How can a writer craft a character who is great at disguises? Spies and villains and accidental heroes often need this capability.


Cronin 35 years ago

Im starting to believe that certain body types have an advantage.  My son and I have both found that we have a kind of ageless, raceless appearance. To illustrate:
*I was washing my car when some fund-raising  candy-selling tweens walked by. “Hi!” harkened the eldest. “Is your mom home?” I was 38 years old at the time. Yes, I bought some chocolate from her!
* “Ma’am, can you help me?” I was startled because it was the first time I was addressed as ma’am. I was 16. Don’t tell my parents, but it was easy for me to get served at pubs!
*I’ve been asked, “donde esta el banjo?” several times. I think I surprise them when I answer in my Chicago twang, “I think it’s in the back, near lay aways.”
* Speaking of my black hair, I’ve also been asked what tribe I’m from when I attend pow wows. I also am asked if I am Italian American. To set the record straight, it’s black-haired Irish; both sides of my family are British. Dad was born in Liverpool and I’ve traced lineage to Ireland, Scotland, and England.

And saving the best (or worst?) for last:
*When I was a newly-hatched adult, my husband and I went to Toronto. I had a quick smoke while he went inside a convenient store. It was a bit chilly, but i was fine in my jeans and black jacket. A balding man with a paunchy gut smiled and said, “Hi, how are you?”

Friendly Canadian, I thought. “Fine. You?”

“How much?”

It took me a second. Then I burst out laughing. “No!” I finally said, after I caught my breath. “Waiting for my husband.” I pointed behind me.

Therefore, if your spy/sleuth/villain has black hair and a hard-to-place age, the character may have an easier time blending in America. Other good traits may include malleable accents and an androgenous body shape.

And if you really want to know, I’ll tell you, I am just shy of 50 years old. But I’m saving divulging my weight for carnies, who always get that wrong, too! I make a quick 5 bucks at those weight guessing games.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz


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