I have a lot of fun watching people, their reactions and comparing them to my own. It is fascinating to realize that people respond in such a wide variety of ways to simple things.
Since I’ve talked about blood and sweat it’s fitting that I take a poke at tears. Tears are wrapped tightly around emotions and pain and a huge part of life. They can easily be over used in writing and are often the go to for anyone wanting to brashly show emotion. The temptation to turn to tears is easy because they are the visible product of emotions that come from the windows to the soul.
I like to get overly creative with tears and or crying if I can(or remember to). Mostly because if I’m careful they can express an emotion without internalizing the POV. The trick is to stay away from melodrama and understand that crying isn’t always why we tear up. Also not everyone cries and some cry at the drop of a dime.
Reasons for tears
Something in the eye
Cold or illness
Flash of bright light
Manipulation (this one can be fun to give an antagonist to use.)
It is easy to go right to crying when writing but it actually can take a lot before a person is emotionally there. This is where paying attention to real people and how they deal with emotions can help.
Some ways to describe or elude to tears
Moist (A lot of people dislike this word, use with caution)
Wiping eyes (With anything really, tissue, fingers, sleeves…)
Now that I have an idea how to cause and describe tears. What other things happen when tears are imminent, occurring or when they are over.
Signs tears are about to happen/are happening or have happened
Sniffles/runny nose/blowing nose/dripping nose
Wet skin/drips on clothes/Tear stains (On clothes or if face is dirty tears leave streaks)
Down cast eyes
If from sadness a closed off posture, rubbing hands or arms. Looking down at hands or lap People often feel shame after crying (I try to remember to show the shame and not tell it)
Amber listened to Valery list off her so-called offenses against Sasha and a few others in the office. Most of it was here say and not actual proof or had little fact to it. This is personal, it had to be. Blinking rapidly Amber let big globs build up in her eyes until her vision blurred and then blinked the fat drops down her rosy cheeks.
Valery handed her a tissue. “What do you have to say?”
“Thanks.” Amber sniffled and dabbed the corners of her eyes. “It’s all out of context, I’m being targeted. Jealousy I think.” Amber blinked up through her false lashes at Valery. “It happens all the time.” She fidgeted with the tissue in her hands. “It’s not my fault if that’s how people are going to be. I’m awfully sorry if my sense of humor caused heartache. I’m just the bystander caught in whatever is going on. I get sucked into the gossip too easily, it’s my weakness.”
Valery consoled the desolate Amber and sent her on her way once she calmed down and promised to be nicer and more careful about gossiping.
Amber sniffled as the door closed behind her, a sly smile eased across her lips. “Works every time.”
Cal closed his eyes a moment and took a deep breath as he closed the door behind him. He swallowed and cleared his throat. The woman was a shattered mess of her former self.
“Bastard.” Cal murmured and pressed his forefinger and thumb to his burning eyes.
Detective Miller clapped his hand on Cal’s shoulder. “She’s lucky to be alive Cal, bring her justice, catch the guy.”
Cal shook his head. “That woman’s life is forever changed and that filthy no good piece of…” Cal sighed again, rubbed his face and eyes. “The scum that did that to her Miller, he’s on the loose again.”
The reality was Cal shouldn’t be on the Baylor Crowen case at all. If it wasn’t for a lucky break or two he would have been pulled for being too close to this case. His cell rang and held it to his ear. “Thorn.” Listening his grim face fell further. “What do you mean the officer lost her?” Cal took a slow deep breath in. “I’ll go myself.”
“The protection lose Miss Parsons?”
“Yeah, traffic separated them, she didn’t go where they anticipated and she’s not answering her cell. They’re going to do a drive by her house to see if she’s there.”
Miller cocked his head to the side. “Just a drive by?”
“Yup and a lot of good it will do her if he’s already there. Shit.” Cal turned and Detective Miller followed. “I should have insisted on better protection.”
“Some on the force think Baylor Crowen isn’t Dr.Demolish.”
Cal was nearly running as he got to the parking lot. “Tacky Miller and I bet my life savings that he is.”
Not all tears need to be shed, some can be close and then disappear. They don’t have to be streaming down in torrents to be useful. Just enough to elude to something greater such as Cal’s reason for hunting down Baylor Crowen and even switching departments to follow him. I pay close attention to how I want a particular character to present tears and keep this info in their Bio’s. A person that cries at sad commercials might not cry in front of others. A man who cries might need to be pushed to his brink before it happens.
My advice about tears.
Tears are not always something to cry about. If you’re going to give someone a reason make it a good one that furthers the story in some fantastic way. Don’t forget to show and not tell, but don’t make everyone crybabies or stoic-feel-nothings find a balance and mix up the degrees of teary moments.
The other two related posts
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