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Here's a thread on something near and dear to my writer heart: secrets.

Specifically, how they spread.

I once had the rare opportunity to watch a secret spread with X-Ray-Vision clarity, and it was actually really cool and I learned a lot. Which I now share with you!
How did I get to watch a secret spread in realtime? I was running a campaign larp where players wrote event summaries after each session. There was a character with a Big Secret sufficiently shocking that each time a player learned it, the circumstances wound up in their summary.
Myth #1: Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

Not true. Two people kept this secret just fine for a long time. Two is actually a pretty safe number because when people have a big secret they NEED someone to talk about it with.
The secret stayed safe with a handful of people for a long time. They swore each other to secrecy and were very careful with it.

But it did spread in a few interesting ways, most of which weren't the Dramatic Reveal we writers are so fond of. 😁
Spreading method #1: Of Course I Won't Tell Anyone. My BFF Totally Doesn't Count.

Several times we saw people swear up and down not to tell a soul, then immediately turn around & tell the One Person They Trust the Most, who Absolutely Must Know and Doesn't Count.
This, of course, can lead to THAT person telling THEIR One Person who Doesn't Count, and so on, and so on. All sworn to utmost secrecy and entirely sincere in their desire to protect the secret, and in their belief that they've done exactly that.
Spreading Method #2: Reading the Room

One of the first people to figure out the Big Secret was someone who was just very socially perceptive, saw the character's reaction to something and figured out the secret based on that reaction and bunch of other tiny clues.
Some people are just good at reading between the lines like that. And this is what created the biggest tipping point in the spread of this secret.

You see, when multiple people know a secret, they start exchanging Meaningful Glances and Veiled References about it.
They react to certain things or people differently because they know it.

They try to hush others who are treading too near the secret with people who don't know in the room.

Which, of course, draws WAY more attention to it than anything else. 😅
The more likely you are to have a couple people in the room who know the secret and others who don't at any given time, the more the chance of someone picking up on the Knowing Glances and Hidden Extra Meanings and Veerings Away from the Topic goes way up. People aren't dumb.
This method of spreading was extra dangerous because the people desperately trying to keep the secret couldn't even know the Bonus Person in the Room just figured it out. They couldn't explain why it had to stay secret and swear them to secrecy.

This was how the dam broke.
The secret started with 2-3 people knowing and spread slowly from there. It held at about 8-10 for a while. But that was a high enough percentage of the 70-person player base for the game that leaks started springing up everywhere, and soon it was ALMOST common knowledge.
Not quite, though. There were still a fair number of people who didn't know by Big Public Reveal Time, often because the people closest to them were actually good at keeping secrets rather than because they were out of the loop. 😂
So there you have it! In the end, only a few people who learned the secret before it went public did so through direct dramatic reveal. Probably about half of the rest learned it through BFF leaks and the other half through context clues.

I think this is part of why it can read a bit false to us when a character has a Big Secret and no one around them figures it out unless they're directly told. And why I love it when a character does their *deep breath* big reveal and their friends are like "Well, obviously." 😂
(Just for fun and because I don't have a big bang to wrap up with, here's a drawing I did a while back of the character and her Big Dark Secret after it was finaly revealed.) 😁 A woman with black wings bows over a snuffed candle
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