And so our tale comes to an end, in so far as stories ever end.
SECRETS was originally written for the 2012 National Novel Writing Month. It then spent several years in editing, and then several more years languishing on my hard drive. After the modest success of Nin the Seeker (available to read on this very site), I thought it was about time to release SECRETS into the wild.
The title, THY SECRETS SHOULD BE SUNG comes from John Keat’s ‘Ode to Psyche.’ The cover art is ‘Ophelia’ (1889) by John William Waterhouse.
SECRETS was my second real writing project, but the first that could be considered ‘publishable,’ in the sense I think it’s good enough that people might actually find value in reading it. I hope you did.
I wrote SECRETS during a very angsty period of my life, and a lot of my mushed up feelings seeped onto the page, probably too much so. I had lots of ideas to work through, and I sort of spewed them all out without much consideration. I was trying to go for a Byronic hero, but I fear I might have ended up with a mopey one instead.
Looking back on it now, SECRETS’ flaws are more apparent than ever, yet so are its strengths. I’m still drawn to the characters, and the small, personal nature of the story. I think I’ve grown quite a bit as a writer over the years, and while I’m still not where I’d like to be, the many, many months spent editing SECRETS helped fuel that growth.
One of my main objectives when writing this project was to leave many things ambiguous or implied, rather than be made explicit. I wanted to created a piece that would leave readers mulling things over, and coming up with their own interpretations.
While I think that things can generally be sussed out with a second read, as a writer, it can be hard to judge the right level of information to provide the reader. A big driver of engagement in a story is leaving room for the reader to speculate – on characters’ hidden secrets and motivations; on the history of the world, and so forth. If everything is laid bare, there is no intrigue. Imagination rushes to fill the gaps the author leaves behind. For this reason, trust in the writer is paramount – there is an implicit promise that those gaps have answers, even if those answers are never presented in the text itself.
Conversely, I can personally think of several series where this trust has been betrayed, where the creator's obvious retconing or ‘backfilling’ has left audiences sour.
You also have to account for different types of readers. Some prefer to take things at face value, and won’t dig deeper without prompting. Others revel in over-analyzing.
In the end, all writing is a conversation between the reader and the author. With all this in mind, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will do my best to reply.
As always, thank you for reading.