Facial Expression List for Writers

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Bryn Donovan compiled a broad list of facial expression descriptions that you can use for both action and dialogue. It’s worth noting you can find these types of associations in the phrases list of Master Writer software. For Bryn’s complete list, visit bryndonovan.com.


  • his eyes widened
  • his eyes burned with…
  • _____ glowed in his eyes
  • her eyes were wet
  • his brows drew together
  • his pupils flared


  • she sneered
  • his nostrils flared
  • she stuck her nose in the air


  • her mouth curved into a smile
  • he plastered a smile on his face
  • his smile slipped
  • he pursed his lips
  • a muscle in her jaw twitched


  • he blanched
  • the color drained out of his face
  • her cheeks turned pink
  • he turned crimson
  • a flush crept up her face


  • she winced
  • he glowered
  • she brightened
  • his face twisted
  • her expression hardened
William Robert Rich
William Robert Rich

William Robert Rich is a story analyst, screenwriter, and co-author of Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He's currently based in Austin, Texas.

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