Thursday, September 3, 2015

On plotting by secrets, just a little note for writerly types.

One of my former graduate students just posted the Entertainment Weekly review of HARRIET WOLF, which circles around secrets and when they're revealed. The student wrote, "Some might say she plots by secrets." And she tagged a number of my students who know my catchphrase "plot by secrets" well. The idea of the secret holding power and the stories we tell are form of currency -- we use them to form intimacy -- and the stories we don't tell are coiled springs waiting to be let loose. The right secret let loose in fiction has consequences, creating more plot. Of course, plot can be revealed by all kinds of metaphors, except perhaps static ones. BIRDMAN was fascinating to me because it had an opposite mechanism for plot. I'd call it "plot by escalating and contradictory truths stated openly." (They actually play truth or dare.) It gave me a new lens to look at truth instead of the held secret. I still prefer what's held close and the timed release.