Returning to the topic of integrity, let’s look at how withholding truth or outright lying breaks trust between your characters.

Often, we feel that revealing the truth will lead to a breakdown in trust. However, the opposite is often what happens: trust is broken when one party doesn’t tell the truth. Many people would rather their friends and loved ones be honest – even if the truth hurts – than lie. Regaining trust can take a herculean effort.

Are there places in your story where a character’s lie causes more harm than the truth could have? That’s a common trope in fiction, the lie that snowballs into a catastrophe.

If you’ve already looked for your hero’s motivation for lying, now consider how those lies – or withheld information – affect his or her relationships. Does your hero feel guilty for lying? Does he avoid the person he’s withheld information from? Does the lie get bigger over time as your protagonist tries to hide both the original truth and the lie? Do your supporting characters suspect something?

Consider how the keeping of the secret – rather than the secret itself – affects these relationships.