Your Characters’ Smiles

smile quoteCan you tell the difference between a fake smile and a natural smile? A genuine smile includes wrinkles around the eyes, the mouth muscles move, the cheeks rise, and eyebrows dip slightly. Research has shown that an apology given with a smile in a courtroom, produces a lesser penalty than an apology without a smile.

A fake smile is made only with the mouth. People often think that deliberate liars smile often. Liars knowing that fact, will smile less and will hold the smile longer, as if to wear a mask. A fake smile appears stronger on one side of the face than the other. Observe several types of smiles. One is the tight-lipped smile. Women recognize it more easily than men since they use it to show they don’t like someone. It’s a rejection signal The Joker in Batman and Bill Clinton, for example, use the drop-jaw smile. The lower jaw is dropped down to make it look like the person is laughing or playful. Diana, noted for a sideways-looking-up smile, won the hearts of people. Prince William uses it now with the result of winning people’s affection and it also reminds them of Diana.

A smile is a curve but sets all straight

Did you know most people in Atlanta, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, and Texas smile more often than other Americans? If someone smiles constantly, people wonder what that person is up to. President Jimmy Carter, a Southerner, smiled all the time and his backers worried that Northerners feared he knew something they didn’t. President George W. Bush had a permanent smirk on his face.

When we writers understand what different smiles mean, we have another tool for showing our characters’ body language in relation to their intentions and feelings. In my novel, Norman in the Painting, Jill, my protagonist, would give Arctarius a tight-lipped smile because she doesn’t trust him. Jack smirks at Jill even when she’s angry at him. Jill could give Ed, a Diana smile to enlist his approval.

Take a minute to make a list of your characters and which kind of smile they use the most.

Information from Allan and Barbara Pease.

1 Comment

Filed under Writing Tips

One response to “Your Characters’ Smiles

  1. ladywinfred

    EXCELLENT post, Julaina, definitely a helpful addition to my growing file of tidbits from Time To Write Now. I appreciate all the work you put into researching and sharing this information with the rest of us hungry searchers. Thank you!!


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