clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Secret History

At left, a Trabant whose photo was produced by Cholo Aleman on wikicommons. The license tag of "stasi" was irresistible.

The secret history is fun. These are the "inside stories" we writers love to hear. I think we're all drawn to them.

Every family has a secret history. Every state apparatus certainly does. Certain industries have them and some make for great reading. Lose a nuke lately, general?

Characters in a novel have them. There is the story on the page and then there is the story to the novelist.

The novelist knows it all - or in the case of Raymond Chandler, knows which parts he knows and which he does not. The story on the page is a version of this secret history.

In many ways, writers are more producers than composers. We grab bits and pieces of the continuum of events we know and share them with the readers.

Some readers enjoy putting the pieces together to infer the scenes behind the scenes. I'm one of those fellows. It makes the plotting interesting for me. It's a bit like crafting your own crossword puzzle.

So, not everything goes onto the page. A great deal is swallowed up in the writer's mind.

There are several books about which I'd like to ask questions. There are several for which the secret history may ruin my illusion.

If you had the chance, would you ask of the author?

Off to write. There are tales to twist.

One of the tales involves a secret policeman. I hope his trusty Trabant  will start.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I do love secret histories...the story behind the story, the suspects' secrets--all that stuff.

If I had the chance and there were some mysteries that weren't revealed in a book? I'd definitely ask the author. :) I'm too tidy...too fond of having everything wrapped up and revealed to me at the end of a book.

jack welling said...

I still need to read _What the Dog Saw_ by Gladwell.

Pretty much sums up my whole outlook. Have to know ...have to know.

I'm going to have to look up secret history stories a little.