Monday, August 30, 2010

I've Got a Secret

As I've been busy building a new database, and trying to write the next chapters of the Novel In Progress, it occurs to me I still have to blog.  Some days there aren't enough hours in the day or enough words in my head.  Logical thinking, creativing thinking AND random thoughts?

But then it came to me.  As I was watching James Bond (of all things).

Today's writing tip:  I've got a secret.  One that I can't tell anyone or risk losing everything.  What fun is a story where everything goes according to plan?  Unless there's something the hero/heroine doesn't want us to know.  My example today comes from Casino Royale (thanks, James!). 

James Bond.  Super Spy.  Callous, cold hearted killer.  Meets a woman, falls in love.  Who'da thunk it?  But she has a secret.  One that the viewers don't even know.  Oh, they know she has one, but that's part of her mystique.  Part of why James likes her.  We have to get all the way to the end of the movie before we realize that the unattainable man, the one that NEVER falls for a woman and now finally has, has made an error in judgment.  He accused someone who may or may not be guilty of setting him up.  But was it really the mysterious woman?  Obviously EVERY woman loves James Bond, so how could she possibly do an evil deed against him?

These are the kind of plot devices that keep readers coming back.  It's not enough to know the woman in James Bond has a secret past involving an unmentionable man.  Sure, that's a secret she wants to keep.  But what they don't tell us is that the unmentionable man is unmentionable because he isn't part of the past.  He's part of the present, and he's part of the reason she is involved with James to begin with.  But who thought she'd fall in love with a womanizing cad like James Bond?  So while she's been sacrificing to spare the life of her unmentionable man, she's shifted her attention to James and now she's really in a pickle.

So there you have it, a subplot for Casino Royale and a reminder that in every story, the characters have to have something at stake - something that alters their normal behavior and can be their downfall if discovered.  And, piggybacking on my last post, this is where that annoying, brainless secondary character can help you out.  (I'm exaggerating to make a point, so don't anyone think I'm being nasty to the people that aggravated me last week.)  Witless secondary characters can stir up a big pot of mess for people with secrets, not to mention how annoying they can be! {rubbing hands together with an evil grin}  Doesn't that sound yummy?

Ok, folks.  Back to creative writing.  I have a story to finish! 


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