MASTER LIST of Facial Expressions for Writers! – Bryn Donovan

Awesome. Authors, check it out. Very helpful list.

I created this list to address that challenge. The expressions are broken down by the part of the face. Note that some of them work for more than one emotion—a person might narrow their eyes out of vindictiveness or skepticism, for instance, and their face might turn red out of anger or out of embarrassment.

Some of them require a little more explanation on your part. You’ll have to say what she’s glaring at, or if his face is contorting in rage, or grief, or what. And not all of these will work for every character—it depends on what they look like and how they generally react to things.

Some of these aren’t exactly facial expressions, but useful for dialogue tags. In many cases I’ve given several ways to describe the same thing. While I have included some longer phrases, they are not proprietary and it’s fine to use them.

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the facial expressions. I am sure you’ll find a few to put to good use.

How to Personalize Your Posts (Without Telling Your Business)

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If you’re like me, you’ve wondered how to be as genuine as possible in writing online but without being too personal. I understand some people are extremely open but I’m not. Telling my personal business is not something I do in real life, let alone online. However, to relate to people does require some level of openness. How does one balance this? Here’re some things I’ve tried doing on this blog to help you to relate to me personally without being too detailed:

  1. Talk to Us, Not at Us

You are not my fans and this is not a stage. We hear it over and over again the importance of writing in a conversational manner. This means to approach your blog as if the people reading (that’s us) are actually sitting right across from your breakfast table sipping coffee or maybe sitting on the couch laughing and you’re having a conversation. This is recommended because it makes your posts read more genuine than the business-like tone (unless your post is strictly business-like). I’d recommend this for your email lists as well.

  1. Share Experiences / Admit Mistakes

This really helps us to remember that you’re not a robot programmed to schedule posts. We’ve all been through things in our life that has provided us with much to share. I’m sure many of us are over twenty-one and have tons of stories and life lessons to give. There’s no such thing as being “qualified” to give advice. No one has walked your shoes so no one can tell the stories or share the wisdom that you share. It’s like writing. While we can certainly share information, resources, and tips, why you write is a separate matter. No one can define this for you. It’s a different journey in and of itself. In any event, sharing experiences certainly gives your blog a more personal feel to it. With this comes admitting to your mistakes. It will take lots of courage to admit to a mistake you made in private let alone in public but this can be balanced with what you are learning from that mistake to create a nice personal touch. In this way, you’re not just whining but offering something of value to your blog without over doing it. It also showcases humility.

  1. Show Emotion

I’ve found that some of my best posts are the ones where I am showing emotion. This isn’t to say that I’m writing you tears or cursing someone out. That’s extra. Showing emotion just means that you are being real. Even the strongest person is going to get frustrated sometimes or hurt or experience doubt. It doesn’t make you weak or unfaithful, it just makes you real. It’s OK to use your blog to vent a little bit. Not to the point where you’re out of control but just enough to show vulnerability. Again, this isn’t weakness, its realness. We struggle every day and hiding that struggle only makes you look like a phony. No, you do not have it all together and even if you do some days are not going to be easy. Readers can relate to this kind of stuff and it helps to build a stronger bond with us. You never know who is reading your blog and gaining from your strength.

  1. Family Photos / Updates

No, I’m not talking about why your sister in law’s baby cousin Tracy slept with your best friend. That’s telling you and someone else’ business. I’m just talking about a little family update now and again. (Maybe you just got married for instance) Posting family photos or giving family updates is a great way to connect with readers. Again, it’s a personal thing but not over the top. Maybe you just had an anniversary, bought a house, or took a family trip. What was it like? Did you enjoy yourself? This makes readers feel closer to you and as a result, closer to your blog.

  1. Personality

This seems obvious but it really can pass us by as we settle into our blog niches and routines (I don’t really do the niche thing. I blog about whatever moves me). Your personality is your character and not many people showcase their character in their post but this is a nice personal touch without going all out. Even in business type posts, it’s OK to implement some persona. Are you funny? Sarcastic? Serious? These attributes should come across in your writing because it’s you. It helps readers get to know you in a very personal but not too personal way. By very personal I mean that people understand what you like and what you don’t like. They know what makes you upset and what makes you laugh. They get to know you because who you are  will shine through your writing.

  1. News Articles and Third Party Links

They say 90% of communication is non-verbal. This means that most of who you are do not come through in your words but in your actions (i.e. actions speak louder than words). When you share content from others, even news, you are showing a part of yourself. If you pay attention, you can discern the persona or the thoughts of bloggers who rarely blog about how they are feeling because you can see them in the third party information that they share. I can see it in your quotes, your re-blogs, and your links. You may not say much, but I see you. I see you in your actions. I feel when you are in disagreement because the contention is dripping from your energy. I can feel your nose turned up into the air and almost see your head shake. I know because I can smell the aura on your breath and not even the best perfume, cologne, or craftily arranged words will hide it.

  1. Music

What is more personal than music? If actions show your true self, then music is a mirror. The inspiration behind my Throwback Thursday Jams is my attempt at showing another side of myself on this blog other than writing. It is my way of opening up. Not to the extent that I’m talking too much, but just enough for you to get to know me a little more. If you’re still not sure how to be more personal, talking about the kind of music you like or any kind of art is a great way to connect with others.

I can probably think of so many other ways in which we can get personal in our blog post (sharing recipes is another one) without telling our business but I’d like to hear your thoughts as well so I’ll stop here. To be clear, when I say personal I’m not talking about personal in the sense that we tend to think of it. I’m not saying to gossip about your neighbor or tell us that your nephew is homeless. I’m not saying to “sneak diss” someone you didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to approach personally, and I’m not talking about posting about how your rent was due but your husband or wife couldn’t pay the bill. By personal, I just mean to incorporate a dash of persona, a pinch of emotion, and a sprinkle of humility in each post. Let us know that you’re real.

Personify Your Posts

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I actually wrote this post last night, though I did not have the time to post it. As the night welcomed us into another day, the sun lowering itself deeper into the bowels of the skies and the moon resurrecting into a position perfect enough to shine its light on the Earth, I was encouraged to write a post for you to ponder. As the brisk winds happily leap at the opportunity to shine now that fall is upon us, ripping through the air and causing us to turn up the heat and crawl underneath the covers, I want to remind you to personify your posts. 

When I blog, I try to notice what attracts me to other blogs. I understand part of the process is not just to push the publish button but to notice my behavior as a reader as well so that it may assist me in my own blogging endeavors. For instance, I’ve heard somewhere (don’t ask me where) that if you pay attention to how you purchase books or even read them, this can help you to sell them. As a reader, you know what attracts people and what doesn’t. So one thing in particular that draws me to other blogs are the ones that are written by people who indeed appear to be just that—people. Bloggers whose content is not so author or blogger expert certified that they lose sight of that personal connection.  Sometimes we can get lost in all the technical glitches, all of the electrical waves that make up the World Wide Web and we forget that our readership is made up of flesh and blood. They are people with lives outside of the internet and have a wide range of experience and expertise.

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When you share your experiences combined with your characteristics and therefore a human persona, it makes others interested in what you have to say. Your point of view can make them laugh, cry, and maybe even irritated or angry but it’s yours to exemplify. Whatever the message, if it builds upon a human foundation, I think it can help us to become better bloggers because our audience can participate with us. They can grow with us and actually become part of the process. This I have decided to embark on myself actually, to try to engage my readers more so that they feel part of the blog which means taking part in my life not that of the computer. It does not require you get too personal, but it requires you to get personal enough. You don’t have to air your dirty laundry, but you do have to be able to relate to people on some level no matter what the goal is for your blog. It is not to compromise who you are as an individual, but to step outside of your comfort zone and actually write for a readership because there are actually people reading your blog.

So make us feel like you really are that crazy friend down the street, or that know-it-all around the corner. We don’t have to agree with your perspective, but do you have one? Do we know that underneath all those blog posts there’s someone over there named Bob. He has five children that run him crazy and a nagging wife. Or maybe you’re a 23 year old named Tanya with a college professor who spits when he talks. Yea, gross us out, make us laugh, cause a discussion that makes us tear at each others throats, (or hug each others throats) but keep it real. Keep it truth. Most of all, share some of your experiences while striving to reach your blogging goals; show us why we should care.

A personality has to do with individual differences among people in behavior patterns, cognition and emotion. So attempt not to simply push a book or an agenda. Even while spreading truth you must be a fisherman of men. Meaning that you must strive to reach people where they are. Sure you may be in a good place now but you wasn’t always here. Perhaps you can share with us how you got here. What made you want to blog? How is blogging effecting your writing style? Life? Are you married? Do you have children? What’s new in your life right now? I mean, besides your new book and the fact that your a totally awesome blogger? Personify your posts so that we get to know a little bit more about the human behind the keyboard.

Please Do Not Be This Person

lol…so true. I love all the bullet points.

Fill Your Own Glass


People watching is one of my favorite pastimes.  It is interesting to observe human behavior, especially when the subjects are not aware they are “under surveillance”.  How a person treats others is a good indicator of his true character.  There are people out there who make great role models, and then there are certain types you do not want to emulate.  In short, these are the people you do not want to act like.

Do not be the person people feel compelled to apologize after.  It is not fun to trail behind you mouthing, “I’m so sorry!” to waitstaff and retail personnel after you have sliced them open with your criticisms and complaints.  Do not be a human wrecking ball, leaving a pile of hurt feelings in your wake.  If you have trouble with this, try counting to ten in between the time a thought enters your brain and the…

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Everyday People

Group of business people standing in huddle, smilingI see you breathing and believing and filled with emotion and background and circumstances. I see you angry and frustrated and happy. I see you succeed and fail, fall and stand up. I see you in need of inspiration and encouragement and it encourages me to provide that serenity as best I can on this blog, as an individual. I also appreciate the encouragement many of you give on your blogs. For the most part I’m that person nodding my head in agreement (or shaking my head) and walking away. If I like your post its not because I’m a robot programmed to do so. It means I really liked your post! Some of you are awkward though. I see you coming into class with tilted glasses and pocket protectors. Some of you are loud and outspoken, others are quiet and reserved. Some of you are wild and passionate about that wildness. That’s your business. Some of you are super smart and can’t really hold a decent conversation without going over someone’s head. Some of you take off people’s heads. Some of you are a lot simpler. You walk into the door ready to listen and engage. Some of you come in popping bubble gum and rolling your eyes. You don’t really wanna hear what this woman is talking about again but you can’t stop showing up either.

I didn’t intend on writing much today. But I came across a very interesting post by my girl Linda G. Hill: Your WordPress Audience. In this post, Linda posed an exciting question: How do you see your WordPress followers? Are they friends? Are they followers? Are they individuals? What if you could get your followers into one room and stand before them and write your post for them? That post inspired this one. For Linda’s post, Click Here.

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I think it’s about personifying your post, about making sure that you insert your personality into your writing; finding that balance between personal and too personal. Never sacrificing your stand but just being real with people. I think this is important so that we can better connect with others. Linda’s post made me think about that, and why I see my subscribers as everyday people like me. This is why I wanted to express my thoughts about the post on this blog in front of all of you. I think it’s a very good topic of discussion and it’s a great way to look at your blog. I know a lot of us would see things differently if we were in front of each other than behind a keyboard. Makes you ponder the question: Who’s being real?

Group-Recovery-You-Are-Not-AloneWe are bloggers, people who have decided that a particular blog was interesting enough to subscribe to. (As a quick side note, I say subscribe and not follow because everyone “following” your blog is not necessarily following your blog. Instead, I like to think of it as people who decide to subscribe to receive your post in their emails or in their readers. And although I do have something called “Audience participation” I see each of you more as individuals) For those of us who have trusted that blog enough to take off our shoes (please don’t leave footprints on the carpet, thanks) and sit down and leave a comment at the table, or to like once or twice, it is obviously easier to get to know those people, and they become much more than just a subscriber we never hear from. But they become associates. And maybe even friends. I say friends slowly and loosely. Everyone is not your friend, that’s just real and it’s an important thing to know when interacting online.

But in any event, how do I see you?

highres_444803Well, like I said, I see you breathing and believing and filled with emotion and background and circumstances like every day people. I wouldn’t say that I am standing before podiums and stages. I stand instead before you a woman. You walk into my place and we pull up chairs and gather together close like a writing group. I offer you beverages and snacks because I love to eat and I’m sure you do too. And depending on the atmosphere, we may even have a little wine. I only require that everyone has their writing brains turned on and their utensils ready to begin. Together, we nestle ourselves shoulder to shoulder, pencil, pad, smartphone or laptop in hand and we share. Our blogs collaborate and we are not just bloggers anymore but this is brick and mortar. Somewhere someone has built a time machine that takes you to this place as instantly as an email and together we meet eye to eye and I face you with my thoughts. There is a moment of silence as you listen and you read and decide how you would perceive the information. Some of you decide to get up and leave and never come back. Some of you scribble little notes on pieces of paper and place them into a drop box. Some of you speak, openly and candidly, you match your experience with mine. Some of you nod your head, and it is my hope that we can build. I picture us laughing and joking and learning and who knows where we’ll end up. Someone somewhere will get so upset that they storm out of the room. Some of you will cry because you can. Some of you will engage me in thought provoking and in depth conversation and who knows how long we’ll sit there.

And at the end we all give our goodbye greetings and there’s a sign-up sheet. Will your name be among those who will return? I wonder.

On the other hand, how about you? How do you see yourself as a blogger if you had to sit face to face with your subscribers? Would things be different? Would you be more or less nervous? Would you be the same person offline as you are online?

The World Has Enough Women

Tim Okamura (41)

“The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct.”

― Former U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall, 1940’s

Dogs Have Personalities

dog_german_bad_dogOn the way to work this morning we stopped at a red light. We could feel the stare of someone on the side of us. You all know the feeling, when your hairs stand up on your skin like antennae. My husband noticed it first since he notices everything. He can somehow see everything you’re doing in your car. So, turning slightly to the left there he was. All fury and bursting with energy. Tongue hung over the front of his mouth and …wait, “did he just smile at me?” I think a dog just smiled at me. He may have winked too. I’m not very good in the doggie breeding category so I don’t know what kind of dog he was but as long as he knows that I know his secret. It all started back in 2007, before which I was a cat woman. As a child I treasured the company of tiny paws and purring sounds. The ease of having them to jump up in your lap, petting had never been so fun. But today cats are just kind of creepy. They’re always sneaking around and peeking around the corner. Showing up at the oddest times, “where did you come from?” Destroying something I’m sure. Anyway, back to the story.

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Lady and the children Top to bottom: Faatimah (in pink), Autumn (hips), David, and Menelik

So yes, 2007. My husband and I, (unwed then) received a puppy (Rottweiler) from some friends. Technically she was a puppy but didn’t really look like it. She was almost my height so I was never really convinced. The dog absolutely loved to lounge on the couch downstairs from which she was strongly prohibited. Did she obey? No. She jumped up on the sofa every chance she got and crossed her little paws like she was the queen of the castle. I mean sure she guarded things but sista girl needed to get one thing straight: I am the woman of this house. We named her Lady because aside from her obvious doggy demeanor she was everything but a dog. As you can see she loved to take pictures and happened to be very photogenic. I don’t know who she thought she was (to my knowledge America’s Top Doggies didn’t exist). She handled herself nice and dainty like. I kept trying to tell her she wasn’t as petite as she thought she was, but what I said didn’t seem to matter. She walked around the house like she was made up of feathers though company made it very clear we’d adopted the most dangerous animal known to man. So did her appetite. That didn’t stop her from switching across the floor though, moving her butt from side to side like she had hips. I didn’t play that though, no male doggie company until you are of age young lady. Although now that I think about it, I’m sure she lied about her age.

PS_Hotel_KingRoom_newThe straw that broke the camel’s back was in ’09. We’d traveled from Chicago to Dallas in my husband’s truck with little Miss thing in the backseat. What a trip that was. Upon our arrival we checked into a hotel that would allow for pets. Usually I just got my mother to doggy sit but that wasn’t happening this time. The last time mama came over Lady made it very clear that she could take care of herself. Needless to say my mother wasn’t very enthusiastic about doing this again. So we check into the hotel and although very nervous about leaving her there, we decided to take a risk. It was a business trip and we did not have the time to stick around. Amidst all of the fun we were having, we forgot about Lady in the hotel room. It was dark when we got back and I braced myself for the destruction we would have to pay for on account of this child we left to her own devices. But when we opened the door laughter escaped us. I think we laughed for a good 15 minutes straight. We had one of those comfortable sofa chairs and the dog was sitting on the chair with her paws crossed and watching television. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Nothing was out of place. Nothing chewed on. The only thing this prissy little lady wanted to do was sit uninterrupted on the most comfortable spot in the house. I eventually accepted her for who she was and went out and bought this neat little electronic device that could be used to trim your dog’s nails, since Lady made it very clear that she’d never had a mani pedi before.

So now I know the secret: 101 Dalmatians was not just a movie. If your a dog lover listen to me very closely, this is not a joke: all dogs have personalities. They talk when your away and act like people as soon as you turn your back. I’m just warning you.