Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blog Chain: Why I Don't Like The "Dark" Label But Love Everything Labeled "Dark"

This blog chain round is perhaps my favorite so far! The awesome Christine asks the following questions:

I've been described as a writer of highly emotional and dark stories. So much so, that some could not read Transcend saying that while it was "beautifully crafted and written", the story was just too dark. So I ask you...How dark is too dark for your asthetic? And is writing "dark" and "emotional" a "bad" thing?

Confession: I am a passionate hater of describing all evil or difficult or sad things as "dark." Here's what the trusty has to say about the word "dark": 
1. having very little or no light: a dark room.
2. radiating, admitting, or reflecting little light: a dark color.
3. approaching black in hue: a dark brown.
4. not pale or fair; swarthy: a dark complexion.
5. brunette; dark-colored: dark eyebrows.

Notice how none of those things are evil or difficult or sad. Yes, it's the popular way of describing those things, be it in literature (the Dark Lord a.k.a. Voldemort from Harry Potter/Sauron, the Orcs and the Uruk-hai from Lord of the Rings), film (Pitch from Rise of the Guardians is a recent example), and history (the Dark Ages as opposed to the Enlightenment). The reasons behind this constant use of "dark" as "OMG STAY AWAY FROM IT!" are plenty, but I've chosen not to go into them for fear of derailing myself. 

So. Back to Christine's questions. Nothing is too evil/difficult/sad for my aesthetic. I am a fan of stories and of storytellers. I don't care if the story's about incest or murder or the zombie apocalypse in a preschool. If the story's well written and has three-dimensional characters, I'm going to read it. I'm more of a quality person than a what's-this-about? person. A reason for this is because I learn from everything, especially from experiences that have never happened to me. It fulfills me to read these kinds of stories. They're usually the ones that stick with me long after I've read the last page. Funny/cute stories are enjoyable, sure, but they rarely make an impact on me. Unless they have depth, of course. Depth makes all the difference. :)

And do I think stories about evil/difficult/sad things are bad? Hells no. 

Look, if you have limits, by all means honor them. I know of people who can't read cancer stories because it hits too close to home. Same goes for rape. I support anyone's decision to say no to a particular premise because it hurts them. But if it doesn't hurt you? I say challenge yourself. It's not the only way you're going to grow, but it sure is the best.

Thank you to Christine for this chain's amazeballs topic! Don't miss Cole's post, and you can catch Margie's tomorrow! 


  1. Sometimes you need a little dark to make the story more exciting. But yeah...there are some I can't read because they are just too tough.

  2. I like depth, too. Thanks for your point of view on this! Very enlightening. :)