Friday, March 21, 2008

Secrets and sins of omission

I've realized one of the reasons I'm finding writing THE WARLORD'S BRIDE so tricky: the hero has a lot of secrets. The difficulties arise when I try to decide what secrets to reveal when. If I reveal some too soon, I'm going to lose dramatic tension. But if I leave some too long, I fear the reader will get frustrated and stop reading.

Due to circumstances in the heroine's past, she's an open book - the opposite of the hero. No more secrets and deceptions for her, thank you very much. Well, that's not exactly true -- she keeps some of her feelings to herself, about what happened and her hopes and fears for the future. But the actual circumstances of her previous life and what she expects of a husband, she talks about openly, because she doesn't want to repeat her mistakes.

Because the hero has been open about some things, she assumes he's not kept anything important from her, either. Oh oh. Conflict a-comin'!

Secrets and sins of omission can be both the bane and the blessing of an arranged marriage plot. Under those circumstances, it's not surprising that the characters wouldn't know everything, or even a lot, about their new spouses. On the other hand, it can mean a very tricky tightrope of revelation.

How do I decide? Sometimes, it's easy to see, sometimes -- such as with this book -- not so much. Basically, it's trial and error until it feels right. I can't get any more specific than that, I'm afraid.

Which also means, unfortunately, a lot of revising for me.

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