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As an author, I’m frequently writing about people smiling. Of course, I can’t constantly write ‘he smiled.’ That would be boring, and being boring is a cardinal sin for fiction writers.

As an alternative, I might write ‘he grinned,’ or ‘his lips turned upward at the corners,’ or some other version of lips pulling apart and showing teeth… or not. But are all grins, smiles, smirks, and laughing lips equal? Of course not. So what, specifically, do these different versions of the humble smile really mean?

To pursue that question I recommend reading this series of blog articles on smiles by Sinay Tarakanov. Mr. Tarakanov writes a blog dedicated to understanding what our bodies are saying. Not only is his entry on smiles interesting, but as a fiction author I found all of his articles enlightening.

Thanks for reading this entry, and if you’re a fiction writer, may all the words you produce today be golden.