Linda’s blog for May

Thank you to the writers who have joined in the workshops over the past three months. I hope they’ve been useful. There’s a new one on the Workshop page (click here), so please have a go and send in one of the exercises.

One of the things I’ve noticed recently is how much we rely or used to rely on facial expressions. With masks on, it’s so different! I find myself smiling behind my mask and then realising that whoever I’m speaking to can’t see the smile. If you’re having a conversation, then the context will probably indicate a smile. And it’s so true that you can smile through your eyes – they seem to crease up and twinkle when you smile. Have you noticed?

But quick, casual smiles are lost. I bumped, not hard, into someone else’s trolley in the supermarket this week. I immediately said sorry and smiled but it clearly didn’t get through because I got a “watch where you’re going” retort! If he’d seen me smile, I think that would have softened the very gentle blow!

Obviously the best medium for facial expressions is on film. Some actors are quite brilliant at not having to say anything as it’s all on their face. As writers, we have to describe the look. So, next time you’re writing dialogue, pause, and have a think. Does your character need to speak? Or can their words be better illustrated through their facial expression? Show not tell.

Here’s a link to a post that shows how to read faces even with masks on. I didn’t do too well on the quiz but the illustrations of emotions behind masks are quite interesting.

And just a reminder that my book A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is available. Click here.

I’ll be back at the beginning of June with another blog and maybe a workshop too. In the meantime, I hope you can enjoy the sunny weather and the gradual relaxation of Covid rules.

Happy writing!

Linda

Photo by Courtney Coles on Unsplash

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