We’re all on some sort of journey, aren’t we? Check back here periodically to find out more about G. Elizabeth Kretchmer’s journeys through the literary world and through life.

Category Archives: Characters and Other Literary Elements

Our Eyes: Windows Into Our Souls

It has been said the eyes are the windows to our souls, and writers accordingly pay close attention to what a character does with her eyes.

Unfortunately, emerging writers often rely too much on the standard look/glance/gaze between characters to convey thought, desire, and emotion.

As I prepared for a writing workshop at the fabulous Write on the Sound writing conference this past weekend, I did some research about how eye contact works in real life, and in so doing I read some interesting theories that I shared with my workshop participants and that I also intend to test out over the coming weeks.

According to experts in human behavior, we generally look for direct eye contact if we are:

  • Looking for feedback
  • Expressing desire for further communication (e.g. from across a crowded room or bar)
  • Showing our intention to dominate or threaten
  • Talking (75% of talkers want direct eye contact)
  • Female

We generally avoid direct eye contact if we are:

  • Thinking
  • Within six feet of a stranger
  • About to make a confession
  • Standing next to someone and doing something together side by side (e.g. washing dishes)
  • Listening (only 40% of listeners make direct eye contact)
  • Socially anxious
  • Male
  • Talking with a disabled person or someone we deem unattractive

Other factors that influence eye contact between people include:

  • Ethnicity and cultural background
  • Feelings of boredom or superiority

Did you know:

  • People who wear sunglasses, like police officers, might do so to avoid eye contact and/or confrontation?
  • Our pupils dilate when our emotions are aroused?
  • We blink when we are nervous or lying?

Version 2If our eyes really are windows into our souls, then understanding if, how, and when we look at one another is critical to interpreting what we see when we do look through those windows.


For more info, check out The Secrets of Eye Contact, Revealed or The Power of Eye Contact: Your Secret for Success in Business, Love, and Life.

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Who Wants Happily Ever After?

I’ve been wondering lately who prefers happily ever after endings. In real life, we probably all do. But that’s fantasy. I’m talking stories here. As a reader, I generally go for stories that are messy and complicated and realistic, with messy and complicated and realistic endings. But I know there are lots of people who like endings… Continue Reading

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Book Review: The Lake House

In the last month, I’ve read a novel about two Italian friends, a mystery about a missing baby, and a drug addict’s memoir (not to mention an essay featuring an uninvited visit by male genitalia). Which led me to wonder what I should write about in my March 2016 book review. The Lake House by… Continue Reading

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Book Review: The Likeness

I recently read Tana French’s novel The Likeness in my attempt to catch up to her.  She’s been cranking out mysteries every other year since 2008, which means she’s due to publish another installment of the Dublin Murder Squad soon, and I’ve got three more books to read before that one. Each of the books… Continue Reading

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Book Review: The Boys in the Boat

I was late getting around to reading The Boys in the Boat, and now I’m late writing my #Mondayblog about it. There’s a reason for my tardiness: I suspected the book would raise a difficult question for me. And it did. My initial question, when Everyone (and I mean Everyone, including my husband) said I… Continue Reading

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