Tuesday, April 12, 2011

K is for.... Keeping Secrets

Secrets are crucial to storytelling. Keeping or not keeping secrets can be the key to power shifts between characters, and the slow reveal of the secrets can be what keeps readers reading. In every story there are things one character knows, that another doesn't. Finding out those things can often be life changing for the people who live out your story.

Keeping secrets is a central theme in my new book, Chasing the Tail Lights. I have two main characters, Tony and Lucy. Both have secrets they need to hold close to themselves. Things begin to change between them when Lucy guesses Tony's secret, then flip again when she tells him hers.

In this case, each of them has a secret about themselves that they're keeping. Often someone else keeps a secret about a central character, holds it over them as a means of keeping them under their power. Keeping and sharing secrets can be a way to shift the power to a different character. If A knows this about B, he has something over B and can probably use that to manipulate him. The tables can turn if B discovers something about A that is equally damaging, especially if B tells C....

How do you use secret keeping in your work?

Oh, and I haven't forgotten about the ending of the J story. I was just waiting to see if anyone else had ideas for it...


  1. I always let out secrets by hints, bit by bit in the book....!

    Following you from A-Z challenge!

  2. I was wondering whether to reveal something at the start of my book or later on right before I read your blog post. You're right, suspense is always better. I'll go for later :)

  3. This is a great post :) Something I'm wondering myself...

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  4. I love secrets, that's something that keeps me hooked with books and storylines. I try to place them in and see how far I can take the secret. Fantastic post.

  5. I have a female assassin that takes a souvinier from a killing that she keeps a secret from the rest of her group. But it is this secret that gives away the identity of the members and allows the good guy to keep the chase alive.

  6. i love revealing secrets in slow trickles. it makes the story more exciting. great post!