1. Asuran
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    Asuran Member

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    Dark Themes

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Asuran, Sep 13, 2008.

    Another question, I'm on a roll.
    So, how dark would you think would be too dark for a book for teenagers? Because my latest novel features anorexia (to a deadly extent) and teenage pregnancy. Not a matter of maturity because I think most would be able to handle it, but more of a "would they actually read it" question.
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't call teenage pregnancy dark in and of itself, just a controversial button to be pushing (don't worry though. if Dan Brown proved anything, its that your book can utterly suck and still sell well if its controversial enough).

    I think that by the time one is a teenager they are able to deal with most dark subjects. It would help if we had more detail as too how these subjects are portrayed. I would say simple teenage pregnancy is, a not really that dark, and b a subject many teens might actually find a connection to whether they've experienced it or not. Its just something they can connect to.

    Now, if the character is kidnapped brutally raped and then gets pregnant, that might be a wee bit too dark for some. It really depends on protrayal. Even the most violent and horrible acts can be made light depending on how it is portrayed.
     
  3. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    What lordofhats said.

    The subject matter itself doesn't make it dark (hello, ever seen Juno?) and I would have read -- still would read -- a book with real issues that I'm curious about expanding my worldview on.

    I read The Best Little Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron when I was 14... and, um, didn't like it but not because of the subject matter so much as the execution. It kind of suggested that there was more to the disorder than vanity, but there I never got this epiphany of dawning understanding and compassion ... it was just all creepy.

    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, I read when I was 16 but stopped reading when I was 16 and 1/2 (of the book) because I found it slow, not because I found it dark.

    Sure, I was the morose artiste-philosopher-wannabe with occasional flares of angry activism in Middle/High School... (still am, I just don't wear the costume anymore) but I hear there's a lot of those in the next generation ;) In short, yes, there's a market for this... but I'd be wary of writing gratuitously. It seems difficult to pull off well. I'd read and recommend if it were something my friends might relate to (even if the situations are so out there) and if it illuminates the issues.
     
  4. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    /Showers LoH with hugz.]

    When I think "Dark", I think sex, violence and violent sex. Generally speaking, teenagers aren't afraid of those things. As a matter of fact, teens aren't really scared off by much, being one myself. I think getting to technical or aeroydte would be the most likely to scare off younger reads. Be as graphic as you want, but don't describe how the uteral wall is torn apart.
     
  5. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Teens eat "dark and tragic" up.

    It's the parents and teachers whom you're going to have to bypass if you want your book to be successful. On the other hand, I have seen novels about literal crack whores and heroin addicts being displayed quite proudly on school library shelves, so I suspect it's more about the treatment than the topic.
     
  6. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    You really shouldn't. Teenagers are very exposed to both sex and violence. If you make a big deal out of it, it'll seem overdone. That being said, what I consider dark is very...uhm, graphic depictions of torture, excessively sadistic killings, rape... Not just plain sex and violence, that won't "shake" the demographic you're after.

    I lol'd.
     
  7. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    Think of "Junk" by Melvin Burgess. Dark subject matter and style aimed at teenagers. And very successful.
     
  8. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    A demon that has sex with people for its own sick cravings and desires AND NO OTHER REASON, AND not even trying to hide the fact. That would be about as dark as it gets for me. Basically violent, often times gruesome violation, that, I would think, is about as dark as it can get.
     
  9. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I don't think that anything is too dark if it mirrors what a real kid might have to face.

    A demon who wants to have sex to make someone miserable. That might mirror a sex offender or just some guy/girl who has "sport sex" of which their are plenty.

    On a personal note, I would find material objectionable, to me only, which encouraged people to engage in behavior which hurts others who're innocent. Such stuff could be produced by a sadistic person hoping to sway others through an entertaining story.

    Elsewhere, I've been discussing two popular authors who've written some very intense and arguably perverse books about relationships which they don't engage in themselves. That smacks of propaganda to me and I won't buy their books any longer.
     
  10. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    i think the a story about a seriel killer trying to kill another seriel killer who is raping (and then mutilating) his victims, but ends up signing a contract with the devil; therefore becoming a demon to do so. but to become a demon must kill ___# of people in such and such gruesome fashion first. and once he becomes a demon ends up killing entire towns off trying to find this guy. only to find that it was the first person he killed during the trial.

    that (which took me two minutes to think up) is one hell of a dark story i think.
     

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