Saturday, July 6, 2019

It’s a Secret! (Mary Strand)


This month, we’re blogging about whether we hide secrets in the books we write.

I ran this topic past some of my writer friends, but in keeping with the topic, I will keep their names and advice a secret.  ha ha.  But thank you, Romex peeps!

I just finished revisions on a novel (part of a YA series about a high school for psychics) in which the main character, Becca, always has such “loud” thoughts that most of her classmates can “hear” them more easily than the thoughts of anyone else.

Naturally, Becca finds this pretty annoying.  But, as she puts it, “Just because they can hear my thoughts doesn’t mean they KNOW me.”

Exactly.

I think most people keep a lot of secrets from the world.  Maybe a lucky few will know some of those secrets, but it’s also probably true that NO ONE will know every single thing about another person.  Not even that person’s spouse or BFF or, for instance, hairdresser or bartender.

Why would characters in books be any different?

Many writers wring their hands over how a character can possibly hide secrets from the reader when we’re in the point of view of that character.  I don’t think it’s difficult: the character simply doesn’t think about that secret.  Let’s say it’s a dark secret.  Do you dwell on dark places you’ve been?  (Okay, sure. Sometimes.)  Most people would rather not go there.  It’s usually not forgotten, but it’s buried as deep as the secrets your teenage self kept from your parents about the parties you went to that got busted by the police.

(Not that any of MY parties did.  I’m speaking hypothetically, naturally.)

Think about social media.  Do you keep secrets about your life from your Facebook friends or Twitter or Instagram followers?  Of course!  I’m known by my Facebook friends for sharing TONS about my life.  As in, telling all.  HA HA HA HA HA.  Not even remotely!  You wouldn’t truly know me if you only read my Facebook page, because I share the “Mary Strand Author” version of the truth or, as a writer friend once said about my Facebook page: “You are SUCH a liar!”  And then she laughed.

It's no secret that I crush on Hugh Jackman.
Oh, wait. The secret is that I DON'T truly crush on him.
But don't tell anyone on Facebook!

In real life, ironically, I never lie.  (It’s a major thing with me.  There are seriously no exceptions.)  But it doesn’t mean I tell everything I know.  Far from it.  It takes me quite a while before I share anything I truly value about myself with someone I’ve met.  I have to trust them first, just as I assume they have to trust me.  I’m also impossible to “read” unless I LET you read me, which I rarely do.  In the meantime, there are a million things to chat about.  Just not my secrets.

So.  Do I hide secrets in my books?  ALL. THE. TIME.

Sometimes, unfortunately and annoyingly, the characters in my books also hide secrets from ME.  But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Mary Strand is the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras and three other novels in the Bennet Sisters YA series. You can find out more about her at marystrand.com.

3 comments: