I’m not one to bang on or flog dead horses, but I just wanted to talk about genre – again.  This time, more about where my writing is going.  I know I said that my writing is more character driven than genre driven, but lately I have noticed that my writing is getting darker. I have been exploring my dark side, and I don’t mean the force or anything Star Wars related…

Metaphorically and literally, my writing has gotten darker.  My stories are taking part in a dark place or time, with dark characters and dark undertones.  Which seems strange really, and totally the opposite of who I really am.  But I am happy enough to explore this, I think because it allows me to extend my own limited knowledge.

One of the stories I want to write is gothic in nature, but takes place on a snow planet.  Yip, can’t get any whiter or lighter than that, but the context of the story is dark – the characters have dark secrets, hidden identities, dark undercurrents. I can’t really explain why I want to do this story, other than if I don’t, I know the main character, Vyvica, is going to get very vocal soon, and she is a bolshy woman, no someone you want to cross.  Exploring her will be interesting, and I also find that while I am pushing my own boundaries in writing when I explore a new area, I also end up extending my characters, making them different than they imagined (Okay, maybe I am mad, but they do talk to me, and tell me what they like and don’t like…)

My current soon to be ex trilogy has a character in it, who was essentially evil compared to the rest.  But after lots of debate with fellow writers, I came to realise that evil is only a word.  It is the character of the person that makes them evil.  So I have removed references to evil, and given him a reason to be bitter and twisted (which was there all along) and made it darker, so he is a character with more depth as a result, and although he has evil intentions, he is no longer evil – just misunderstood (only that is a desperate understatement, but I am working on it!)

I am enjoying where my writing is taking me at the moment, and will continue to explore it until I move onto my next growth spurt, goodness knows what that will be!

Genre – continuing on…
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4 thoughts on “Genre – continuing on…

  • March 19, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I think all writers eventually get to the point where they realize that ‘evil’ is just a word, a perception which is meaningless in many ways. He thinks and believes certain things which are at odds with what other people think and believe. That doesn’t make him evil (doesn’t make him ‘good’ either), it makes him an individual.

    Kids can get away with their black and white version of the world – I’ve asked Ivy before why someone is ‘the bad guy’ and her answers are often ‘because they just are’. She knows he’s bad because of the music that plays on the TV when he comes on, or he says things that aren’t very nice, or the way he looks and the way others respond to him.

    As adults and writers we need to dig deeper than that and ultimately a character who you’ve really tapped into might be considered ‘evil’ or the ‘bad guy’ in general, but they are still (typically) a person possibly with very valid reasons for the way they are, capable of making decisions and choices based on their point of view/life experience/history/etc. There are very few truly ‘bad guys'(individuals with antisocial personality disorders – psychopaths/sociopaths) in the world, and just as few in written worlds, and I think it brings more to a story when there is genuine conflict/reason for their actions rather than just the good old ‘oh, he’s just bad’ line.

    Or maybe that’s just my preference. I think we all have a bit of that darker nature in us, and I know it makes some people uncomfortable. But better the devil you know right? I would rather know my devils than let them dance in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to jump me 😉

    • March 21, 2010 at 8:47 am

      I finally know what you have been trying to tell me for ages Cassie. And I have been removing references to “evil” although that is still an essential part of the story, the balance between good and bad and how it affects the very fabric of the earth.

      But making a character “evil” in the eyes of the reader is hard, so instead I am focusing on his anger, sense of being wronged and his revenge that he wants to extract. I am trying to make him more mean as well, self centred, and one scene has been changed to show him in a darker light. I hope I have pulled it off.

  • March 21, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Characters are a product or result, not a cause in and of themselves.

    There is no evil and there is no good. There is only the reaction of the reader based on the actions of characters. Do the deed and let the reader define it.

    When we, as writers, make those definitions on behalf of the reader, we diminish the reader’s role in the process. And, yes, the reader has a very important role in all of this. There HAS to be room for the reader to ponder, question and… think. After all, that is what makes reading fun and worthwhile.

  • March 21, 2010 at 8:48 am

    It is my readers that have pointed out my faults to me, and I have listened to them.

    They are important, because they are the ones the story is aimed at. Although I write for my own satisfaction, I also want to write so others enjoy the written word!


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