The Art of Writing Body Language

Body language is very important in books as it makes characters more realistic. If there were no body language, everyone would communicate like crates of semi-rotted apples and be as boring as scarecrows nailed to fence posts.

Many main characters are also extraordinarily amazing at reading body language. They seem to always be discerning loads of information just by looking into one’s eyes. Being mediocre at reading people myself, I think that body language depends more on the eyebrows.

Eyes don’t change all that much anyway. They can look at things, roll, squint, glare, and widen, and that’s about it. In real life, you don’t see a lot of “melting” or “hardening” or “growing cold”. Eyebrows, on the other hand, have a large selection of shapes that they can take, and they all mean something different. They can be furrowed, raised, cocked, scrunched, drooped, lowered, arched, straight, bushy, thin, absent, etc.

Despite being much more useful, I never see eyebrows mentioned in books when referring to body language. Nope, the eyebrows are just overshadowed by the eyes. But I suppose there’s a reason for this. Which of these sentences sounds better to you?

  • She looked into his large, depthless eyes, onyx, like the shadows of the velvet darkness encompassing the stars, and saw the deep sadness and weariness behind them.
  • She looked at his thick, bushy eyebrows that seemed like caterpillars had taken refuge in his forehead and saw the deep sadness and weariness behind them.