1. MelissaL
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    MelissaL Member

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    Can dark stories be a little too dark?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MelissaL, May 4, 2010.

    Sometimes when I write stories, I write these crazy parts. When I read them later I can't help but wonder if I'm a little twisted! This is why I'm afraid to post anything. Is there such a thing as too dark? Where do you draw the line, does it eventually turn off your readers?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can have too much of anything. What constitutes too much? Know your market/audience.
     
  3. wiggons
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    wiggons Member

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    basically what cogito said. Im also of the opinion that its best to break up 'dark bits' with 'normal bits', so that is a greater contrast between it, and thus better value.

    If a story is just continually dark, for me it could lose any sort of shock or surprise value. Ie- becomes predictable. Just my two cents
     
  4. daisydaisy
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    daisydaisy Member

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    I don't think so. I've read loads of pretty dark stories out there, if you search the web there are loads and loads of published stories, some of them are pretty dark and twisted...I don't even understand them! I say keep doing what you're doing, and let others decide. If they don't go down well, then at least you've done your job by creating opinion on your piece.
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep. Make it darker and you'll lose some audience who don't like it so dark, but you'll gain some who love that dark stuff.

    Sure, if you're writing for a particular market (pre-school, Christian bookshops, supermarket-magazine-rack fiction magazines, etc) there are going to be fairly tight boundaries, but that all comes under "know your market".
     
  6. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    One time a baby had gotten out and was crossing the street when a zooming ambulance came down on him. The baby smashed into the right front tire, it's still hardening skull turning into a gelatin wedge against the wheel's forward motion. The ambulance rolled over a war veteran and it's oxygen tanks exploded, sending the heart attack patient it was carrying nearly 500 feet into the air.

    Personally I find stuff like that funny. You can just keep going and going.

    If you don't have an audience but are considering one, remember the kind of people you'll be attracting with "twisted" stuff.

    Guys, never get curious about erotic literature. Especially the kind you find on the internet.
     
  7. hyperspace!
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    hyperspace! Member

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    It depends on how you want the readers to react, I think. Everyone likes a little ultraviolence, but if you go too over-the-top, it loses its shock value and becomes kinda funny. Which isn't really a bad thing.

    Or maybe it is? I don't know. It depends on your tastes, I guess.
     
  8. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Just keep it realistic, I'd say. The point where it becomes unrealistic is where it becomes too much IMO, but that truly is a fine line, unless it seems like the author is artificially injecting a perverse sense of sadism or tragedy into the story. intriguing op
     
  9. zaphod
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    zaphod Member

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    By itself gory and dark stuff can be fun or campy or it might be necessary to communicate some deeper value. What you should really reflect on are the moral judgments.

    A feeling of righteousness is often a necessary ingredient in human cruelty. People always like the story of the victim who seeks revenge no matter how vile their actions really are. We as a society condone things from killing an unarmed burglar to torture in Iraq. Whenever a horrific crime is reported on a news website, the user comment sections is filled with anonymous internet cowards who describe how the perpetrator deserves some kind of eye-for-an-eye punishment.

    My personal opinion, well I like that personal revelation/bible verse quoted by Samuel L. Jackson at the very end of Pulp Fiction...
     
  10. KurtistheTurtle
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    KurtistheTurtle Member

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    It's all relative. As long as you don't cross taboo or do it in an erotic, intriguing or emotionally impactful way people will dig it. If you touch on topics close to the heart like how relationships should be, politics or religion, don't count on people being fair enough to say "That's their point of view" but rather "This is ridiculous! This should be banned!"

    Just how it is

    Pretty much all of us have sides we hide from society. We put a pretty face on it, but this morbidity affects the news stories covered. Not only is it interesting, but its healthy to let out that energy in a constructive way. There are times to hide it, but books are an intensely personal medium. Don't censor yourself and try it out. You can always apologize later :D
     
  11. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    It's been said before, and I'll say it here and now, know the market you wish to write for. If you're writing little kids books and tend to write such "twisted" things then perhaps you should restrict yourself. However if its for "Nightmare on Elm Street" fans, then by far get as "twisted" and dark as you wish.

    On another note, the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies underwent a lot of debate for being too dark and twisted to even be allowed in the face of the public. But as you can see, they still stand today and was even recently remade.

    Honestly though, if you like you're method of writing and think that it'll catch your audiance in the sensation that you so wish it too, then I don't recommend changing it around too much. Not unless you seek further review from the Reviewing Forums and they drop a few suggestions.
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    And there are markets for stuff that does cross taboos. Probably not stuff we want to go into in a family forum, save to say that they're niche markets but as long as you stay on the right side of the law they are legitimate markets. You need to work out whether you are comfortable getting involved in them.
     
  13. Gingerbiscuit
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    Gingerbiscuit Senior Member

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    I totally agree. Shakespeare is a great expample of this. Even in his deepest, darkest tragedies he always had the "comic relief" be it from the Fool in King Lear or the hungover gatekeeper in macbeth. If you go from one dark scene to the next without respite then you have to continually get more dark otherwise the reader won't feel it.

    The most depressing and yet moving book I've read recently was Cormac McCarthy's The Road which I'm sure you'll agree is a pretty bleak read but there were also some very warm moments between the boy and his father which made the next section even more gloomy, which, in turn, further accelerated the innocent beauty of a good deed in times of fear and uncertainty. This type of juxtaposition is a good way to accelerate the intended emotions within the reader.

    To sum up, a story can be as dark as you want but whatever you intend the reader to feel from reading your narrative it will have more impact if you lighten it up periodically :D
     

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