Consider employing a deceiver in your plot

Sometimes the plot of your story requires that the viewpoint character keep his identity secret from other characters. Such a character is known as a deceiver.

A good example of a deceiver occurs in “The Ten Commandments” motion picture when Moses, a popular and successful Egyptian general, learns he is of Hebrew descent and so goes into the slaves’ brickmaking camp to learn what life is like for his people. If he went in as a general, he would only see what the slavemasters wanted him to see and would not truly feel or understand the Hebrews’ plight. So he hides his identity and “pretends” to be a Hebrew.

There are a number of plot situations when a deceiver could be used:
• Traveling incognito – The character may want to learn the truth about what is going on. This works for anyone investigating a crime or spying in which sneaking around is necessary.
• Operating in disguise – If the character must accomplish some mission, he might wear costumes or change his identity. This allows the character to operate in the open rather than skulk about.
• Keeping identity secret as he’s really a superhero – A character may operate in the open but does not want anyone to connect him to his alter ego (such as Clark Kent doesn’t want anyone to know he’s Superman) because doing so would put him at risk and limit opportunities for the alter ego to solve problems.

A subtype of the deceiver character is the man on the make, a character whose deceptions form a coherent game plan that become apparent as the plot develops.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.