I've been on the receiving end of a few communications in recent days on the forthright lines of "don't be such a tease, what's all this you've been going on about secrets?!"
How can you ask an author of crime novels not to be a tease when that's exactly what he enjoys? Toying with poor readers and trying to put them off the scent. It's called suspense and intrigue!
However... I shall try to explain.
It's down to a couple of things. Firstly, it probably stems from the research I did for The Judgement Book, (tvdetective novel 4), which was all about secrets.
I found some interesting stats about how many people keep secrets which they think big enough to either destroy, or have a hugely damaging impact on their lives, if they became known.
The answer was surprising, (for me, anyway), and not a modest percentage!
From there, I've used secrets quite a bit in my writing. And so popping the concept into the teaching I do seemed a natural progression.
Characters are one of the foundations of any book, so I devised a little game, based on the kind of secrets that people might keep, and tried it out at the weekend in Winchester.
It was edgy, very close to the soul, and I had my concerns about whether it would work, or if people might feel too uncomfortable with it. But I'm delighted to say everyone played along and it turned out to be a very worthwhile exercise.
It gave us an insight into how to help build real and convincing characters, who may have powerful motives to commit crimes. Just what you want in a crime novel.
And more I'm not going to say, as I want to use the game again and it only works well if it's a surprise. But I hope that helps to (at least partially) answer the questions.
Finally a song for this blog, and this morning it's Black Eyed Boy, by Texas, because I love the metaphor and it kind of fits in with this musing.
Don't forget, if you've got a question about the tvdetective books, or any area of my writing, you can get in touch via the contact page of the site - www.thetvdetective.com/contact.html