You’ve read the stories where the characters have repetitive actions. They’re described in different ways, but in the end, they mean the same.
Harold glanced at Audrey. “Are you okay?”
Audrey peered through the darkness at him. “Scared is all?
Harold narrowed his eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re afraid of ghosts.”
“I don’t like anything I can’t explain.” She stabbed him with her glare.
A low moan came from somewhere within the house. Harold closed his eyes. He’d taken the dare. He couldn’t turn back now.
You get the idea. Some take the adage, “The eyes are the window of the soul,” to the extreme. Those authors, if they aren’t using a speech attribute, give all movement to the eyes.
Some authors will have their character’s gripping everything in sight. The same rule applies. Characters’ actions should be varied. Deep thought can be used to aid in presenting rounded characters.
The best authors use beats that provide insight into the personality of their characters:
Harold strolled up the steps of the old abandoned house. His friends had called him a coward. Still, he had a mystery to solve and nothing would stand in his way.
Audrey clutched at the back of his shirt.
He reached for her hand and with a gentle tug brought her to his side and slipped his arm around her shoulder. Supposedly haunted houses were great places to take a date. Girls loved to be frightened, even if they wouldn’t admit it. “Are you okay?”
Audrey leaned in closer to him. “Scared is all?
Harold chuckled, but not too loudly. He didn’t want to awaken anything that could be waiting for them in the dilapidated mansion. “Don’t tell me you’re afraid of ghosts.”
In his arms, Audrey shivered. “I don’t like anything I can’t explain.”
A low moan came from somewhere within the house. Harold stilled every muscle in his body. It wouldn’t do to let Audrey know he was just as frightened as her. He’d taken the dare. He couldn’t turn back now.
When self-editing, a helpful hint for authors is to highlight repetitive motions and, when possible, provide a more vivid picture of movement. Characters do widen their eyes, narrow their gazes, glare, look up, look down, and look away…but the best stories limit those actions.