I stumbled upon this clever little quiz which asks you to match the facial expression to the emotion
and it got me thinking.
One of the things writers can do really well is evoke an emotion by describing a facial expression and/or some body language, without ever mentioning the associated word. In doing this they embody the idea of “show don’t tell” in their writing, offering hints and clues but allowing – expecting – the reader to decode the meaning for themselves.
So it might be a good idea to :
a. Take the quiz! See if you’re observant…
b. Pick one of the images. Turn the image into words. Describe what the face is doing without mentioning the emotion it captures.
c. Give the description to someone. Ask them to name the emotion you’ve captured in your description.
If they can’t get it ask yourself: are they the problem (they don’t get it!) or am I? Is my writing not specific/accurate enough to evoke that emotion in the reader?
If you’re not sure if it’s them or you, ask one or two more people if they can identify the emotion from your description.
If they can’t, chances are your writing is the problem!!!
If they can, yey you! Your writing rocks!