It’s been a while since I posted anything, chiefly because I’ve been working on a sci-fi novel and a couple of short stories for the Minnows Literary Group’s next collection. The other day, I ran aground on the novel. I hadn’t planned on it, but the characters in the story happened upon a secret room in the very old spaceship they’d acquired. I was faced with the obvious question, “what’s hidden in there?” Since I hadn’t planned for it, I didn’t have anything plot-related in mind. But something had to be in there.
I turned to Facebook and proposed friends tell me what they might expect to find, say, hidden in their basement if there were a secret room there. The response was abundant, entertaining, and actually quite helpful. I’m still working on which of these will fit into the novel, but here’s some of the list (edited for clarity and length):
A portal to another realm.
Pictures and books about the owners before, or maybe a coffin.
A huge chest-like box with a lock, and you have to search for the missing key.
The door to the next hidden room.
A map to a buried treasure.
Manacles hanging from the wall.
Diary of a person who was an eyewitness to a historical event but the writing totally contradicts the accepted version but settles all the niggling problems with the conventional wisdom.
A nest of spiders.
Brown marmorated stink bugs (dead ones).
Your grandfather’s flying saucer.
An ancient alien artifact, hidden there because your relative who found it thought the world would go nuts if it was revealed (nuts like in 1938 when Orson Welles did The War of the Worlds broadcast).
Ancient gold coins (but the chocolate kind).
A magical sword that when you raise it up and say ” by the power of gray skull I aaammmm HeeeeeMaaaannnn!! ” (then you turn into He-Man).
A book with nothing written in it upon first glance, but when exposed to some sort of element (something everyday and happened upon by chance), words appear, revealing a long lost mystery.
A box of old letters.
That’s just a sample. I will be using and combining a few of those (some of them will match up quite well). Someone responded offline to suggest a complicated puzzle-box. So, when it comes to brain-storming, never discount the power of collective effort! (Even if I can’t find a practical application for the He-Man one, it was certainly worth a good laugh which is worth as much as practicality.)