Posted by: victanguera | May 20, 2011

Underneath the Surface: Writing Prompt #332

When we meet people, or even sometimes after we’ve known them for a long time, we don’t always know what they are dealing with. Emotional issues, health issues, financial or interpersonal problems can be very private matters for some people.

Think of 13 on House M.D. She has Huntington’s Disease. She tried to keep the information to herself, but House did what House does best–diagnosed her disease. But in all ways, she’d rather keep that information to herself.

So for today’s prompt, think of things that would/could result if your main character (or someone close to your main character) has a hidden illness or emotional issue. What do they do to keep that information to themselves? Do others find out anyhow? How does you character react if/when that happens?

And sorry for the prolonged silence this week. It’s been insane at work with our largest magazine of the year, and I’ve crashed when I’ve gotten home instead of–you know–writing.



  1. This was a prompt for me in a different way, since it reminded me that my characters are unnaturally healthy (physically, at least).

    I do have two characters who have emotional scars due to childhood abuse. They are both young (13 and 15) and the details of the abuse are not known. With one, the abuse is never discussed (though those closest to her have figured it out — inattentive readers may miss it completely). With the other, she has been adopted so her new parents are learning things slowly, but they’re not pressing. They’re just trying, as much as they can, to create a loving and accepting environment for her.

    As the flip side, I guess, I have a character who is a mass murderer, and I’ve never indicated that she suffered any abuse at all. I think that’s a cliche at this point, that any woman who is violent is violent because of abuse and/or because of something to do with the fact that she’s female. I was just reading a review that pointed this out about Lisbeth Salander, for example.

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