How to Use Gestures in Your Writing

Body language can truly speak louder than words. We use different body parts like eyes, hands, arms and legs in unique ways, with each one having several meanings. It is a powerful method of communication that most of us use without even realizing we are using it.

By studying human behaviour, we can infuse it into our writing so our characters are more realistic. In this installment of the body language series, we will discuss how using the eyes and arms can improve your writing.

Eye contact is the strongest form of body language that humans use. Incorporating body gestures helps to round out your characters.

Direct Eye Contact

Using direct eye contact shows interest, positive thinking, and sincerity. However, it could also mean mistrust, doubt, and suspicion.

Lateral Eye Movements

Lateral eye movements may mean the person is lying, or inspecting their surroundings, making sure no one or everyone is listening. Often, when someone is trying to recall or imagine something, they will look upward.

Looking Up or Down

When someone is trying to recall or imagine something, they will look upward. Conversely, looking down may show submission to authority or guilt.

Wide Eyes

If a person’s eyes widen quickly, it is a signal of shock, surprise, or disbelief.


When someone squints at what you are saying, it can mean that they are analyzing what you have to say or that they are trying to determine whether you are telling the truth.

Lack of Eye Contact

If they can’t hold eye contact with you for a short time and if they look away, it signifies a lack of interest, dishonesty, or boredom. Sometimes looking away signifies attraction or simply a slight distraction.

Hand and Arm Gestures

Did you know that your hand and arm gestures can also display different meanings? Besides the obvious ones that we see people use every day, like waving and pointing.

Palms Upwards

If someone talks with their palms facing upwards, they are showing sincerity.

Fist Clenched

If someone talks with their fist clenched, it is a sign of anger or hostility. But sometimes a clenched fist could show that they have confidence in their idea or opinion

Tapping Fingers

If you encounter somebody who taps or drums their fingers on a surface, they are showing feelings of nervousness or anxiety.

Arms Crossed

Arms crossed across the chest is a display of defense and protection from an outside source, or may simply show that they disagree with what is being said. On the other hand it may simply mean that he or she feels cold!

Hands in Pockets

Pockets are never the right place to put your hands. Especially when you are engaged in a conversation with another person. If you are speaking to a person with their hands in their pockets, they may appear nervous, uncomfortable, bored, or uninterested. This gesture can also mean that they may hide something from you or that they don’t want to engage in a specific activity or task.

Last Words on Body Gestures

In this installment of the body language series, we discussed using body gestures. How do you use body language in your writing? Let me know in the comments.

Take Care


All photo from Pixabay.


Body Language Series

Missed any segments in the body language series? You can catch up here:

Body Language

Open and Closed

Aggressive and Defensive


Dominant and Submissive

Relaxed and Ready


Attentive and Evaluative





The links below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you.

Publisher Rocket


You May Also Like…