Sunday, November 29, 2009

Writing Exercise - Secrets

Sometimes secrets can motivate a character’s behavior and influence how she feels about everything else in her life. Secrets add mystery and tension to a story.

Give a character (or characters) in one of your WIPs a secret. How does it affect her life and her behavior? Is she constantly trying to hide the secret? Or does everyone around already know her secret but stay silent? Have your character tell the secret as if she were in a therapist’s office and could bare her soul without anyone else learning about it. The best secrets are the most surprising ones, the ones that make your jaw drop in astonishment when you hear them.

Here are a few secret scenarios:

A character is harboring a secret that is preventing him from fulfilling his true desire.

Two characters share a secret but it’s not what everyone thinks it is.

It’s an old family secret and there’s only person alive who knows about it. Will she take it to the grave?

There’s a secret and everyone knows about it except one particular character and it happens to affect that character the most.

There is a small group of people who meet in secret at regular intervals.

A character has a secret and if anyone found out, it would destroy his life.

One character discovers another character’s shocking, sad, or terrible secret.

A character thinks she has a very private secret, but actually, most of the people close to her know about it.

A character knows a secret that would destroy one person’s life but save the life of another person.

There is a secret that would affect everyone on the planet but only a small, elite group of characters know the secret.

These secret ideas are taken from There is some good advice here on writing secrets into your stories. I hope you'll play along with us!

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