This week I had to go on a two day trip with work. The trip involved staying away overnight, a lovely Thai meal and a quiet hotel room. We don't do this very often, just when work necessitates. I love being at home with my family, but the occasional quiet evening alone is a pleasure.
The trip involved three colleagues and I meeting other colleagues from the area we were in. We met and politely shook hands during introductions. Later in the day my supervisor informed me that the other supervisor from the meeting had given him a secret handshake so suggested he was a Freemason. (And my spell checker has just made me write Freemason with a capital letter. Ggrrr some more.)
For some reason this really irked me. My supervisor isn't part of the club but recognised some touch on his knuckles from the other persons thumb. Even though he isn't a mason, he can be given the handshake because he's a male and it's the way they identify themselves when meeting without the need to bring it up in conversation. I'm female so I found this very exclusionary. Not part of the club, and no way of being so, due to my gender. I'm serious when I say I was irritated. Something happened in a meeting I was present at, yet I was completely unaware of it.
This got me to thinking about secrecy, secret societies and what it is about them that people find so fascinating.
There is a lot of information available regarding the freemasons. What is it though that draws us in? Makes brilliantly exciting books with conspiracy theories screaming throughout them?
Secrets. Suggestion and silence. These things really seem to tap into our brain and makes us want to know more. If you're writing, keep something back. Suggest something is there, then go off in a totally different direction. It will drive your audience to distraction. I can definitely vouch for that after feeling the knowledge of secrecy in reality.
Mysterious, sinister and exclusionary or harmless, friendly clubs? Can you fold in a secret to your writing and catch your readers attention?