1. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    Just above the treetops

    The dark, empty pit of "I can't read this anymore": tightrope walking versus bungee jumping

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Feo Takahari, Jan 18, 2016.

    I like to approach dark topics in the most visceral manner I can get away with. I won't get into examples in this post, but many of my stories portray something as fundamentally wrong in a way that some readers have difficulty reading all the way through. I figured my approach was necessary on some levels--it's easy to make something acceptable or even attractive if you sanitize it too much.

    I've been watching a cartoon called Steven Universe, and I can't help but find it striking how many dark subjects it handles in a manner appropriate for 8-year-old viewers. PTSD, survivor's guilt, abusive relationships . . . To my utter bafflement, they even managed a rape metaphor that was tasteful and age-appropriate! I've seen that episode twice, and I still can't believe my last sentence isn't a contradiction in terms. What's more, none of it ever feels like it's trivialized or made less important by being dealt with through abstractions and metaphors.

    In all honesty, it's making me feel a little inadequate. I'll still write grotesque stories, since the techniques in Steven Universe are way beyond my skill level, but I'm starting to wonder how much I actually need to show all this awful stuff.

    What are your thoughts on the darkest parts of fiction? How much of a purpose do you think they serve?
  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I'm only interested in them for contrast. A darkness inside of someone that they must fight against. And if the darkness is external it's usually used as a metaphor for deeper issues. As for how deep I seep into it - hard to say. I'm by nature easy going, I have a hard time going too dark or if I do - it's comes out blunt and straightforward. Right now my WIP is a prison story and there are very dark things going on but I never let my tone get too dark.
    I've actually dropped stories for being too dark - I just didn't like the tone and where they were taking it. I really didn't get their purpose for trying to disgust the reader.

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