The eyes have it when it comes to conveying complex mental states

Our facial expressions give away more of what we’re thinking than we thought. New research shows that people’s eyes, in particular, are a dead giveaway.

The function behind a facial expression usually mirrors the person’s emotional state. So if someone is narrowing their eyes as if they are scrutinising something they are likely to be feeling thoughtful; wondering about something. If you feel as though you are being scrutinised then you probably are. Be careful that the other person isn’t just screwing up their eyes against the sun.

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Can reading transform us?

image-Can reading transform us

It’s probably a given that story has the power to bring about change in the reader.

I’ve already discussed learning and empathy in a previous post, but it has long been recognised that reading good literature encourages self-reflection and change.

In an article from the New York Times

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How observant are you? Using observation in story writing.

How observant are you?

Do you register faint changes in facial expressions? Do you notice the body language as one person passes something to another? Do you recognise the real meaning in people’s tone of voice?

These are all elements you can write into your story to make the characters, and what they do, more believable.

People watching

People watching is a great way to build up a resource to draw on.

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How memory can figure in your story

It’s well-known that our senses are strongly linked to memory recall. Whether it is particular tastes, pieces of music or certain sounds, the touch of something familiar, or a smell.

For me, there are certain bands or albums that seem to define eras in my life and to bring back strong memories of who I was at the time; the mood of the time, the hopes and desires, the sense of self, whether it was an optimistic time or a pessimistic one, the people I knew. It depends on the music as to how I feel and what I remember.

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Making your characters believable: Body Language

Body Language

When you watch other people you don’t always need to be told what their relationship is with each other or what that relationship is like — you can see it in their body language, their eyes, and hear it in the way they speak to each other.

Using descriptions of body language in your story shows your reader what is going on between two characters rather than telling them. It helps to create an emotional response in your reader, which reflects the emotional responses your characters are experiencing.  Continue reading