Oddly enough, one of the most useful skills I’ve acquired from becoming a romance writer is an improved ability to read people’s facial expressions and body language.
I’m not suggesting I’ll be taking up a second career as an FBI profiler, but prior to learning to write romance, I had zero skills in that area. Back when I worked in IT, I would often go to meetings. Afterwards my co-workers would dissect the subtle interactions between the power players who ran our world.
“Did you see the look A gave B?” one would ask.
“I did!” another would chortle. “Did you see the expression on C’s face? She totally did not want to be assigned to work with D.”
I saw none of this.
As I’ve struggled to learn how to show emotion rather than telling it, though, I’ve learned a few things. Emotions Revealed by Paul Eckman was a godsend. It describes, with photographs, not only major emotions (fear, surprise, anger, etc.) look but also the subtle micro-expressions that accompany less strongly felt emotions.
How good are you at deciphering what people are feeling simply by looking at them?