Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pst. Can You Keep a Secret?

Give a character a secret. I read that and I was all but what if none of my characters are harboring a big secret? Then I was all like how come they don’t have big secrets? Someone needs to have a secret! Well, there’s Dorian, who has a big secret but it’s all tied into the hardest decision he’s ever had to make and I’ve already been there blogged about that. Lily, Chase, Kate and Seth all have their secrets, but nothing big.

But I do have Mike who is the hero of Survival Instincts, the third installment of my Aspen Lake series. He’s a pretty private kind of guy and although people feel like they know him, they aren’t likely to be privy to certain elements of his personal life. He’s very specific about what he likes when it comes to his ‘leisure’ time and he’s also very careful to hook up with likeminded women. They don’t care for gossip anymore than he does and they tend to live in different area codes.

Then a local woman goes missing and he’s the last person to be in contact with her. She’s hinted at some dirty dealings within his police detachment without naming names. He decides to start a little investigation of his own without telling anyone. Besides who can he trust? Then he gets a little too close to the truth for someone’s comfort.

He’s taken by surprise when rumors surface and people start looking in his direction. He’s frustrated at having to answer questions regarding his personal life and defend his reputation against unfounded rumors. But most of all he wants to talk to the person who’s working very hard to make it look like Mike’s responsible for causing Lacey’s disappearance.

He’s not about to take the rap for a rumored murder he didn’t commit. But he’s also not about to crush the one woman he’d die to protect, even if she’s the only one who can save him, to do it.

I don’t know if it’s because my brain in fried after NaNoWriMo or because I’m not good at secrets. But I found writing about secrets without giving away the secrets challenging. And I couldn’t make Mike sit in a therapist’s office. There is absolutely no way he’d reveal anything to anybody.

But mostly it’s because this work-in-progress is being put together in my head and very little of it is on paper. Just a couple of brief ideas and little bits of dialogue. But this exercise was a great way to come up with some possible scenarios. I knew I wanted there to be a private aspect to Mike’s life, something he’s guards and keeps to himself, not because he’s ashamed or bent, but because he’s a private person living in fish bowl. I wanted to touch on the idea of how much we really know about people and their private lives. To touch on how much we want to know and how much we need to know?

There will be lots of secrets in this work-in-progress. Good thing I’ve got a jumpstart on some of them. And now my brain really does hurt.


Janet said...

Wow, Karyn, you have a seriously great trilogy lined up. Very impressive. And perfect for when an editor asks "What else do you have?" when you get a contract with Common Ground. The talk at the conference was all about having that three book idea ready to go, so editors know they have a series they can market in a short time frame.

I love this idea with Mike - of course, I really liked Mike, what I read of him in Common Ground. Does he also make an appearance in Unreassonable Expectations/Ties That Bind/Killer Style (my personal favorite)? And the whole idea of a cop in a small Prairie town - yeah, they have to have their secrets, privacy is a rare commodity.

BTW - huge congrats on winning NaNo. I see you have your badge of honor up on the post. Good job, Karyn. Are you taking a break, or has the momentum continued - are you still writing everyday?

Karyn Good said...

Thanks, Janet. I hope someone likes the idea of my trilogy :) I love to read them so it seemed natural to start there with three good friends, Lily, Kate and Grace.

Mike does make an appearance in what is now being called Complicated. He's being shoved into the role of fairy godmother.

Yes, I did it. I finished with 50, 173 words. I'm supposed to be taking a break but I don't want to. Unfortunately, my house no longer just requires cleaning it needs a whole sanitizing treatment. But I'm going to try and get up early, early and do some writing then as well as fit some in around Christmas prepartions. I'm going to try hard to write something everyday!

Prairie Chicks Write Romance said...

First, congratulations on your win with NaNo. Where is the post? Well done!
Mike has a secret alright. It makes me anxious to read more because I want to know if she has secrets too. Does she know his secret and he doesn't know it? Does she know he is in love with her? Does she know the problem and know getting involved in it will put her in danger? Does she intend to go ahead and help him secretly?
Hurry up and finish this so I can read it!
Janet mentions having read Common Ground and three others. Are they available? Where? I would like to read them.

Heather said...

Hi Karyn,
Congrats on winning. that sure took a lot of work to keep writing.

I like this idea of secrets. i suppose many of us really do have some sort of secret, so a good idea for your characters.

Karyn Good said...

Hi, Connie. Thanks on the congrats for NaNo. It was a great experience and I plan on doing it again.

All great questions! Grace has no clue about Mike and his 'secrets' but she's related to the missing woman (who has her own secrets Grace knows nothing about) so she's got a vested interest in finding out what happened to her. She also grew up with parents who are conspiracy theorists so she doesn't exactly have the best opinion of our boys in blue and feels forced be do a little sleuthing on her own which puts her in exactly the place Mike does not want her to be.

I'll stop now. I could go on and on but I'll spare you all.

Janet has been kind enough to critque my work-in-progress Common Ground so she's familiar with the characters. Trust me the moment any of my stories become available you'll be one of the first to know!

Helena said...

First, congrats on joining the winners' circle!!

Did you have a funny feeling that something was missing on Tuesday? I guess it was the pressure of a deadline that suddenly went away. I kept on writing up to 11:30 pm Monday, even tho I had my word count verified Sunday morning. Mine was definitely a come from behind win. Got on a roll the last few days. My intention is to keep riding that wave. It was a great habit to get into, but, man, I need to do some housework, too -- big time.

I'm eager to meet Mike, too. He sounds like my kind of guy, so like everyone's saying --- get to it, I want to read this trilogy.

Like I said yesterday, Karyn -- secrets don't need to be huge to be important in plots (and in people's lives).

Karyn Good said...

Thanks, Heather. Congrats to you too! I don't know about you, I wanted to quit around November 25th. I felt like I was done and nothing new or interesting was coming to me but I'm sure glad I kept plodding away.

Secrets! Jana came up with a great writing exercise. It really made me think about when we need to reveal certain things and when certain things are none of anybody's business. It helped me solidfy the concept for Mike and Grace's story. Hopefully it will really ramp up the tension.

Karyn Good said...

Thanks, Helena, same to you! While you were surging ahead I was ready to quit! Thanks also for the tip last week on writing internal dialogue because I took that idea and ran with it the last few days. I kept going but I was basically done on Sunday after coming in just over 50,000 words. Monday I couldn't resist doing a bit of revising on the beginning. Great job writing literally to almost midnight on the 30th!

All I wanted to do was sit down and write this morning but I must do some things around the house. Must - darn it!

And yes, secrets don't need to be huge to be relevant. At least I hope not because my first two wip don't contain many secrets. Well, one, but I really didn't want to go down that road today :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Karyn and Helena, congrats to both of you for completing Nano! I remember that heady feeling. And yay that you both want to keep the daily writing. That's a great habit!

Loved your post, Karyn. I like Mike. And I like the way you said there's no way he'd sit in the therapist's chair. It sounds like you know him really well.

Basically, I can't wait to read your work.

Karyn Good said...

Thanks, Anita. I do feel like I know Mike. He story has been stewing in the back of my mind ever since he popped into my head as a secondary character for Common Ground. The idea for his story changed many times but I think I've got it now.

And right back at ya!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
Congratulations to both you and Helena for being Nano winners! That is such an amazing accomplishment. I'm very proud of both of you.

Mike sounds like a great character, so secretative, or private as you say. And it sounds as if he is keeping his feelings for Grace a secret as well. It makes me wonder why he feels he has to keep his feelings a secret.

Well done. I can hardly wait to read Mike's story.


Karyn Good said...

Hi, Jana. Thanks for the congrats. I look forward to being buddies with you during NaNo next year :D

why he feels he has to keep his feelings a secret. That's a very good question. And one I haven't figured out the answer to yet. But I'll definitely work on it.

Silver James said...

I hate when I get distracted in the middle of reading a blog. I'm just not getting back you, Karyn, and commenting. I feel like the White Rabbit! *headdesk*

Congrats again on the NaNo win! And I love this trilogy, too. I can't wait to see it in print. It will be, you know!

You guys have inspired me. I many have to interview all my characters and talk about their secrets now. ;)

Molli said...

Karyn - marvelous to see that NaNo icon, and what a marvelous feeling it must have been to put it up there. (Ditto for you, too, Helena!)
So, a solid scenario and interesting characters to "talk about" in this exercise. Good to see, and I like the way you say "my Aspen Lake series"--sounds like you have a handle on it and it's just a matter of getting down to putting it on paper, so to speak.

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Silver. No worries! Thanks for the vote of confidence, I appreciate it. And, hey, I don't think I could have finished NaNo without your advance tips and advice! The leg work I did really pulled me through :)

Would love to hear about your characters' secrets. In fact, can't wait.

Karyn Good said...

Thanks, Molli. I'm a NaNo convert now. I enjoyed the whole experience, even the tough days.

These characters, all of them and their situations, have been stewing in my head for awhile now and it is just a matter of getting it all down on paper. Things like NaNo really help out with gettting a start on things.