Have you ever crashed into a secret?
You either have one or know someone who does and you want to know.
With all of the ideas I’ve been working on for The Circle of Stars and some other bits and pieces, the idea of secrets seem to keep floating to the surface.
We all keep secrets of one kind or another. What you’ve bought someone for a birthday, the cheque’s in the post, and all the way up to the gladly less common, I did kill that man. The whole of the process just involves keeping said fact away from view or for just a select group and when it comes to story telling, the struggle to either uncover said fact or keep it hidden despite the efforts of others is very often a central tenet of what goes on.
Now in the real world, these things still happen but as always, it’s more than just the two choices that can cause problems.
Keeping a secret can cause problems beyond just the keeping. Guilt potentially about what was done and also for the fact you have to keep it under wraps. Trust issues as you may recognise that a significant other isn’t being fully truthful. Resentment that everyone around you may know something yet they’re keeping you in the dark. Intrigue at the thought of a puzzle to solve.
Imagine you’re not told something at work, which you then know that others around you do know. Everyone’s sworn to secrecy and you’re out in the cold. Why don’t they tell you? Have you done something wrong? Is it about you? Don’t they like you? Are you going to be fired?
Your behaviour would suddenly be altered at the thought of all the questions which come with not knowing. You’d want to know. You’d try to find out. And you’d look at the others differently. It wouldn’t matter what the detail was, things would be tilted because you were he odd one out.
A secret as a story telling tool, is a wonderful chance to plant seeds for the narrative to grow as the story progresses. It can allow you to explore character dynamics in a way that can create conflict without the need to rely on flying fists.
All in all, secrets can be useful things for a story, though in the real world…………….