Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are Eyes Really the Window of a Character's Soul?

There's steely eyes, knowing eyes, mocking eyes, piercing eyes, glowing eyes, bedroom eyes, and etc. 


Eyes are simply organs of sight. How in the world can they be windows of a character's soul and reflect feelings?

While the eye itself actually reveals nothing, it's the context around it that does and I contend the spirit and soul of a character is seen in his/her eyes. This can be revealed in many ways such as how they use their eyes. To look, glance, gaze, or even stare has meaning.

Look . . .
To look deliberately at a person acknowledges that we see them. In body language we are saying that we know they are there. 

For instance, Bob looked across the room and saw the woman who had broken his heart two years ago. She hugged the baby in her arms more tightly as she walked toward him.

Glance . . .
This happens quickly. Could be a glance between lovers, a quick look as a character walks by someone, or in a stressful situation, a character glances when he/she doesn't want to give too much away to other characters.

Ronny stole a quick glance at the man who held everyone in the room at gunpoint.

Gaze . . .
A gaze is more than a look and not quite as strong as a stare.

She gazed into his bedroom eyes and felt the familiar sizzle  spiraled deep inside her heart.

Stare . . .
This is great for getting your point across whether it's romance, suspense, or even comedy, a stare says a lot.

He stared at me like he'd never seen me before. As I came closer, he pointed behind me. I glanced back to find a long piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

A stare can be used in many ways: to make a villain more menacing, to show disapproval, to convey tender feelings, or even to show fear. A good, long, hard stare can be used to convey many things.

Because the eyes are so important to our characters, we'll continue this discussion next week and talk about where characters look as they speak and what it means. You might be surprised.

So is your main character looking, glancing, gazing or staring in a scene today?



  1. A great example of the importance of word choice.

  2. Great post, Kathi.

    I'm making the rounds, waving hello, from the campaign field. Nice to meet you!

  3. Raquel:
    It sounds like a lot of fun. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I do everything right. Just posted a blog about it this morning. I'm a little slow. See you around the campaign. :)

  4. Dora,
    I'm excited about the campaign. I'll hop over to your blog in a second. Nice to meet you!



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