Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Confess Your Easter Eggs!

I've seen Easter Eggs hidden in favorite DVD's like the Lord of the Rings. My kids often show me things they find in their video games. I've come across a few myself when playing Zelda back in the day. But does anyone put Easter Eggs into their novels?

You get the picture that we're not talking delicious candy treats or the product of chickens. These Easters Eggs are little hidden treats. To find them you have to follow a special procedure or sequence of steps, unless, of course, you stumble upon them by accident. They can be funny scenes, an unexpected reward or piece of equipment, maybe a whole hidden level. Often times they are inside jokes that a game or video creator has stashed away for only the industrious to find. 

My teenage daughter has a very narrow definition. She insists true Easter Eggs are a reference to something not associated with the game you're playing but something that influenced the creator. For instance, in Zelda Skyward Sword you can slingshot your way to a picture of Mario and Luigi, who are obviously not characters in this game. It's a pop culture reference or shout out to the famous and infamous.

But can you put Easter Eggs into books where everything is in perfect view? You can't hide behind words. Or can you?

I admit that I can't resist, though most of mine are in the inside joke category. My favorite word is capricious. Capricious makes into each of my manuscripts exactly one time. And, let me tell you,  it was hard to work that jawbreaker into the middle grade hamster story.  It ain't exactly everyday language.


I've included shout outs to my favorite sports teams. You find banners of the Chicago Cubs and Bears hanging in my YA dystopian. The hamsters worry about being painted blue and gold, a reference to my Fighting Irish. 

Nicknames for my children might be found if a person knew where to search. Also our family's favorite label for all people who act strange or bizarre  (That's right. You know it applies to you, creaper!) My sister's childhood misfortune with a turtle is there in the ending of Kindar's Cure. (Sorry, sis. She bit it, not the other way around.)

Besides inside jokes, I also enjoy planting little seeds in my manuscript that have double meanings. (No, not those type of double meanings, creaper!) Meanings only I know about that actually apply to something in the story. Keep an eye out for blue butterflies when Kindar's Cure is released and in my short story, Frost and Fog, coming from The Elephant's Bookshelf this summer. See if you can figure out the significance.

Edit: I forgot one I planned to share. In the opening of Kindar's Cure, Kindar's mother says she looks like a washed-out rabbit. That's a shout out to my YA dystopian where the mc is an actual rabbit!

So how about you? Any hidden plants to own to in your own writing? Do you have a favorite Easter Egg or maybe one you discovered? 



  1. I always work the names Henry and Grace into my manuscripts at least once. They aren't just characters, though! Street names, hospitals, a church, pets, companies, swear words. :)

    In my current YA WIP, my MC finds a note on the board in an abandoned school. "Turn to Page 394. Two page essay due Monday. - Mr. Wolfsham" I was afraid it would be too obscure, but so far everyone that's read that part has picked up that it's a Harry Potter reference.

  2. Yes, I do. I have a word I include at least once in every book. It's a shout-out to my husband -- a shared joke from a favorite TV show. (Now we yell out the word whenever it appears on other TV shows or movies and, strangely, it does appear quite often).

    No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. :-)

  3. Something kind of fun that I did with my book was using names with meanings that fit with the character. For example, one of my characters is named Calvin, which means "bald-headed." And yes, he's actually bald. :) Almost all of my characters have names with meanings that refer to either their physical traits or personality in some way or another. It makes for fun research.

  4. This isn't a book Easter Egg but a Word Easter Egg. Since many authors use MS Word, I thought you might like this.

    Open a new Word document and type the following


    Now, hit the Enter key and watch Word create pages of dummy text.

  5. Love it! JK Rowling has a TONNNN in HP. Easter Eggs are awesome.

    1. I always get so wrapped up in reading, I never notice hers.

  6. I have characters named Esther and Pearl (for my paternal grandmother and my step-mother, respectively). My MC listens to music by Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, and Social Distortion -- all faves of mine. She also plays ukulele, which I've tried with limited success. Her cousin can't live without her daily latte, or beer, for that matter. In THE KONA SHUFFLE, an especially not-nice character's last name is Halekealoha, which is Hawaiian for "house of love."

    1. That's the fun of having your ms set in the real world. I can't get by with my music in my epic fantasy.

  7. Cipher:

    * Almost all the numbers in the novel are multiples of 6, or are variations on the factors of 6 (1, 2 & 3); the MC's age is a prime based on those prime factors (23). The book has six parts of six chapters each. The word 'cipher' has six letters and six definitions -- and each of the six parts of the novel concerns one of them (although there is a little-used seventh -- it's hidden in one of the metaphors). The disturbed villain is 37yo, breaking the "6" pattern (incidentally, 37 is the first 'irregular prime').
    * All 34 color names from Ken Nordine's 1966 "Colors" album are mentioned (including cerise and nutria).
    * The amount of the fortune stolen by my MC is the amount of the CA Mega Millions lottery jackpot on the day I started the novel. The day I officially considered the novel finished, seven months later, I went to 7-11 to get a Diet Coke, and the lottery jackpot had that day climbed to the exact same amount. I bought a ticket.
    * The Nicaraguan Spanish spoken in the end of the novel doesn't match the English "translations". The content is parallel, not equal.
    * I changed the name of one of my villains so I could buy the web address of his fictional 'company'. If I ever get the dang thing published, I'll put up a fake site.

    Black Sea:

    * The law firm Jarblitz/Sterns is an anagram of my children's first and middle initials.
    * All the song titles of XTC's "Black Sea" album are interspersed throughout.
    * All the rest of the Easter eggs are spoilers, so I can't reveal them yet.

  8. Love this! Now that I know what they are, I do have a few Easter eggs in my stories :) I've got a few of my favourite sports references and a LotR one as well. And a few special names as well! :)

  9. I always use some of my favorite sayings. My characters also tend to wear certain colors depending on their mood.

    1. Freaking fantastic? I think I caught one of yours.

  10. I have a ton of Easter Eggs LOL! They are there, glaringly bright, if you care to look. For example, when the MC "braids time" it is actually using String Theory 1(a). Her cartoon character pajama bottoms are symbols from The Big Bang Theory, and four others. So far, only one person has figured out the String Theory.

  11. My love for the band Avenged Sevenfold comes into play. They (and esp. their late drummer) inspired my fictional band, so you'll see references to that. When the MC goes into the local hospital, his nurse is usually Synthia (a reference to Synyster Gates, their lead guitarist). Other things that I probably don't catch are sprinkled here and there. The MC is Jimmy after their late drummer Jimmy The Rev Sullivan. There's a Matt character (their lead singer and a roadie for A7X). I try not to make it super obvious, but I'm sure some astute people will pick things out.