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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cool Secret Passages (For Your Manuscript or Your Home!)

Secret passages have fascinated me since visiting "The Castle" as a young Indian Princess. Indian Princesses is a YMCA program that serves as an alternative to Girl Scouts. It focuses on father/daughter bonding ~ the dads are tribe chiefs. We did a lot of camping and pow-wows and trading with other tribes. I found out later that our tribe's dads enjoyed it because once we all went to bed they would sit up by the fire, drink beer, and tell inappropriate jokes. They scored daddy/daughter time and got their male bonding in, too. I'm not sure, but I don't think my Girl Scout Troop leaders of later years had that kind of fun :)


Anyway, the Castle was an old stone house on state park grounds near one of our campsites, and there was a secret room behind one of the bookshelves. I thought it was the COOLEST thing in the world. Still do. I used to draw house sketches with hidden passageways, and I'd still love to have one included in my home if we ever leave Renter-ville.


Yesterday, msn.com had a feature called What's the Big Secret? It featured real hidden passageways in homes. Since my current WIP takes place in a manor house with a secret hall/room or two, I thought I'd check it out to see if there were any creative ways of masking a passage that hadn't been done before.


One of the coolest things I saw ended up being a hidden garage in San Francisco:


Pretty neat, huh?

Want a secret passage for your own home? Click on these guys:


Whether you're looking for an old wardrobe/armoire that will lead to another room (sorry, no Narnia available), a traditional bookshelf facade, a clever way to hide your "man cave," a stone wall that conceals the entrance to a wine cellar, or just looking to be impressed, this website is worth drooling over.

And you might just get an idea that will sneak its way into your next manuscript!
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*PITCH CONTEST NEWS: YAtopia is holding a New Adult pitch contest that runs now through July 10th. Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary and Heather Howland of Entangled Publishing are hosting. Click HERE for entry instructions!

36 comments:

  1. Love this post. I love secret passageways too but I've never had the chance to explore one. I've always wanted one in my house. It'd be cool to have one that led to a secret writing room or something :-) Also, that hidden garage is AWESOME!!!! (It also looks like the house from the TV show, Full House. LOL!)

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    1. It totally looks like the home in Full House! And I love the idea of a secret writing room :)

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  2. Those are so cool! I've always wanted a secret room. In fact, I have a reoccurring dream that features a house with a hidden room. One day I so want to find that house!

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  3. When I was in 5/6th grades, my best friend and I had a whole notebook of houses we'd designed. All with secret rooms and secret passages. The idea of hidden things in houses was one of the inspiring thoughts for The House on the Corner, because my grandparents' house had all kinds of crazy little nooks in it. It felt like a house that -should- have had hidden rooms and passages even though it didn't.
    If I do ever get to design my own house, it will have secrets.

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    1. Sounds like you're uber-prepared! I think I'd be nervous going into any house that you designed...and I mean that as a compliment. I might get lost or find myself stuck :)

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    2. LOL
      But wouldn't that be awesome! To actually get lost in a house because of winding passages and secret rooms!

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    3. The awesome factor would depend on what kind of snacks I had with me :)

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  4. I went to Butte Montana once (with my family) and we toured the mansion of the guy that owned the copper mine up there. It was really awesome and had secret passages. I was instantly fascinated.

    And yes that's a very cool garage.

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    1. I'll have to look up the copper mine guy's mansion~ sounds cool! I actually think any garage is cool, since I don't have one and have to scrape the ice off my car every winter...but the one above is extra cool.

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  5. I'm so jealous! I've never seen a secret passage in real life, but I've been fascinated by them since I read THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE (Nancy Drew, nat). And Narnia always comes to mind - so cool! I saw on HGTV, on Meg's Great Rooms, where she designed a bookshelf that opened into an office - wouldn't it be SO cool to write behind a bookshelf? Sigh...one day, when I leave Rentersville, too...

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    1. That would be so perfect! An office for writing books, hidden by books. Love it!

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  6. You and me both with the secret passage fascination.

    My in-laws have a large old victorian home and the kids and i have searched it from top to bottom--we are convinced there is a secret room there somewhere.

    Great topic Jess--I hope your summer is going well.

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    1. Oh, how fun! I would keep searching, if I were you. Have you checked floors in closets for secret spaces??? I bet your kids love that :)

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  7. One of our homes growing up had a secret passageway. Of course mom called it a laundry shoot, but that's not we used it for! :)

    And...what's New Adult?

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    1. New Adult is that area in between the YA target readership of ages 12-18 (with 12 being for lower YA) and adult. Coming into your own type of stuff. Mostly stories of people post high-school, but pre-major careers, spouses, babies. That kind of jazz. That's my understanding of it, anyway.

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  8. Love it! I used to draw houses with secret passages too, and secret entrances. Did you also learn all kinds of secret codes?

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    1. No, but I wish I did! There's still time I guess...

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  9. Whoa, that's so cool! I sort of want to go add a few secret passage ways to my WIP now. ;)

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    1. Awesome! I'm going to have to hold myself back from going overboard on the passages in my WIP :)

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  10. I love secret rooms and passages! I think it's a holdover from all the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys novels I read as a kid. And of course, I put two secret rooms in the Egyptian Palace featured in my new book. Cool! :-)

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    1. TWO secret rooms! In an Egyptian Palace??? Very cool. I'll have to check out your book :)

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  11. That is a cool garage. I've never been anywhere with a hidden room or passage. I think I live a deprived life. lol

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    1. Oh you have definitely been deprived! Go find one now! :)

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  12. So awesome! A few older homes around here--not mine, though, unfortunately--have secret rooms or passages that were used for hiding alcohol during Prohibition. I'll take a look at that website!

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    1. I didn't even think about secret rooms for Prohibition! And Underground Railroad homes have cool passages, too.

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  13. Reminds me of something I saw on Pinterest recently: "If you are a millionaire and you don't have a secret passage in your house, you are spending your money wrong" or something like that!!! I love secret passages, too. Just can't beat the traditional spinning bookshelf but that garage one was cool, too.

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    1. Excellent point~ millionaires should all have secret passages! Fancy cars are overrated :)

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  14. What's the use of a secret passage if there's no Narnia?? ;)

    I think that's why castles are such great settings. You can stuff practically everything into a castle - a bower, a dungeon, a draw bridge, pictures with holes in the eyes for spying, trap doors, secret passages, tower rooms. The right castle practically writes the story!

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  15. Oh wow, now I want a secret passage for my home!

    I once had a dream about a secret passage leading from my grandparent's house to another building they owned that was SO vivid, I almost had myself convinced it was real. I think I dreamed about it more than once.

    I haven't thought about that in years.

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