Smiles can be so expressive, can’t they? When we interact with someone, reading their smile plays a significant role in the impression we form of them and the way we interpret what they are saying.
For the writer, there are any number of adjectives that can be applied to smiles: wry, embarrassed, half-hearted, coy, smug, gloating. There are also several synonyms for smile, each of which will create a slightly different impression in the reader: grin, beam, leer, smirk. Using the right word or combination of words is important if you’re going to convey the right image and tone to the reader.
One of the best smiles I have read lately comes from the first book in Shelley Adina’s Magnificent Devices series. Not only does it produce a laser-sharp image in my mind, but it sets the perfect tone for the comment that follows:
Lady Julia smiled with the soulless precision of an automaton. “I was just saying to Peony how trim this cuirass cut makes her look. And dark colors, you know, fool the eye into believing one’s weight is less than it is.”
Lady of Devices
With friends like that, who needs enemies!