Monday, December 3, 2012

A Darkness Most Dreadful

Today is not only my daughter's third birthday but also the start of another blog chain. Christine kicked things off with this question:

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 such a great question for the blog chain because I already know that everyone will answer this a different way. And that's because what one person views as dark, may not be so bleak to another person's point of view. 

For me personally, I write darker books and I like to read darker books. Although sometimes I also like to read light and fluffy books. I don't think either of these is good or bad--as long as the darkness or light fits the story that it is being told. The most important thing about reading a dark book, though, is that there is some light at the end. Endings don't necessarily need to be 'Cinderella driving away with the Prince' happy, but there needs to be hope or a feeling that things are looking up.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. 

In high school I had to read 1984 by George Orwell. I was not a Cliffnotes type of girl. I wouldn't even skim. If I was assigned to read a book, then I read every single word. I even read the rather long book within a book that comes somewhere around the middle of 1984. The last 100 pages were a bit of a slog, but I kept going - not just for school anymore - but to know how it ended for myself.

I had my fingers crossed for a happy ending. I guess I should have known better. Maybe I did. But what I didn't know was that it was a **SPOILER ALERT** strap a rat in a cage to the main character's face so that he would finally give in and be completely and utterly defeated type of ending. 

I threw that book across the room. I was so mad at it. Just thinking about it now, I feel outraged all over again . I do not subscribe to that book's vision of the world and humanity and I never will. 

That is too dark for me.  

Maybe next June when ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE hits the shelves, it will also hit the walls of some its readers. It is a dark book in some places, although the word I hear most often in feedback so far is "creepy." That might not be everyone's cup of tea and I get that. But I will promise you this - there are no rats and the ending is ultimately on the side of hope.

As you probably already know - this is only the beginning of the blog chain - to read more head on over to Sandra's blog.


  1. I love that although our answers are different...they are not!

  2. This is a great post and one that was really interesting for me to read, as my opinion on unhappy endings is just the opposite. I love how they make you feel so much- sadness, anger, confusion, but ultimately the satisfied feeling that the author ended the book the way he or she thought was right. That is not to say that I dislike endings where things are looking up; I enjoy those too and cannot wait to read your book, hopefull ending and all. I think it just depends on how the writer feels the story should end.
    Also: happy birthday to your daughter! Little children are so adorable:)