Shhhh, Don’t Tell. It’s a Secret…

January 9, 2012

Every family has secrets, some are documented only in the memories of those who lived them, and die with those who held the secrets in their hearts. Some are kept hidden for years, and eventually evidence or witnesses are unearthed and the secrets are revealed, and some are intentionally documented, but well hidden waiting for the proper time to be exposed.

Every family has secrets, mine…yours. There are secrets that seem unimportant to anyone beyond those who try to keep the secret, others could cause humiliation, ruin lives, or even destroy people.

I started writing my novel as a romance, and the secrets were light and expected. But, when I began rewriting the story as women’s fiction, it changed, darker family secrets were revealed. Hidden truths and connections that I didn’t plan emerged. My dreams became haunted by scenes that were happening in my story.

Every family has secrets, some are sad; others heart wrenching, and still others haunting. Right now I am haunted by my heroine’s family secret.

Some secrets are kept locked up in steel safes, others literally hidden in walls, and then there are secrets that are locked up in someone’s mind, hidden only by the walls that a person erects around their heart.

So what secrets do your characters have? Why do they keep the secret? Who would it hurt, or would it even matter if the secrets came out? Are you ever haunted by the secrets or the characters in your story? I’d love to know.



3 Responses to “Shhhh, Don’t Tell. It’s a Secret…”

  1. Tilly Slaton Says:

    One of the things that I find that is important, is that regardless of who inspired that characters that I have created, I keep a certain anonymity. People tend to get their panties in a wad if they realize that the writer has indeed taken a real life experience and put it into words.

    As for family secrets, mine tends to lean towards, “This is who we are and *insert curse word* (heh) if you don’t like it.”

    I honestly do not think we have any secrets…which is why we are considered dysfunctional 😉

    As for actual characters who were not created from the idea of an actual person, I find they do keep secrets. I have had readers wonder about backstory, and the answers to the questions they seek answered but … In the end … There are just some things best left unsaid.

  2. taristhread Says:

    Tilly- just like in real life, somethings are better left unsaid!

    I probably should say this up front for all of my friends and family who are wondering about what I’m writing….there’s a reason it’s called fiction…..IT’S FICTION…..yes, characters talk to me, but they are just the characters in my head. They aren’t real, they aren’t telling me YOUR secrets….and I’m not writing about anyone real. You can all let out a sigh of relief now.

  3. I scared the crap out of some friends when I finally let it out that I was writing a novel about things that happened to us back in 1965. I said, “Hello, it’s called a ‘novel’ because it’s new — has never happened. Yes, I started with that situation, but the characters are different and their backgrounds contain things that never happened to us, and their reactions are completely different from what ours would’ve been.” (I hope — but then, maybe my friends have secrets!) I find that my characters don’t have secrets, or if they do, the secrets come out fairly quickly, to their chagrin. Mostly they just have a lot of things in their past (all of 18 years!) that they’d rather not be public knowledge, like a control-freak father and a back-seat loss of virginity that ended up the sooner forgotten, the better. Next book, I want to deal with deep dark secrets, but not yet.

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