Emotional Beats | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

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Last month, I mentioned the launch of Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings. As promised, here is the next installment from the book. It lists beats you can use to convey:


Indifference can be hard to convey through a beat because you’re really describing the lack of a physical reaction. And you can have your characters shrug only so much before they start looking like they’re having a seizure. Some useful beats are:

  • She looked down at him through laced fingers.
  • She steepled her long fingers together.
  • He absent-mindedly cracked his knuckles.
  • He dismissed her with a commanding gesture.
  • She pressed her hands to her cheeks.
  • She made a steeple of her fingers.
  • She sent an indifferent glance about the room.
  • He cast only the slightest of glances to the woman before focusing back to [object].
  • He yawned.


  • She gave a one-shoulder shrug.
  • She gave a half shrug.
  • He lifted his shoulder in a half shrug.
  • She sloughed off a lame shrug.
  • She sloughed off that hint of doom.
  • A flinch issued from her shoulder.
  • A quick shrug usurped her intended nod.
  • His shoulders flinched a tight/nervous shrug.


  • He waved a hand to indicate he understood.
  • He waved at him dismissively.
  • He brushed off her complaints with a dismissive wave of his hand.
  • With a flick of her wrist, she waved away the question.
  • Accepting the inevitable, he nodded to proceed with an unenthusiastic flourish of his hand.
  • She gave a dismissive wave of her hand.
  • He waved off her words like they were mosquitoes.

Next week: interest. View all posts on the subject, or buy the book on Amazon – free on KU!