Shh…It’s a secret by guest author Diana Orgain

Recently, I had the chance to work with mystery author Diana Orgain. We were brainstorming about a series she wanted to write, and since I don’t know much about writing mysteries (versus romantic suspense), she was kind enough to give me primer…and share a big secret. I asked her to share it with you today. Take it away, Diana!

What element does every character need in a good mystery?

You guessed it – a secret. All of us have a public persona along with a private one. So do your characters! Especially in a mystery it’s essential that your characters keep some things private – even secret.

It could be a small secret such as a tough as nails gal is scared of heights or it could be a bigger secret like she was having an affair with the victim.

Character secrets are essential for a mystery to work. Everyone should be hiding something because it makes them look and act suspicious. The secrets that characters keep help build the twists in your plot. It’s even better, for example, if each character has a secret motive for murder.

Some ideas to get you brainstorming on your characters’ hidden motives:

  • What is their relationship to the victim? Was it a relationship that everyone knows about – such as husband and wife – or was their relationship a secret?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What do they stand to lose if their secret is revealed?
  • Where were they when the crime happened? Are they trying to cover their whereabouts even if they didn’t commit murder (perhaps they were simply interviewing for a new job but don’t want their boss to know!)
  • What lengths will they go to keep their secrets, secret?

Readers…what are you favorite types of juicy secrets for a character to be hiding? A secret affair? A secret baby? Does having a secret make the character more realistic?

About Diana:

diana_hdht_crpdDiana Orgain is the bestselling author of the Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Bundle of Trouble, Motherhood is Murder, Formula for Murder, and Nursing a Grudge.  She is the co-author with NY Times Bestselling author Laura Childs of GILT TRIP published by Penguin USA.  Diana’s new Reality TV Mystery series will be published by Penguin in Spring 2015. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. Visit her at

About Misty Evans

USA Today Bestselling Author Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent series, as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy theories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When her muse lets her on the internet to play, she’s on Facebook and Twitter.
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4 Responses to Shh…It’s a secret by guest author Diana Orgain

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Diana, great post! Love the idea that everyone has a secret. I don’t think I have a favorite! But a secret grudge might be fun. Or a secret former affair.

    Thanks for being a guest today. I’m going to check out your books!

  2. Amy R says:

    It is nice to meet you here, Diana! As for secrets? Hmm, I hate them! Ha. I am on edge when I know a character is hiding something. It is even worse when I know the secret but the other characters do not. But, I would say my “favorite” secret would be when the hero or heroine is afraid of something they don’t want to admit to and then they have to push through it in order to save the day. 🙂
    Amy R`s last blog was …Review: THE MUTT AND THE MATCHMAKER by JB Lynn

  3. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi Diana,

    What a wonderful post! I love mysteries and now I know why 🙂 Uncovering the characters’ secrets is so much fun. My favorite secrets are boxes. What’s inside? Is it a gift? I also like when a character uncovers an aspect of themselves that was previously unknown, the secrets of the psyche. Or better yet when another character points it out to them. The moment when the penny drops is often so revealing.

  4. Misty Evans says:

    Thanks for being here today, Diana!

    Thank you to everyone leaving comments, too. Diana is actually on vacation and not able to get to computer, so if she’ll be checking in next week!

Comments are closed.