Secrets Suck

I have discovered a theme in the story I’m writing, and I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad. I suppose it’s good, because good stories are supposed to have themes, but I’ve always felt that finding themes should be the job of readers (especially readers who are teachers or students) and when they are put in purposefully by a writer they are too blatant and heavy-handed. But I like this particular theme, and I think this variation on it is a little off the norm.

It has to do with one thing I hate about a lot of books and TV shows–the secret the main character “just can’t share with anyone or it will ruin everyone’s lives.” I used to watch a soap opera when I was in college, and this is the basic plot of every soap storyline. It’s annoying. I always think that the story will be much more interesting if the character would just stop dwelling on this secret–stop talking about how awful it would be all the time and just be out with it so we can see the aftermath. The problem, most of the time, is that the aftermath is almost never as bad as the character thinks it will be. When it is–or it’s worse, or something completely unexpected happens, that’s when it’s interesting, and that’s when there should have been a whole lot less secret keeping and more secret telling.

So I’m pretty sure a theme I have going in my book is secret telling. There’s a big secret my character is supposed to keep–she’s even physically prevented from sharing it, but she’s decided to find a way to tell it anyway. The climax also involves telling a huge secret.

So now that I know this theme, hopefully I can hold back from pointing it out in the actual story. I have to make any future students that might study it work to find all the references they’ll need. (By the way, it would be a dream come true to hear that some class studied my book and had to write a paper on it–a dream!)

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