Angel character ID to stay a mystery till the end?

by Mary Magnusson
(Des moines, Iowa, USA)

Question: My secondary character is a male angel sent to aid main character throughout her life. How do I maintain his angel identification through out the story?


Answer: Well, you haven't really given me much to go on here, so I'm just going to go out on a limb.

For instance, there are a lot of possible types of angel characters, from aloof and non-interfering, to fatherly, all the way down to romantic partner.

I'll assume it's not the latter type of relationship.

I'll also assume the angel is the impact character and, for simplicity, that he is attempting to manipulate the main character into becoming something or making the right choice.

One approach that can work to create a mystery is to omit or hide one of the throughlines until late in the book.

For instance, you might tell the these 3 throughlines...

1. Overall Throughline- the main plot that revolves around the Story Goal.
2. Main Character Throughline or the main character's arc.
3. Relationship Throughline - the story of her relationship to this angel character.

However, you would hide the Impact character throughline. The angel might be doing things throughout the story that have an impact or influence on the main character, but she doesn't perceive what's going on, nor is the reader privy to what's happening. The absence of this throughline would be felt. Things might happen that were not explained, which would create that sense of a growing mystery.

Towards the end of the story you can reveal to the reader and main character what's been happening all along. The revelations would then make sense of everything.

Of course, you have to decide whether the main character needs to know the truth in order to make the right decision at the climax, or whether not knowing is critical to her making the right choice.

This also assumes that neither the reader nor the main character knows the guy is an angel until near the end. If she is supposed to know, then disregard what I've said. My going out on a limb has led to the limb breaking under me.

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