This is the part of writing that makes me jealous of actors. They say so much with just a flicker of the eyebrow, the teensiest change in inflection. When I try to do this in writing it comes across so much more clunky.
This particular aspect of description has been important to me lately, and here's why: I would so much rather show the emotion on someone's face and let that speak for itself than describe the emotion. It is so easy to dip into cliche when describing emotion. Emotion, particularly intense emotion, is one of those things that goes beyond words, and I'd rather just watch the scene and let the reader go on their own emotional journey. I loved Hemingway because that's what he did. Its also the reason half the class despised him.
So I've been trying to figure this out. Because describing voices and facial expressions can also get extremely cliche. And as I've been trying to pay attention to this in my reading, I've noticed that my facial expression approach is not a common one. Most writers do describe the emotion itself, and when its done well it is beautiful, poetic, and speaks to some universal human Truths. (Thank you F. Scott Fitzgerald)
But I like my faces. This is why I love good acting. The look on Niles' face when he tells Daphne he loves her. Meryl Streep's Julia Child blush or soft "That's all." Forrest Gumps broken face when he sees his son for the first time. Colin Firth King's Speech all the things.
How do you write that?
So I want to try an experiment. I'm going to give you a photo and a video clip. Distinctive ones, at least to me. How would you describe this face and this voice? What are your tactics?