PHYSICAL FEATURE THESAURUS

SHOULDERS



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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:
Lift: raise, curl, hoist, heave, boost, hike
Tense: tighten, harden, strain, constrict, contract, stiffen
Push: nudge, jam, shove, knock, thrust, prod, poke, jostle
Drop: sag, lower, cave, plummet, bow, hunch, dip, round

EMOTIONS AND RELATED GESTURES:
  • In the midst of disappointment or resignation, the shoulders tend to drop, bow, or pull forward. As the body's posture loosens, the shoulders will curl over one's chest.
  • A shrug is a common motion to indicate indifference or confusion. This can be done with one or both shoulders and is often accompanied by broken eye contact.
  • In times of wariness or anger, a person's shoulders will stiffen and the muscles will grow taut. This is one physical manifestation of fight-or-flight, as the body prepares to battle or run.

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