Writing and Body Language

Courtesy of Author Jen Owenby 😀

Jens Thoughts

I find one of the most talked about topics in writing is “show don’t tell”. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I try not to I still do, and I also find myself repeating words or not describing actions well.

I stumbled on this list of body language for us to keep near us while writing.


he lowered his head
she hung her head
he ducked
she bowed her head
he covered his eyes with a hand
she pressed her hands to her cheeks

she raised her chin
he lifted his chin

her hands squeezed into fists
his hands tightened into fists
she clenched her fists
she balled her fists
he unclenched his fists
her arms remained at her sides

he shrugged
she gave a half shrug
he lifted his shoulder in a half shrug
she gave a dismissive wave of her hand

she raised a hand in greeting

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4 thoughts on “Writing and Body Language

  1. I’m sorry, but being foreign, a literary author and a writer of cross-over novels, I find the rigidity of the “show, don’t tell”-rule a bit overdone. Some classics have a lot of “tell” and are stylistic masterpieces. “Show, don’t tell” might be good for strict genre-fiction, but is not a rule of the thumb for literary or cross over fiction in my eyes…What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s nothing wrong with “show, don’t tell” (or “ly” adverbs or “ing” verbs or semicolons or whatever else you can think of). It’s the overuse of such things that the “rules” were designed for. Newer writers, in particular, who don’t have a lot of experience in storytelling sometimes don’t realize there’s more to a story than, “Helen lifted her glass in salute while furtively looking around the room for the killer.”

      “Show, don’t tell” is a good idea for any writer, but yes, there are certainly times when telling works better than showing. Just don’t do it over and over and over again… 😀 Even in literary fiction!

      Liked by 1 person


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