Writing 'n' Stuff

Writing and Body Language

Show don’t tell – here’s HOW!!!

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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5 thoughts on “Writing and Body Language

  1. I’ve looked at the original and it’s quite an exhaustive list – and very useful, too. I suppose the main thing to remember when using them is to ensure that the gestures used are suited to the character in question. Show-don’t-tell is wise advice, and i think we all need to remember it at times. It’s so easy to lose focus and ramble off, isn’t it? Interesting and useful post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I first read that as interesting and USELESS post! Lol. I thought ‘she may have a point!’ Ha ha!

      Just trying to deal with show don’t tell at the moment. Still not sure what it means, to be honest! Will refer to the list when in doubt! 😉

      Thanks for commenting, Millie!

      Have a good writerly day!

      P.S. I agree with Galit; Promote your own work a little more. People (like me!) might actually like to see it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, you had me worried there. I thought I must have written useless by mistake! I would never be so rude on purpose. I thought it was a great list. 🙂 ‘Show don’t tell’ simply means to move the story along through the words/actions/interactions of the characters in a scene. Make the information you want the reader to know come through their mouths and actions and not yours, as the narrator. For example if a couple have an argument, write out the words they sling/scream at each other (or any handy items they feel like slinging!) their facial expressions and actions. Don’t just tell it in your words. Make the scene live. Hope that makes sense to you. 🙂


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