I recently received the November edition of Romance Writers Report published by Romance Writers of America. This month it featured a very interesting article titled Writing on the Dark Side, written by Larissa Ione. That alone was enough to suck me in.
If you get a copy of Romance Writers Report, I highly suggest you read this particular article.
So, what's considered DARK? According to Larissa...Violence. Gore. Sex. Offensive Language. Have you ever been uncomfortable when reading certain parts of a book? Ever have to put the book down because you're uncomfortable only to find that you need to pick it up later to see what happens?
Well ladies and gentleman--you just crossed over to the dark side!
These types of reads are becoming more and more popular. They test the limits, cross the line and still we beg for more. I'm a confessed darkie. (I just made that term up. Kinda funny. I think I'll keep it.) Being a darkie doesn't just mean that one enjoys to read/write about vampires, demons, shape-shifters and wizards. Sometimes the dark side is just about real issues that really happen, murder, drug addiction, mental and physical scars, all things that make us uncomfortable because we hope, pray that none of those things ever happen to us. Yet, we're drawn in. Why? Cynthia Eden's theory is this: "I think readers enjoy the darker reads because they like the elements of risk and danger--but they like knowing they are in control. No matter what happens, a reader can shut the book, take a deep breath, and come back to the scene later. You can walk on the dark side without ever having to face any real danger. It's a dark thrill, but a safe ride."
Larissa Ione goes on to explain that as a writer, you're first page needs to show what type of read the reader will be getting. If it's dark, it better show dark and you might as well throw the f-word in there right away if you are going to use it freely because there are some readers that are turned off by that word and it's only fair to let them decide if this is the story for them.
Crossing over to the dark side as a writer was an easy transition for me. My writing always tended to steer me in that direction no matter how hard I fought it. Even the contemporary I'm working on has some darker elements. In the end I decided not to fight it. Fighting it only means holding back. And holding back sucks all the potential out of me and my story.
So, I'm a confessed darkie. How about you?
SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi