Coffee break exercise: Family secrets


24 January 2020
Explore the skeletons in a family's closet in this week's creative writing exercise

Think of a family – real or imaginary. That's up to you. If it's a real family, make notes about a secret it has kept about one of its members. If it's an imaginary family, dream up something in its history that has been concealed. Take two minutes.

For the next two minutes, put yourself in the position of a family member who has uncovered the secret. What did they discover? How did it make them feel? What are the implications of the discovery? Do they know why it was necessary to keep the secret? What is this person likely to do next? Who will they tell?  Take three minutes.

For ten minutes, write the beginning of a piece of fiction or creative non fiction, or a poem, written in a first-person voice, starting from the person's first knowledge of the family secret they have uncovered.

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Interested in exploring creative non-fiction in your writing? Get to know the genre here.