As I'm typing it in the prompt, currently: " The maiden's gaze, empty with no musing, as her thoughts became nil. " Hope there's a better way I can emphasize her dead gaze.

  • First you need a verb.
    – Jim
    Apr 23, 2020 at 5:54
  • 1
    Perhaps: The maiden gazed, emptily and without musing, as her thoughts became nil. I'm not sure why there's a need to come up with a different phrase. Instead, just convert your noun into a verb. Or maybe: The maiden's dead gaze was without thought. Just use dead gaze itself. Apr 23, 2020 at 5:56
  • Sounds much better; but in any case, would there be a better replacement for, ' empty with no musing? '
    – Marquise
    Apr 23, 2020 at 6:00
  • "Blank stare" is a very common idiom.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 23, 2020 at 12:29
  • 1
    Ditto re vacant stare as suggested by @Runk. No one home anymore. Apr 23, 2020 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Some similar adjectives which form collocations before "gaze" are the following: vacant, lifeless, unseeing, faded, somber, and expressionless.

Maybe they will be of help.

Source: the Corpus of Contemporary American English


If the emptiness comes from a lack of feeling, or an inability to show feeling, there’s without affect. This is a term used more in medical settings than in general language, so its use depends on the tone you want to establish.


Her expression was completely vacant describes what you can see externally.

She gazed at him without affect tells the reader that your character is not feeling an emotion towards the person she is looking at. It also suggests that the narrator has knowledge of the character’s emotional state, but is distant and not strongly involved with the character emotionally.

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