Occulta, Occultorum: things hidden or not generally known.
We all have them. Isn't that the saying? Whether they're the kind you stuff into your closet, or the ones you carefully tuck away into a drawer, they're a part of us. I'm not accusing anyone here of murder or anything, and I am not gong to confess one, either. What this got me thinking about was my characters, and their secrets. And I'm not talking the kind so big you need a storage unit sized closet, you know, the ones that drive a plot forward. I'm talking about those dirty little drawer secrets. Everyone has at least those.
How well do you know your character? What are those small secrets they're keeping from the world. Maybe your guy/gal likes to pick their nose in the privacy of their own home, or maybe they like to blame others for their silent but deadlies (okay,I am in NO WAY saying that I do those two things by using them as examples). First off, ew, those things are gross. But people do gross things, things that make us human. Your character could be klepto, and you might not even realize it.
When I think about my characters, the one secret that comes to mind belongs to Ava, my MC from Cursed. Now Ava has had everything she holds near and dear ripped apart from her. She's destitute, emotionally as well as wordly. But what Ava won't tell you or, anyone else for that matter, is that she loves collecting Barbies. Yeah, that's right, those frilly little dolls that in no way resemble an actual woman's body measurements. Now Ava has always been somewhat of a tomboy, so the idea of playing with these dolls embarrasses her, so she does it in secret. I've never had a Barbie obsession. Sure I played with them when I was younger, like most girls, but I didn't have some unexplicable need to find as many as I could and purchase them. But for some reason Ava can't get enough. I think it reminds her of a simpler time in her life, when things were much less complicated. And I don't blame her. But the fact that she keeps it a secret is kind of upsetting. As women, whether we enjoy those frills and pink, or if we prefer to spend our time out on a court or on a field of some kind, we shouldn't be embarrassed to enjoy something that's completely the opposite of us. Girly girls have a right to enjoy watching football or basketball, and athletic girls should be able to enjoy putting on make-up and go shopping. But that's not always the case.
Whatever the secret may be, it's a trait that defines our character. It helps us to get a better picture of who they are, and explains some of the actions they take. I never set out for Ava to have this obsession, it sort of just happened. She created herself right before my eyes. And that's pretty cool. Discovering your characters completely is a part of writing, a fun part, too. What are some secrets your characters keep hidden in drawers? What surprised you about them?
BTW this post was brought to you thanks to rerun of BTVS (Buffy). The one with Ted (John Ritter) and his closet full of ex-wives. Man, I miss that show.