Conquering the “Look”
By Leigh Holland.
Reviewing my chapter today, I searched the document for the word “look”. Gasping in horror, I realized I’d used the word “look”, or some conjugation of it, far too often. I was engaged in an epic mental struggle with the “Look”, a condition that’s tormented me for as long as I can recall. How can I conquer the “Look” once and for all?
Expressiveness of the Eyes
They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. By that, they mean the eyes are so expressive that they give away the truth behind them. Here are some ways we can describe “looking” with the eyes.
Expression of Eyes
|Agitation||Gaze bouncing from place to place, Avoided meeting her eyes|
|Amazement, Disbelief, Surprise||Eyes widened, Rapidly blinked repeatedly, An open stare, Glancing at companions to see if they’re amazed, Lifting one brow, Incredulous stare|
|Anger, Contempt, Hatred||Eyes protruded, a cold, hard glare, eyes narrowing|
|Anguish, Sadness||Crying, wailing, weeping, reddened eyes, tears shimmering, tears welling up, Glistening eyes, Wincing|
|Annoyance, Irritation||Raising eyebrows, giving a glassy stare, Narrowed eyes, eye-rolling, Focusing gaze elsewhere|
|Conflicted, Ambivalence||Avoiding eye contact, increased blinking, Ping-ponging gaze|
|Confusion||Narrowed eyes, eyebrows squishing together, Eyes cluding, Distant gaze, Staring at the ground, Blinking|
|Curiosity||A sidelong glance, Raised eyebrows|
|Defeat, Depression||Vacant eyes, Downward gaze, Staring at one’s own hands, Infrequently blinking, dark circles under eyes|
|Defensiveness||Squinting eyes, a fixed gaze, Lowering brow, Eye-rolling|
|Desire||Solid eye contact, Shining eyes, Glossed over eyes, softened gaze,|
|Desperation, Loneliness||Wet eyes, Glossy eyes, Darting gaze, Feverish stare, Over-bright eyes, A longing gaze, Lack of eye contact|
|Dread, Fear||Downward gaze, hair over face, Avoiding eye contact, Rapid blinking, Staring without seeing|
|Excitement, Happiness||Sparkling, gleaming eyes, Making eye contact, Dancing eyes|
|Impatient||Glancing repeatedly at watch, Narrowed eyes, Intense focus, Raised eyebrows, Massaging the temples with eyes closed|
|Love||Strong eye contact, little blinking, Yearning gaze, Beaming eyes, Soft gaze|
|Nostalgia||Unfocused gaze, Tear-filled eyes, Eyes bright with memories|
|Paranoia||Scouting for exits upon entry, Unfocused darting gaze.|
|Regret, Remorse||Eyebrows gathering inward, Staring at one’s feet, Tears|
|Resignation||Quiet tears, Dull eyes, Staring off at nothing|
|Satisfaction, Peacefulness||A raised eyebrow, A closed eye lidded look, Sparking eyes, A dazzling gaze|
Other Words Related To “Look”
ADMIRE ATTENTION AUDIT BORE BABYSIT BEHOLD BLINK BEAM CONSIDER CONTEMPLATE CASE COUNT CHECK CONTEMPLATION DELVE DO A SLOW BURN DEEM DISCOVER DISTINGUISH EVIL EYE EXAMINE EYE EYEBALL EXPLORE EXPRESSION FACE FERRET FLASH FRISK FORAGE GET A LOAD OF GAPE GLARE GLIMPSE GANDER GAZE GOGGLE GLOWER GRIMACE GLIMMER HEED INSPECT INTROSPECT INVESTIGATE JUDGE LEAF THROUGH LOOK-SEE LEER MOON MARK MOPE NOTICE NOTE ONCE-OVER OGLE OBSERVE PEEK PRY PROBE RUMMAGE RECONNAISSANCE RIFLE REGARD RECOGNIZE RESEMBLE SEARCH TAKE STOCK OF SCRUTINIZE SPECULATE SIMPER SEE SLANT SIFT SENSE SQUINT SPY STARE SIZE UP SWEEP SUPERVISE SURVEILLANCE SWIVEL WITNESS WATCH VIEW
Interested in other body language your characters can express? Check out The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression.