A list of mannerisms for writers.

Speaking for myself, I know how difficult it can sometimes be to ‘show not tell’ when I’m writing. I’m usually so preoccupied with the storyline and flow of the novel that I struggle with a character’s habits.

However, as I’m also an avid reader, I understand the sense of frustration when writers use repetitive mannerisms throughout a novel.

In Fifty Shades of Grey for example, characters roll their eyes 41 times and raise their eyebrows a whopping 50 times. Still, it was a best-seller!

But it’s not easy to stop and consider this when you’re on a roll writing your novel!

So I have compiled a list of mannerisms to help aspiring writers. Here it is. I hope it helps!


Apprehension: Locked ankles

Anticipation: Rubbing hands

Anger, frustration, apprehension: Hands clasped behind back

Boredom: Prolonged tilted head

Boredom: Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking slightly

Boredom: Head resting in hand, eyes downcast

Confidence: Brisk, erect walk

Confidence, superiority: Sitting with hands clasped behind head, legs crossed

Doubt, disbelief: Rubbing the eye

Defensive: Arms crossed on chest

Dejection: Walking with hands in pockets, shoulders hunched

Disbelief: Looking down, face turned away

Evaluation, thinking: Hand to cheek

Impatience: Tapping or drumming fingers

Interest: Quickly tilted head

Insecurity, nervousness: Biting nails

Indecision: Pulling or tugging at ear

Lack of self-confidence; insecurity: Patting/fondling hair

Negative evaluation: Pinching bridge of nose, eyes closed

Open, relaxed: Sitting, legs apart

Readiness, aggression: Standing with hands on hips

Rejection, doubt, lying: Touching, slightly rubbing nose

Sincerity, openness, innocence: Open palm

Trying to make a decision: Stroking chin


Until my next blog – Happy Writing!


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