Masque, Masquerade, Mask

August 19, 2020 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , with 0 and 0
Home > Columns > On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen > Masque, Masquerade, Mask

No! I’m not going to weigh in on the mask vs no mask debate. Really.

I am an inveterate people watcher. Sometimes I go overboard and get caught staring — awkward. Honestly, it’s not you I’m looking at, it’s the potential character the physical ‘you’ suggests to me. I’m pretty sure all writers do that to one degree or another. It can’t be helped. Some people just like a (too) kindly grandmother, or a shifty con man or a fairy princess or a sharkish accountant.

Faces reveal so much, from hidden agendas to unspoken feelings, spontaneous joy to suppressed fury. It’s fertile ground for the writer. Anne Perry uses the reading of facial expressions to heighten tension and create suspense. In her hands it’s a plot device and she’s brilliant at it. Add body language to that and a character comes fully to life. It’s also a great way to stomp down those unwanted dialog tags; showing the reader who’s speaking is miles better than telling.

Just watching the emotional beats revealed on the faces of two friends having coffee can jumpstart a story and the story can shift and morph if I switch genres in my head. (Yep, I start a lot of imaginary tales. It’s more fun than Sudoku.) Narrowed eyes and rigid lips mean one thing in a spy thriller and quite another in a romance. Add the tilt of the head and a clinching of fists and it could work for either the inciting incident or the denouement.

Now most of us are masked and I have to shift my game. We’re all consciously trying to keep a six-foot distance and it makes for some very stilted body language! A woman turned from the pasta aisle just as I was turning in, our carts nearly colliding. That’s a common enough occurrance at the grocery store and usually each party smiles and laughs and maneuvers on their way. I found myself braying an exaggerated laugh, shrugging my shoulders and my “oh sorry” came out a bit over bright. It was the mirror response of this woman. We couldn’t read each other’s faces. An apologetic smile doesn’t do it any longer.

They say we need to adjust to a new normal. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but I can imagine all this maskedness and artful distancing will add some very intriguing elements to contemporary fiction. How will strangers meet and grow a romance? Is love at first sight a victim of the pandemic? How will antagonists make use of the fact that with a baseball cap, sunglasses and the compulsory mask one is virtually unidentifiable? Think of the wonderful mix-ups this could lead to. Great fodder for screw-ball comedy. Or great fodder for murder and mayhem.

It will be impossible to ignore Corvid in writing contemporary stories. At the very least it will have to serve as atmosphere, but there are elements of this awful reality that present nearly endless plot possibilities — as nearly endless as this shutdown feels. I can’t wait to read them.

Jenny Jensen

Editor

www.E-BookEditor.com

Author Bio
Author Bio
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new. I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching. Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.
  • Writing The Dreaded Book Blurb by Jenny Jensen

    This is the first (and sometimes only) chance to grab a reader and compel them to buy the book. And so, like click bait, you need to lure your reader with an honest but irresistible snap shot.

  • Cross Words by Jenny Jensen

    In these times of pandemic lock down we’re all searching for something that will absorb us, entertain, teach–challenge us.

  • Coming Soon by Jenny Jensen

    Every writer is subject to the influences of their time, influences that shape their work in some way. From Stephan King’s brand of horror—which he’s said was influenced by the pervasive fears of the cold war — to the oh so mannerly and delicately choreographed plots of Regency era literature, a reader can feel the spirit of the author’s era.

  • Vibrant & Vile Villains by Jenny Jensen

    “All stories are about wolves. Anything else is sentimental drivel.” Margret Atwood.

    That’s a strong statement – lots of ways to interpret it. I love it because to me, it says that all stories should have a villain.

  • Rules of the Road by Jenny Jensen
    No! I’m not going to weigh in on the mask vs no mask debate. Really. I am an inveterate people watcher. Sometimes I go overboard and get caught staring — awkward. Honestly, it’s not you I’m looking at, it’s the potential character the physical ‘you’ suggests to me. I’m pretty sure all writers do that […]
Dec 31, 2020
I am afraid I am telling too much in my book description; it is really long, and I don’t know how to shut up…how do I make it concise? The post Dear Extra Squeeze Team, Is My Blurb Too Long . . . Help? appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Nov 30, 2020
I think I have a best-selling pandemic story on my hands! Is it ever too late or too soon to write about something like that? The post Dear Extra Squeeze Team, I Have a Pandemic Story . . . Too Soon? appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Oct 31, 2020
The post Dear Extra Squeeze Team, Should I Quit Writing? appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Sep 30, 2020
I am an indie writer with an old book that I want to re-release…should I try to keep the cover the same as the original edition? The post Dear Extra Squeeze Team, Can I Keep My Cover, Please? appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Aug 31, 2020
I have a story I want to tell that is loosely based on family and friends. How do I tell my story without hurting anyone? The post Dear Extra Squeeze Team, Writing about Family, Good Idea or Not? appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
×
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new. I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching. Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.
Latest Posts
  • The Dreaded Book Blurb | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange
  • the words coming soon on a cut out background
  • Vibrant & Vile Villains | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>