January 27th, 2006
There be Monsters out there

I read through a partial that I sent off to a publisher six months ago (because I’m thinking of sending it somewhere else). I knew the story was dark when I wrote it, but I never realized how dark until I finished rereading it. All I can say is wow and uhoh. Wow, because I didn’t think I had it in me to write this dark. Uhoh, because I can only think of a few publishers who’d print something like this.

There is no way to change the tone, due to the events happening in the book and the over all storyline. And even if there was, I wouldn’t. I purposely painted a dead world.

I suppose I could take the cowards’ way out and change the manuscript, but then that wouldn’t be the book I set out to write. And to be honest, I’m getting REALLY tired of compromising. When I say that, I’m not talking about thumbing my nose at edits. Goodness knows, I’m incredibly grateful to receive those. What I’m talking about is compromising your vision of a story because you’re concerned it’ll go over like a flying dog f*ck.

More and more of the stories I’m coming up with are dark and unapologetic. They get in your face, make you feel uncomfortable. Do I still want to write humorous tales? Sure. But I also feel like stepping into the pit occasionally, where darkness is a living, breathing entity that exists inside us all.

Do you have a writing yin and yang?

36 comments to “There be Monsters out there”

  1. Yep. Same mix as you, btw. I’ve written humourous stories with smart ass, witty characters. And I’ve written dark, angsty, stuff. They’re both *my voice*. What I’d love to do is a perfect blend of them. 😛

  2. How do you reconcile reading taste that includes Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Debbie Macomber as well as Dean Koontz and Lisa Garnder, Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs??

    Like Walt Whitman says:
    “I am large, I contain multitudes!”

    Go for the dark side, Jordan. When the moment beckons. And then, when the Light appears, well, hell, go THERE.

    We readers want it ALL!!!!!

  3. Oh Jordan, I LOVE that you’re moving over to MY side of life…..LOL I can’t NOT write dark. Well, that’s not entirely true, I have written a couple stories that were just fun…also, don’t EVER dampen it thinking it won’t be accepted. HELL KAT is very dark, and it happily found a home…my editor even commented on the violence, but she thought it was best left in, the story wouldn’t be the story without it. Don’t be afraid to touch on dark subjects….damn girl we need more extraordinary writers, like yourself, to touch it…..TOUCH IT JORDAN! TOUCH IT!!

  4. I like Thomas H. Cook because he is dark. I love light stories, but there’s a part of me that is dark – as there is a part of a lot of people if they would admit it. I’m with everyone else – write what you feel, there’ll be a place for it.

  5. I say go for it!! GO dark…be true to your vision. It’ll find a home. I know it will!!

  6. Oh, and Yin and yang…yes, but I’m just starting to let some of my darker stuff out. I’m just starting to trust that I can do them justice.

  7. I’ve experienced that in my writing, too. I have more MCs that are pretty ambigous, I kill off MCs, I have lots of torture and other dark stuff. I think it has to do with our growth as writers, we learn to face the darkness – our own dark sides, even.

  8. okay, Im slobbering now. I LOVE dark and angsty. I don’t read a lot of light and fluffy, though I have nothing against it. I just gravitate toward “darker.”

  9. Yin and Yang. Yup. Have commented on it several times. Like there are two different writers in there, and neither wants to give in to the other. I’m getting a LITTLE of the humorous out there soon.
    But the dark is very, VERY dark, which will probably mean stepping out of the romance genre.

    And that could be the scariest thing of all.

  10. Jordan,
    I love dark and angsty, get in your face and make you uncomfortable stories. I love to write them as well. My contemporaries are light and humorous whereas some of my paranormals are dark. Like Jaq, I have *two voices*.
    You sure piqued my interest with this story, so I hope that book gets published so I can read it!

  11. Ooh! Personally, I like books that don’t hide the darker side of things, so this is all good. I write this way too. Every time I get homicidal, I kill somebody.

  12. Uh, I hit the reply button too fast. I meant that somebody dies horribly in my book, not that I actually kill somebody. 😉 It helps that my lead character doesn’t really understand why she should feel sad when people close to her die.

  13. God yes, and it drives me crazy because of all the hype about branding. Do I stick with the snarky humorous stories, or open the door and jump into the dark side?

  14. Jaq, It would definitely be interesting to blend the two. I’m just not sure if it’s possible.

  15. Well, I started out with the light funny stuff and some darker shorts, and then I figured out how to merge the two. Part of it is a learning curve (or at least it was for me) and part of it was just getting braver, being willing to write things that Aren’t Nice.

    My double-dog-dare project is a fusion of light and dark. For me, I think without humor to break it up, dark stuff is just…too much. A purely dark book would mean spending waaayyyy too much time in a dark place writing it, because it takes so many more hours to write a book than to read one. And without some dark moments, a light book feels too much on the surface, if you know what I mean.

  16. Maddie, In the end, it may take a name change to be able to walk between worlds. *g*

  17. Vivi Anna, LOL! I’m touching. I’m touching. 😉 This books is definitely loaded with violence, but it’s there for a purpose. We’ll see if anyone is interested in reading it.

  18. Eve, I just received my Thomas H. Cook book. I’m really looking forward to reading it, but it’ll have to wait until after I’ve finished the seven RITA entries I received. :-/

  19. Thanks Sasha! I think I can do the darker stuff justice. It’s a matter of finding an editor who agrees. (wg)

  20. Gabriele, I agree. I do think as you continue to write you learn to face your own inner darkness. For the longest time, I didn’t have a book out where at least one person didn’t die. LOL!

  21. Sharon, LOL! I’m not sure how angsty my book is, but it’s definitely dark. Think Blade Runner without the neon.

  22. Raine, It’s definitely like having two different writers battling for supremacy. I actually wouldn’t call the book I’m talking about a romance. There is a romance in it, but that’s not the focus of the story. And you’re right, stepping outside the genre is VERY scary. That’s why I think, if I can manage to get it published, I’ll do so under a different name. I don’t want to upset my regular readers.

  23. Cathryn, Thanks, and I hope so too. It’s definitely a huge departure from Sky Goddess. *ggg* Pretty much all my paranormals are contemporary set with the exception of this book and a few historical vamps. This book is a near-future story that skirts sci-fi.

  24. May, LMAO! Was that a confession? 😉 It’s definitely gratifying to kill people off…in stories. *g*

  25. Jan, That’s a biggie. You do have to give it some thought. (Not that I think I’m branded in any way, shape or form.) I think that’s why I’m seriously consider the name change.

  26. Charlene, I know exactly what you mean. There just aren’t many ‘natural’ places to lighten my book up. It’s a post-apocalyptic world that has supposedly moved beyond murder.

  27. I used to write this dark stories, with these dark heroes. Then again I was kind of depressed most of the time. So the dark stories reflected my mood. Now that things are going fine with me, I find myself writing lighter stories and totally unable to do the dark stories. Is that a ying/yang thingie? I think it’s more an age thing. I’m not the same at 40 that I was at 28.

  28. Silma, I actually think you hit the cause for your dark writing on the nose. It was mood inspired. Mine, isn’t so much that (I’m not depressed.) as me trying to write the stuff I enjoy watching. (ie Underworld, Vampires, etc.) They aren’t happy movies. The worlds are harsh and the women kick ass.

  29. I tend to do both at once. I write mysteries and they’re dark and creepy. But humor creeps in at the oddest times. I think the contrast makes for a stronger story. The light makes the dark seem darker and the dark makse the light brighter. I think humans lives are both light and dark, so I’d be surprised if most people don’t do both in some way or other. 🙂

  30. Linda, Maybe that will happen sometime later in the book. I’m only sitting at 128 pages right now.

  31. I did my annual Tarot reading party last night at a friends, and before I started with my clients, I had a reading by one of the other Tarot readers. I’ve been doing meditation on my next book, and I can’t escape the dark hero, so I wanted to understand better how he fits into my writing. I know the story is a dark paranormal, but this guy, he’s coming up all shades of black. The reader keyed right into it, as did the cards. Per the reading, the hero came up as a knight of swords, but evolves through the story to the king of swords. The transition comes through, of all things an Emperess. They guy reading had no idea my questionr related to a book, or a hero: but had this message: “to know the beauty of light, one must know the absence of it, know the shadow. And even in this darkness, the knight carries a speck of that light, so he can recognize it and appreciate it, but it takes the Emperess and all that surrounds her to open the path into the dark.” So it’s like that yin, yang you describe. You become dark, but the redemption is that much more potent as a result. You open the path into darkness as the writer, and take us there with the hero, and you don’t pull your punches. Your world may be dead, but your hero is not, and we live the darkness with him. To me, that’s powerful mojo you’re cooking up. I like writers who go deep and long into the cave, so deep sometimes you don’t know if you’ll make it out. The writing is more visceral, the story more evocative and enjoyable. I think as readers it allows us to view our shadow self, one step removed. Very shamanic.

  32. Ursula, That’s so cool that your book came out to you in that manner. I think the explanation definitely illuminates some of the stuff surrounding my characters. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  33. As easily as I can be a smart a** I can be angsty. I just finished reading The Art of Being Lost (or something like that). It wasn’t literature but it wasn’t quite mainstream fiction either. My point being I guess that it was dark and sorta edgy (everyone’s got a story in it) but not heavy, if that makes sense.

  34. I think unapologetic is the word I’m looking for.

  35. Cece, That sounds interesting.

  36. Well researched site – I love Bernard Cornwell’s work! – Will look to incorporate some of your ideas into my site. Thanks!