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canstockphoto16415204There’s one thing I’m guilty of doing in my first draft, and that’s writing characters who constantly respond by smiling, frowning, nodding or shaking their heads. So, when I go back to update that draft, I try to come up with more expressive and emotional responses.

I’ve put together a list of bland, generic verbs and suggestions that more clearly show what’s happening. These are just some random ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

she smiled
  • her eyebrows rose with excitement
  • there was a suspicious line at the corners of her mouth
  • her lips parted in surprise
  • she bit her lip to stifle a grin
  • her mouth curved into an unconscious smile
  • her face brightened at the suggestion
he frowned
  • his brows drew together in an agonized expression
  • a muscle flicked angrily in his jaw
  • a cold, congested expression settled on his faced
  • his brow furrow
  • his mouth thinning with displeasure
  • he pressed his lips together in anger
she nodded
  • she reached out, lacing his fingers with her own
  • she put a hand on his shoulder, comforting him
  • an electrifying shudder reverberated through her
  • she licked her shiny lips
  • somehow she managed to face him
  • she hugged her arms to her
  • she moved in an instinctive gesture of comfort
  • she slapped him heartily on the back
  • she touched her forehead slightly in a mock salute
he shook his head
  • he bent his head and studied his hands
  • touched his trembling lips with one finger
  • his fingers drummed distractedly on the table
  • he jerked away from her
  • he remained absolutely motionless for a moment
  • he dragged her back hard against him
  • he swallowed and squared his shoulders

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