Creative Writing Exercise – ‘Secrets’

Secrets are a strong source of stories in literature, often whole books written about a secret that comes out at the end – in fact most stories have a secret in them (e.g. The Wasp Factory, All The Presidents Men, The Secret Garden, The Shawshank Redemption, all crime novels! Family Secrets! But also comedy – especially when the audience knows the secret and the character doesn’t; Mrs Doubtfire, Tootsie). The bigger the secret the more is at stake – the stronger the story.

Exercise 1)

1a) What is a secret and why do we keep them? Brainstorm

To protect ourselves, someone else, to hide something we’ve done, fear of failure, ridicule. . . deceive others, ourselves. . .the truth is more horrible. It’s fun! Gives you power. . .can be used against other people.

1b) What kinds of secrets are there: big ones (government, politicians, institutions), smaller ones in families, relationships, work?

1b) What effect does this have on the person keeping the secret?

1c) What effect does this have on the person who doesn’t know the secret?

Exercise 2)

Write either:

a) A time you did something and kept it a secret. What happened?

b) The biggest secret anyone ever told you. What happened next?

Exercise 3)

Write either:

a) Secret Love: Two old friends get together for dinner after a long time apart. One of them is secretly in love with the other one.

Or:

b) ‘I can’t believe they never told me’

 

NB: Exercise supplied by our creative writing tutor Lisa Fulthorpe of Scriptease, a script development group based in Brighton

 

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