moonlite_tryst: (Default)
[personal profile] moonlite_tryst
What do you consider an unreadable expression to look like?

A quick purse of the lips? A frown so fleeting it barely registered?

Thoughts?

Me? I haven't got a clue and maybe that's the point.

Date: 2011-07-20 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] libby-drew.livejournal.com
Good question. To me, I always picture an unreadable look as blank. Slack features? Showing no emotion? So that the other person can't guess what's going through his/her mind.

My two cents.

Date: 2011-07-20 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
Blank sounds good. It also crosses my mind from time to time, when I read that phrase, that maybe the author couldn't make their mind up.

Date: 2011-07-20 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dysonrules.livejournal.com
I generally use that when the POV character is expecting a reaction and doesn't get one. I sort of see it as an intentional lack of reaction.

Date: 2011-07-20 06:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melusinahp.livejournal.com
This. What it looks like depends on the POV character. :)

Date: 2011-07-20 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
So it could be a blank expression, devoid of emotion?

Date: 2011-07-20 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dysonrules.livejournal.com
Yeah, that about covers it. :D Usually it makes the POV character wonder what they are thinking.

Date: 2011-07-20 02:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-rowan.livejournal.com
It's probably different for different people--and on different people, come to that. Is he upset? Thoughtful? Experiencing a brief twinge of indigestion?

Date: 2011-07-20 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
I had been substituting blank for unreadable, but can one have a blank expression?

Date: 2011-07-21 02:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-rowan.livejournal.com
A character might be trying to assume a deliberately blank expression ... but what's unreadable to one person might be "Oh, christ, he's about to trot out the Volkswagen joke again," to someone else. It's pretty subjective. I'd use it if the POV character was unable to figure out what another character was up to.

Date: 2011-07-20 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fran-fic.livejournal.com
*LOL* Yeah, one would think that if an expression is actually not possible to read (unreadable) you would, in fact, not know when it crossed someone's face :-)

I think the semantic meaning is, as someone said below, that it's a sort of blank face, or they meant that it wasn't possible to see on their face what they were thinking, but it really makes no sense taken at 'face value' so to speak :-)

Date: 2011-07-20 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
you would, in fact, not know when it crossed someone's face

This has also crossed my mind. I have been substituting blank in my head. Now that's something Taven could practise to save himself a lot of grief.

Date: 2011-07-20 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fran-fic.livejournal.com
That's true! He could benefit a lot from any kind of self control, really :-)

Date: 2011-07-20 03:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auntbijou.livejournal.com
Hmmmm, well... I've always considered it to be a blank or neutral expression, one that maybe the viewing character isn't familiar with, and thus unable to "read" it. But, you know, the "unreadable expression," has become somewhat of a cliche in fiction, period, and now, I sort of translate as the author saying, "You know, I really couldn't decide or figure out what kind of expression this character should be wearing when faced with these circumstances, so I fell back on the ever dependable unreadable expression!"

Rather like carrying an elephant in your toolbox, wot?

Date: 2011-07-20 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
"You know, I really couldn't decide or figure out what kind of expression this character should be wearing when faced with these circumstances, so I fell back on the ever dependable unreadable expression!"

Absolutely to the above and the cliche status too.

Date: 2011-07-20 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmagrant01.livejournal.com
I tend to think of it as intentionally masked on the part of the other person. So it's neutral or blank, but with the implication that they're hiding something.

Date: 2011-07-20 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
but with the implication that they're hiding something.

That makes the phrase more meaningful than another way of saying blank. *tucks away in memory*

Date: 2011-07-20 06:37 am (UTC)
potteresque_ire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] potteresque_ire
Hmmm. I just saw this phrase the other day and thought about the same thing. I like this phrase though.

For me, it's more than blank... it's more like there's conflict in what is being expressed. If the face is overall blank, then there's something that signals off a strong turmoil underneath...

Date: 2011-07-20 11:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] symetric.livejournal.com
I like this phrase though.
me too! it may not be technically perfect, but it works so damn well. :D :D :D

for me, it can mean one of two thinks: like you've all ready said, when there are too many emotions to express at once, and the second as Emma has said above, when the character whose POV we're reading from can't decipher what the other person's thinking.

but really, i just interpret it depending on the context.

Date: 2011-07-20 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
As I've said, I'm rather more uncharitable about the phrase than you. I tend to think it's a cop out. I shall now read it in the light of still waters run deep.

Date: 2011-07-20 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
If the face is overall blank, then there's something that signals off a strong turmoil underneath...

I'll have to bear that in mind rather than thinking 'Nooo author, don't cop out now. Show me what X is thinking/feeling.

Date: 2011-07-21 02:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enchanted-jae.livejournal.com
I imagine it to be more of a shutting down of expression.

Date: 2011-07-21 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
That makes sense. Thanks.

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