Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blog Chain: Darkness in Fiction


Christine Fonseca says, 

I've been described as a writer of highly emotional and dark stories. So much so, that some could not read Transcend saying that while it was "beautifully crafted and written", the story was just too dark. So I ask you...How dark is too dark for your aesthetic? And is writing "dark" and "emotional" a "bad" thing?

This is a great question, and one all writers must face at some point. Where is my line? Where is the place I won't go, and why? There's a line for everything: violence, emotional oppression, sex, profanity, provocative symbolism. 

For me, the darkness line has to be drawn pretty close to the lighter side of the spectrum. My favorite recent series was Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. I also enjoyed the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter about girl spies. The lighthearted humor, true-love-wins-out theme, and lovable characters are a trifecta I can't resist. 

That said, I have written some pretty emotionally dark stuff, from a little boy who witnessed his father's vehicular manslaughter in gory detail to a girl being seduced by the devil himself. For me, writing dark stuff is like taking off all your clothes. It's nakedness for an author, because no two people are dark in the same way. That part of us is intensely personal. Authors are routinely mocked for the darkness in their stories, from The Shining to Twilight: Breaking Dawn. 

So for me, I prefer to keep it in the light part of the spectrum, with just a dip into the darkness for that all-important black moment, right before the cavalry arrives to save the day. 

How about you? How dark is too dark for you, as a writer? As a reader? 

See Christine Fonseca's blog for her original answer. And tomorrow, Lisa Amowitz will answer this week's question.

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