One way to give a character greater depth is to give them some secret: an unspoken desire, a sharp bit of regret, a hush-hush fantasy, some shameful—or maybe much cherished—episode from their past that they wouldn’t want anyone else to know about, etc. And needless to say, secrets can help propel plot forward as well.
Each week, Postsecret.com publishes postcards from people sharing their own secrets, anonymously and creatively.
Visit the site, scan through the most recent postcards (many of them about the pandemic these days) or scroll down to the Classic Secrets reposted from years ago.
Let your imagination wander about these secrets, about the wider world of these “characters” and their situations.
Write a short story in which their secrets (the hiding of them? the revealing of them?) put a plot in motion.
Art Taylor is the author of the story collection The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense (which you can order from the publisher here) and of the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. He won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story for “English 398: Fiction Workshop,” originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and he has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, three Macavity Awards, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. He is an associate professor of English at George Mason University. www.arttaylorwriter.com.
Art Taylor, The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense
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