LESSON Smirking

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Minibit, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. is it just me, or do characters smirk a lot in roleplays?

    A lot of people have their characters smirk because they want them to be perceived as cool or sexy, but here's the thing:

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    Smirks are:
    • Derisive (abusive vocally, expressing contempt or ridicule)
    • Belittling
    • Arrogant
    • A sign of self-importance (having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one's own importance; pompously conceited or haughty)
    Here's some photographs of smirks:

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    Now smirking is not always a bad choice. If the character is telling off someone who's just done something stupid, if being standoffish and kinda haughty is accurate for their personality, if they're about to deliver the death blow to an enemy, and if they've just been severely underestimated are all great times to whip out a smirk! I'm sure there are lots more examples of well-placed smirks.

    However, if in this scene, moment, or character, a 'bully'/'pompous ass'/'I'm better than you' vibe is not what you were going for, consider using one of the following next time

    Smile
    Grin
    Simper*
    Half-smile
    Beaming
    A happy expression
    Smile politely
    A small smile
    A tense smile


    *this is the one most folk are going for with their smirks. To simper is to "
    smile or gesture in an affectedly coquettish (behaving in such a way as to suggest a playful sexual attraction; flirtatious.), coy (Affectedly and often flirtatiously shy or modest), or ingratiating (capable of winning favour) manner."
     
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  2. B-b-ut... So many of my characters are smug bastards.

    I'm guilty as fuck of this.
     
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  3. IAN SOMERHALDER!!!!! I FUCKING LOVE YOU @Minibit!!!! <3
     
  4. I have a habit of making my characters not just smirk all the time, but grin or just crack a smile. I've been trying to use other ways to express cockiness and playfulness. I don't know if playfully shrugging works that well. Or raising your eyebrows slightly, hahah.
     
  5. A shrug is an act of dismissal, I can't picture what a 'playful shrug' would look like. Raising one or both eyebrows works, or waving things off with one or both hands, laughs, giggles, active gestures, but more important is what your character is doing while using this body language; nobody comes off as playful or fun if they're standing still or doing the routine grind all the time! Spontaneity and thinking outside the box will go just as far.
     
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  6. Heh, yeah, I get what you're saying. I tend to "experiment" when I RP and the results aren't always the best.

    I wish I had a handbook of gestures and the emotions behind them. It'd make writing a lot more easier!

    (Also, how do you quote posts?)
     
  7. You can hit the "reply" button at the bottom of someone's post. Or you can highlight a portion of text and click the reply button which will appear.
     
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  8. This might be helpful :P Although a guide specifically on movements and gestures and the meanings they imply would be more catered to your need. This one is more about communicating moods. I'll tack a 'gestures guide' onto my to-do list!
     
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  9. Try these. Just some random tips off the top of my head.
    • Eyebrows: Almost as powerful as eyes in the flexibility of emotions they can present. They can quirk, depress, express confusion, irritation, concentration, et cetera.
    • Eyes: Gateways to the human soul. IE: Emotions, emotions, emotions!
    • Upper lip/edges: Rather than using the entire mouth (ex: He smirked) you could, for variation, try only using half of it. "He glares with a nervous twitch in his upper lip."
    • Use descriptions of emotions instead: "A smug look came to his face." "There was a gentle manner in which he moved."
    • To move away from the face, try the chest & shoulders. Nothing screams "pride" like a puffed out chest, trying to impress.
    • Breathing: Shallow, heavy, raspy, sharp...
    • Tone: ...Calm, gentle, arrogant, flirtatious.
    Beyond that, practice makes perfect. Keep a thesaurus around, it's a godsend when looking for variation within repetition.
     
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  10. I love my thesaurus, but it should always be used in combination with a dictionary! Synonym-hopping, or using synonyms you're unfamiliar with, can leave you saying something you don't mean at all!
     
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  11. Thanks for the help, you guys! :)

    Stuff like this makes me a better RPer, hahah.
     
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  12. Call me biased...

    I can't stand seeing "smirks" in roleplays. I seen some funnier ones such as "Smirks corrupted" before. How do you smirk like like that? I like words such as "grimace" or "He smiled a rather coy grin." It sounds beter than saying "He smirked." Smug sounds good as well.

    For someone who Roleplays as DMC 3 Dante and Date Masamune, I tend to use "coy grin/smile", "smug grin" or "grimace".
     
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  13. I gotta say, I keep forgetting about the noun of Smirk. Plus I can't think of any characters of mine who would smirk. Well, at least currently.