Monday, October 21, 2013


Anne Greene here. As writers we want to show and not tell. If you have a character who is lying, how can you show that? Below are nine suggestions to help you with showing.


1.    The hand covering the mouth is your character’s subconscious reaction to saying deceitful words. Sometimes the gesture might be several fingers or a closed fist over the mouth. Or your character might place a finger over her lips in a shush gesture. Do you ever find yourself using this gesture? 

2.     The hand touching the nose or rubbing the nose can signal lying. What the person says stinks to them. A person’s nose expands with blood when lying. The increased blood pressure causes nerve endings in the nose to itch. 

3.    The nose itch is also used by a listener who doesn’t believe a speaker’s words. Watch your audience. Are they scratching their noses?    

4.    The eye rub. The eye rub attempts to block out deceit, doubt, or distaste or to avoid having to look at the face of the person who is lied to. Men rub their eyes vigorously if the lie is a whopper. They will often look away. Women use small touching motions below the eye. The eye rub often occurs with clenched teeth and a fake smile. How’s that for a villainous expression? 

5.     The ear grab. The ear grab is a symbolic attempt by a listener to hear no evil by blocking the words he hears or tugging on the earlobe. The ear grab can also signal a listener has heard enough and wants to speak.  

6.    When a person uses the ear grab along with the nose touch this shows anxiety. 

7.    The neck scratch. Scratching the neck below the ear lobe five times shows doubt.  

8.    The collar pull. Lies cause a tingling sensation in the face and neck tissues that need a rub. So some people use the collar pull when they lie and believe they have been caught. The collar pull also shows anger and frustration. 

9.    The fingers-in-the-mouth. This gesture shows a need for reassurance. This goes back to the reassurance a child receives sucking on his fingers. 

Next week I’ll continue with BODY LANGUAGE FOR YOUR CHARACTERS.  

I hope this little lesson helps you SHOW your characters’ reactions rather than TELLING them. 

You can buy my books Masquerade Marriage and A Texas Christmas Mystery at Anne Greene author. Marriage by Arrangement releases December 6, 2013.  
Which telling action do you like best, or do you have a telling action that you would like to share with the other readers? Add your picture to my community for a chance to win A Texas Christmas Mystery.  



  1. Great information. I get so tired of writing the same actions...well, not actually writing them, but searching for a new way to write them. lol Thanks.

  2. Hi Patricia, Good to see you here. I'm glad this was helpful. Please join my followers (picture community) for a chance to win A Texas Christmas Mystery!