So much of communication is nonverbal - facial expressions, body language. Often, it's entirely clear what somebody is thinking and conveying even if they aren't saying a word.
How can I portray this in fiction?
These can be such powerful moments (and, in TV and film, often are). But all the "easy options" I know seem to resort to telling the message instead of showing the emotion:
- Literally convert the nonverbal message into a verbal one:
The expression on her face said "Get out now."
- Describe the nonverbal action in a way that just spells the emotion and message out for the reader:
She didn't say anything, only gazed at me pleadingly.
Use established cliches that we already have strong associations for, and know precisely what they're meant to convey:
"Do you want to--" I began, but Maria was already rolling her eyes at me.
Just like every time Corrington dropped by to visit, Nate was grinding his teeth.
These are fine some of the time. But there are times when I want to have wordless communication, and to do it well, vividly, engrossing the reader in the moment and not resorting to telling.
How can I do that?