My Character’s Whispering Secrets


Shh! Don’t tell anyone else, but my character just told me a secret.

Great Way to Find Unusual Secrets common complaint about a first draft is that the characterization needs to be deeper. In Sol Stein’s book, Stein on Writing, Chapter 16 talks about the secret snapshot technique. Stein recommends that you think about what secret snapshot is hidden in your character’s wallet. Secrets in general deepen characterization because they provide motivation and emotional depth. Stein says, “I remind you that the best fiction reveals the hidden things we usually don’t talk about.”


So, I was fascinated to find the Post Secret blog. Readers are encouraged to send a postcard that explains their secret. Updated on Sundays, the blog is an interesting look into the hidden life of a wide variety of people. Be forewarned: some are PG-13 or X-rated, but most are general topics. I’m finding it interesting to read them with the idea of possibly adding them to a character’s background. Find any of interest for your work?

There are now three PostSecret books featuring past postings:

Read more of 15 Days to a Stronger Character.