When Katie mentioned the opportunity to blog about secrets, I jumped at the chance. How fun! Secrets, by nature, are intriguing, and thus, often mainstays in fiction. So surely secrets would present a thousand different topics to write about. No problem, I thought. Secrets are dynamic! I can be dynamic! But then I sat down at my computer, and as so often happens, I got distracted. I just couldn’t seem to write about the fun, interesting side of secrets. Several days, a blank page and a blinking cursor later, I was ready to throw in the towel. Secrets were evil! Out to ruin my life! And that got me thinking…
Secrets, in most of the ways that matter, are like villains. As I reader, I love a good secret (as I love a good villain). I love secrets that characters guard so closely they can’t even acknowledge them in the privacy of their own minds. Secrets connect me to a character. Sometimes I empathize with them. Sometimes I call them names or order them to stop being ridiculous. Either way, I take the journey with the characters because personal secrets draw me in. Secrets that characters keep from each other force me to turn the page, waiting for the inevitable confrontation. Secrets that drive plots, that keep characters turning down blind alleys and wondering who they can trust will keep me up well into the night - even when I have to work the next morning. (Like I said, secrets are villains.) And often when a book stays with me, and I find myself thinking about it later, it’s because of the characters, the secrets they carried and how they dealt with them.
But it wasn’t until I sat down to really think about secrets that I realized secrets are the ultimate villain. As a reader and especially as a writer, I’m all about characters. I want to connect to the heroine of a story. I want to feel like I’m walking in her shoes, persevering, and beating the odds. I want to feel as though I’m the one facing down the villain. And the best villains, at the end of the day, are great because they challenge the heroine. Villains present the opportunity to prove she is worth rooting for. Worth losing sleep over. Worth dashing through your morning routine because you can’t be late but you just couldn’t put that damn book down last night. A heroine is nothing without a challenge to conquer. But sometimes, particularly in a romance, villains come in unexpected ways. (They’re sneaky like that.)
A secret can be the most insidious of villains because they lie in wait. Quiet. Patient. Sneaky. Waiting for the right moment to jump out at a heroine like a chainsaw-wielding maniac and send her running. And secrets have one up on the chainsaw-wielding maniac. No matter how hard or how fast the heroine runs, she can’t outrun a secret. It’s always there, always waiting for the right moment to do what secrets do best. Devastate.
A secret can all but lay waste to a relationship, destroy trust, and jeopardize love. Even worse, secrets can act as the evil voice inside a character’s head whispering, “you can’t,” or “you’re not good enough,” or “you don’t deserve to be happy.” Sometimes facing down a corporeal villain is easier than facing down buried secrets. A chainsaw-wielding maniac? Fight! A spotlight on a heroine’s darkest, most personal secret? Flight! The heroine in my upcoming release, Hunting Human, certainly goes to great lengths to avoid the secrets of her past. And like any good villain, her secrets ultimately stand in the way of her happiness.
So how do we as readers, writers, and the heroes of our own stories fight secrets? Do we run? And if so for how long? Because like any good hero at some point we have to stop. Face our secrets, fears and villains and yell, ‘bring it!’ And for me, that’s where the story lies. That is why I curl up in bed and read (or write) until my eyes are blurry. Because, if the heroine can fight off the werewolf, get the hottie with the wash board abs, and deal with her secrets all in a day’s work, then maybe, just maybe, so can I.
Thank you Amanda for blogging with me today! I love this post! If you’d like to learn more about Amanda, please visit her website: www.amandaealvarez.com or find her on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amandaealvarez1. 30 days of danger & secrets is almost over so for a chance to win the grand prize (for full details, click on the tab at the top left of the blog or just click here) don’t forget to leave a comment and spread the word!