Friday, July 5th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Secrets and Shares

I was talking to a friend earlier this week about secrets. Mostly, it was about family secrets: things that have been buried for years that suddenly come to light.

Oh, my! What a mess. The drama!

Sorry, I can’t spill the beans here.

But it got me thinking nonetheless.

Why are secrets kept? Why are things shared? What prompts people to share secrets after years, decades, of being mum?

Once, when I was visiting the cemetery with my Mom, she walked up to the edge of my great-great uncle’s grave and put her shoe on the corner. “His daughter’s buried right here,” my Mom said.

Revelation! There’s no tombstone but my uncle’s on the grave, and no indication that any other body might be buried there. I never even knew my G-G-uncle had a daughter! Why would she be buried in such mean conditions?

These are the things great stories are made of!

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write about what makes a thing secret. Then write what makes a thing shared. Experiment with writing each in two different ways: veiled language for secrets, open and direct language for shared things. Then, try it again and switch language.
     
  • Write a story (or a poem) about a family revelation. Write it first by exposing the secret at the beginning. Write it again, leading up to the revelation and then a tell-all at the end. Which is more powerful?
     
  • Write about a character who shares too much. Or, write about a character who doesn’t share enough.
     
  • Lord Byron says, “No words suffice the secret soul to show, for truth denies all eloquence to woe.” True or False? Why? ~ From, The Corsair, Canto iii. Stanza 22. George Gordon Noel Byron, Lord Byron.
     
  • Story Starter: I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone, but I know I can trust you.
     
  • If you journal, write about a family secret. You don’t need to reveal the secret if you don’t want to, just talk about what transpired between family members. Who knows and who doesn’t know? How has it changed relationships? Is keeping secrets worth it? How has the secret changed lives?
     
  • “What magic shall solve us the secret of beauty that’s born for an hour?” said Madison Julius Cawein. Write what the secret of beauty is.

Good Luck!

Cover of Selk Skin Deep by Kelly A. Harmon depicts a Navy Aircraft Carrier on a moonlit night. Have you read The Dragon’s Clause? 

For hundreds of years, San Marino paid tribute to the dragon living beneath their mountain city. But no one alive remembers him. Despite the existence of a contract, the town refuses to pay this year. When the residents renege on the deal, they must face the wrath of the beast.

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