Saturday, June 6, 2009

In The Dark

Sometimes when I'm reading Twitter feeds, I honestly feel like an eavesdropper.  Conversations between people you follow pop up for you to "listen" in on and once again I've been inspired by something I've seen.  I guess I should mention that I reluctantly joined Twitter, and once I did was instantly hooked.  It's like a bite of cheesecake instead of the whole slice.... ANYWAY....

A pair of tweeters were discussing dark fantasy, particularly YA and essentially what, why, how, when, prompts these readers to seek out dark subject matter. This is entirely a Cliff Notes version of what I read of the discussion....

...ANYWAY..... This got me to thinking.  Not about the YA market in particular, but why some of us gravitate to darker stories, twisted tales and so forth.  I'm not primarily a doom and gloom reader.  In fact, I'm not primarily a doom and gloom writer.  But I do like a good Anne Rice novel now and then, and let me tell you--that woman can write dark!

I think we gravitate to a dark story because we're looking for depth.  Don't get me wrong, everything I write is seasoned with a shake or two of romance and love is a deep emotion, but tragedy, hate, death, and downright spookiness has a way of sinking their collective teeth right into the fleshy parts of your soul. Maybe YA readers do seek this out.  They are hormonally driven, still finding themselves and trying to define their lives.  I don't know a darker time than the 'teen years', so I guess, maybe, they really can connect to that tone of emotion.  

I am lucky enough to have found a great critique partner who, unlike me, has really harnessed her dark side.  I don't think I could ever write the haunting scenes that she does, but nevertheless, that darkness pulls me in and doesn't let go, even after I've read the last word. The depth of emotion is amazing to me, and I enjoy the heartache just as much as I enjoy 'happily ever after'.  Where as a happy ending fills my heart with helium, a dark story can wring it like a wet rag.  Sometimes it's nice to have a cry and let the sorrow in for a moment or two.  It's a very human reaction to connect to those deeper emotions and wallow hip-deep in them.  It's okay to let a chill run down your spine.  And if you have to lock the door after you've read a few pages late at night, that's okay too.  

Bring on the dark!! Let me roll around in misery and spookiness.  When I'm done I'll read a bright, happy romance or a dashing adventure and it will all balance out. What's light without the dark--right?

3 comments:

Suzanne said...

I wholeheartedly agree. ;) And couldn't have said it better myself. Besides, I know that there are plenty of agents as well as readers out there who still like a gothic lovely. Ghosts are the New Vampires, baby!

christinefonseca said...

Wonderful post Amanda. I think teen years is all about intensity - intense love, intense pain...just plan intense. I love writing about it for that reason...it gives me an excuse to be really intense!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oh, everytime I read about the joys of Twitter I am so tempted, but if I let one more Internet activity take up my time I'll never have any time left for writing!

That is interesting about the dark and light. My first MS was actually a very light romance, while my current one is Urban Fantasy and has a lot of darker moments. It is actually pretty fun to be able to write both ways!