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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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Back in September, I published Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings. As promised, I will be posting the book on my blog. So, here is the next installment, listing beats you can use to convey:



Hopefully, our characters will also know joy every once in a while. Here are some creative ways to portray it.


  • She bounced on her toes.
  • She jumped up and down in glee.


  • He gave a wave for the merriment to commence.
  • She threw her arms open.
  • He threw his hands in the air.
  • She brushed her palms together.
  • He rubbed his hands together.


  • He let out a guffaw that echoed throughout the great room.
  • The silence broke when he broke out into hysterical laughter; a sort of half chuckle, half splutter.
  • He laughed; a hearty, genuine chortle.
  • A laugh broke from his chest.
  • She pressed a hand to her mouth to stifle her giggles.
  • She held back her laughter by a hair.
  • Giggles tucked neatly into the nooks and crannies of her words.
  • She breathed off an easy laugh.
  • A burst of giggles stirred her belly and mingled with a thousand butterflies.

Of course, there are plenty of other verbs available. Depending on the context and the intention, you can use any of these with the above beats:

  • Tittered.
  • Giggled.
  • Guffawed.
  • Chuckled.
  • Cackled.
  • Chortled.
  • Howled.
  • Snickered.
  • Snorted.


  • The corners of her mouth curled upwards into a smile / into a wide grin.
  • The corners of his lips quirked into a light smile.
  • A small grin stole across the stranger’s full, red lips.
  • An impish smile made his mouth twitch.
  • He smiled a lopsided grin at her.
  • The flicker of a smile passed his lips.
  • She flashed a huge grin at me.
  • He beamed a smile at her.
  • He gave a little whisk of a smile and continued on.
  • His lips parted in a grin.
  • …flashing an innocent smile.
  • A wide smile spread across his face.
  • A smile parted his lips.
  • The smile grew wider until it reached his eyes.
  • She smiled from ear to ear.
  • A smile broke through his lips.
  • He bit his lower lip, trying not to laugh.
  • An amused expression quirked up the side of her mouth as she studied him.
  • The corner of her lips tugged up in an inviting smile that refused to let him walk away.
  • Her usual crooked smile quirked up one side of her mouth.
  • A crooked smile touched her lips despite the wistful eyes.
  • He quirked a smile.
  • A grin creased his face.
  • She smirked.
  • An involuntary twitch cracked the edges of his mouth.
  • His lips curled upwards.
  • “Yes?” she prompted, smiling beatifically [blissful happiness, ecstatically].
  • He flashed her a grin.
  • A smile creased his face.
  • He wore a wide grin.
  • She cracked a grin.
  • He shot me a roguish grin.
  • Damn if that frown didn’t turn upside down.
  • Her brittle smile belied the sentiment of her words.
  • His smile fell away.
  • …coaxing a grin from him
  • A cocked smile appeared on his thin lips.
  • In a flash, her pouting lips stretched into a beaming smile.
  • A smile tugged a corner of her mouth upward.
  • His smile widened.
  • His mouth twisted into a smile/grin.
  • She favored his words with a barely visible upturn at the corners of her mouth.
  • He allowed himself a grin.
  • She winked as she left, winning her a broad grin from him.
  • His lips spread and his eyes crinkled in a grateful expression.
  • A ghost of a smile crossed his lips.
  • His grin returned.
  • A smile warmed his lips.
  • A satisfied smile raced across her face.
  • He pursed his lips together in a faint smile and nodded.
  • His grin got caught up in the dim light.
  • His laugh came soft, almost girlish.
  • Her smile came warm and dreamy.
  • A grin curled around her full lips like a lazy cat settling in a puddle of midday sunshine.
  • His grin softened into a genuine smile.
  • A smile quirked her lips.

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