done.
  • Rubbing the back of the head can be a self-soothing gesture in response to worry, anxiety, sadness, or dread. A head tilted to the side is a also good indication of deep thought; it can mean that a person is focused on what’s being said or is searching for the the right way to respond.

SIMILE AND METAPHOR EXAMPLES:
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CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
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BODY DESCRIPTION NOTES:
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