Writing Body Language with Gestures

fingers to face gestureWhen writers describe body language, it’s often done with one simple sentence, such as Viv furrowed her brow. The meaning can be misleading without supportive evidence in how she’s feeling. Is she confused? Is she angry with what was said? Or is she in pain? Gesture clusters reveal more accurate information.

For instance in this photo, the index finger points up the cheek and covers the mouth. Some variations could include the second finger covering the mouth and the thumb under the chin. The main indicator is the index finger pointing upward with the other fingers’ positions supporting the emotion.

What is he thinking? That gesture shows he is having critical thoughts about what he hears. He’s not convinced. His body language could be saying, “I’m holding back my negative thoughts about what is presented.” If he is in a sitting position, his legs might be crossed because he is not open to changing his mind. His other arm might be crossed over his rib cage indicating defense for his opposing opinion.

When writing body language show more than one simple gesture. Think of the power of three to make a gesture cluster.


Published by


For over twenty-five years, I've taught elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes. Now I am a field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. I also teach writing classes in Dublin and Pleasanton, California. I have won 5 awards in short story contests, My stories are published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, and several anthologies including four times in Las Positas College collections. I have several book projects, but the two that have my immediate attention are HADA'S FOG, which is women's fiction, LILLI, a YA novel, and NORMAN IN THE PICTURE, a paranormal mystery. I have published an anthology WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES that includes writings from members of my writing classes and other writers. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.

4 thoughts on “Writing Body Language with Gestures”

  1. Another great writing tool and thanks to your “power of three” for a gesture cluster, easy to remember. Keep ’em coming, Julaina. I’m learning a lot!!!!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s