1. Jupie

    Jupie Contributing Member

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    A great terrible secret -- what could it be?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jupie, Feb 17, 2017.

    Me again. As you've probably learning I enjoy thinking up ideas and asking for your thoughts...

    So the premise for my novel is about a library that nobody can access except for the elders and there is secret knowledge stored away here. By 'library' I don't mean a standard old building where books are stored, it'll be a bit more exciting than that. Anyway, the 'secret' is that the whole kingdom has a very bloody past and were basically tyrants and committed a lot of terrible acts. One idea of mine was actually to suggest that their ancestors were from Atlantis (so not just a myth) and as the story goes they were struck down because they got too big for their boots and technologically advanced.

    A massive war ensued and in the end the Kingdom agreed to bury this terrible history and made a pact with the other, smaller kingdoms. Yet 'Elders' were appointed to remember and to remain attached to the past in their memories to guide the next generations. Only they were allowed to know the true story and everyone else was left in the dark.

    500 years later there is someone who comes in and basically threatens to reveal the truth to everyone. I am interested in what people think to this story but also if they themselves have any ideas for what could be so 'terrible' that it was kept secret. This idea of keeping the truth hidden fascinates me. I touched on this in a previous thread about two warring kingdoms and it has developed into this.

    Thanks
     
  2. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    Ask yourself that question... in today's real world what would be most upsetting to folks?
    Speaking for myself, it would be discovering that there is an afterlife, and that a very unpleasant eternity awaits me.
     
  3. FireWater

    FireWater Contributing Member

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    Horrible secrets that would disturb the shit out of me:

    - A hell after death truly exists (like what Iain Sparrow said first)
    - Similarly: there is a "god" or higher power, but it is malevolent
    - Due to pollutants or other causes -- like an unknown side effect of technology exposure, for example -- there's some horrible brand new disease, like cancer or even worse (like something that would cause gradual hideous disfigurement and/or mental suffering) that is going to effect EVERYONE by a certain year or age. Nothing can be done to prevent this, and it is everyone's fate no matter what.
    - The government, or a large network of the wealthy business class, is running sexual abuse or slavery rings right under everyone's nose
    - Aliens are on their way toward Earth, and their intentions might be malevolent. They will be here within the next few years or at least within our lifetimes
    - A similar version of the above: the aliens are already among us, and we're being farmed like animals without even realizing it
    - The lower economic class, and/or a stigmatized part of the population, has been legally sanctioned by the government to be used for slavery, medical experiments, forced breeding, or some other horrible fate. Going further than limited opportunities due to lack of money - but if the government actually had the right to pluck them off the street or out of their homes and haul them off on a whim, and there's no laws to protect them.
    - People could live forever, but would be stuck alive after the world has gone to ruin, and it would be an eternity of horrible fate (essentially hell, but not as an afterlife)

    Those were just the ones off the top of my head. But there are also of "horrible secrets" that exist today in real life, that people simply choose to ignore.
     
  4. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I'd just find the revelations from the past you mention mostly interesting—not terrifying. Maybe a modicum of shame. In the way I discovered us Brits invented concentration camps and the Germans copied us some 50 years later. Sins of the fathers and all that.

    Most of what's mooted above is about the act of them (secrets) being disclosed and fundamentally maligning today's equilibrium by such an act. Yes, that's the only way I can see them not being shrugged off. There'd have to be the prospect of things changing (for me and my nearest/dearest) for the extreme-worse.

    I third that fire and brimstone afterlife of @Iain Sparrow, or maybe we're in the matrix, or it can be proved we have no free will...
     
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  5. FireWater

    FireWater Contributing Member

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    Here's another one: we've all already been infested by alien life that will grow in us, distort and warp us (both thoughts and body) and/or burst out of us in a disturbing way (like in "The Thing"). This affects everyone (or enough people that everyone will lose at least one loved one to it), and there's nothing that can be done to reverse it.
     
  6. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first modern concentration camps in the United States were created in 1838...over 60 years before the Boer war camps...and it was the Germans who instituted the Extermination camps with three in every four prsioners dying.

    The deadliest prisoner of war camp during the Civil War was Andersonville prison.[7] Andersonville was run by the Confederate States Army. At Andersonville, 12,920 Union Army prisoners died. This was over one out of every four prisoners at Andersonville.[8] After the Civil War ended, Henry Wirz, the man in charge of Andersonville, was found guilty of war crimes and was killed.[8]

    And one thing that the new version of Roots has highlighted is that Kunta Kinte came from a slave-owning society...sins of the fathers...
     
  7. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    On this occasion I'm happy to accept that facts may get in the way of the myth. I feel I'm a slightly less wicked Brit now!
     
  8. rktho

    rktho Five WIPs are more efficient than one

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    Perhaps it could be that the protagonist's family-- however many generations back you want to put it-- did terrible things. The secret wouldn't be what they did-- people would still talk about them with horror-- but the fact that they were the ones who did it. Kind of like finding out that your great great grandfather was Hitler, and then suddenly once you find out, your family reveals that they've kept the Nazi tradition alive and want you to join them. I dunno.
     

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