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My story might suddenly become far darker than anything I've ever written--help?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by TheCrystallineEntity, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. I have many options right now. The story could just end in the next few pages, leaving a few things unanswered. I could delve into Part 2, but I've come up with two ways of doing this:
    1) There is a huge 100 year timeskip, introducing new protagonists who eventually find out what happened to the old protagonists
    2) The two main characters die and journey into the afterlife together.

    The one thing that would make my story darker than anything I've done before has the potential to happen in both scenarios. The dark thing in question might not seem so dark to some of you, but it certainly is to me: the two main characters freeze to death slowly, and in scenario 1 the new protagonists find their frozen corpses eventually.

    It's odd: when I first started writing this story, I was determined to make it crazy fun after four years of writing my first fantasy novel, but it took on a life of its own and slowly became more and more tragic. Now I'm not sure exactly what to do. I still have the earlier, fun version of the story saved; it's hilarious, but I'm not sure what to do with it.
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    I think you could easily do both. That way you don't need to choose between them. ^^
  3. I hadn't thought of that. :)
    Ireth likes this.
  4. This happens to all my stories too lol. I'm like "let's write something fun and lighthearted!" and it turns way too dark. :p
    TheCatholicCrow likes this.
  5. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    If you write it properly, you can make the two characters freezing to death lighthearted if you want. It's all in how you set things up and present them to the reader. It's kind of like choosing to look at the bright and humours side of things or the sad and dark side. What you choose to emphasise will determine what the tone is.
  6. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    Given the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones, as well as books in the fantasy genre that deal with graphic subject matter, I don't think you have to worry too much about your current predicament. Unless you have a situation like what happened to the Donner party, you don't have to worry about it being dark.
  7. The thing is, none of my past protagonists ever faced a slow, painful death before. Sure, in my previous book the two main characters crash-landed onto a planet and fell into the planet's core [twice], and then in their last incarnations die of old age, but all three of their deaths were pretty much instantaneous.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  8. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    Oh man ... I'm totally there with both of you. Half the characters die and nobody is redeemed - the end. I blame it on my love of Hamlet. Hahaha ... yeah... it's weird at first but eventually I think you just learn to let go and embrace it. There's nothing wrong with dark elements in a story. Actually, I tend to prefer it. Life isn't all rainbows and butterflies so I reason that fiction doesn't have to be either. I think a good portion of it might come down to your state of mind while writing.

    As a reader, I might feel a bit cheated with that big of a time jump (at least that's how I initially felt with Ken Follet's World Without End - though I think that might have been something closer to 300 years... but the set up felt faster than the first book so I quickly got over it).

    As a writer, I give you a big thumbs up. Go for it and let us know how that works for you.
  9. ^In the first fantasy book I wrote, all of the characters die by the end.
    I'll probably save the leftover, unused funny stuff for later.
    TheCatholicCrow likes this.
  10. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    Good call :)
  11. Half? That's cute. :p

    I killed all but three characters in my last book. I didn't mean to...
  12. ^Does anyone 'mean to' kill off their characters? :rolleyes:
    I can imagine an author apologizing to his/her characters: "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to have you all die. It...it just sort of...happened."
    Speaking of which, that's the exact excuse one of my character gives for flipping their family's castle upside-down: "It just sort of happened."

    Also, my books are planned to be published as children's books. What was the last children's book you read that involved the protagonists freezing to death and exploring the afterlife? [The Little Mach Girl doesn't count.]
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
    DragonOfTheAerie likes this.
  13. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    I was being generous ;) It's a 60k word realistic Thriller so I can't exactly pull a Martin. It mostly follows the MC's descent into madness... After several brutal murders, only a small handful of secondary characters are left standing - and with good reason. I need some room to play with in a possible sequel. (Though in book 2, new MC will also die and if I make a book 3, that MC might as well... not sure yet.)

    Killing off characters can be a lazy way for writers to close story arcs or it can get gimmicky if overdone so (as Shakespeare proves) while you can kill everyone, sometimes the better (or even darker) thing to do is leave a few survivors who are stuck dealing with the aftermath of everything else.

    Dead child in war torn area = sad.
    Starving child stuck in human trafficking (with no parents and no hope in war torn area) = worse.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  14. In my first fantasy book, it's kind of justified since the main characters are all divine-ish, benevolent beings who incarnate on the planet to purify it, and so when their mission is done, they don't need to live on the planet anymore.
  15. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    Of course it'll all depend on the story :) Every story requires something a little different but when it comes to dark fiction, I say go for it!
  16. It just dawned on my why the second main character [Kisa] is so emotionally withdrawn, shy, and silent: after the deaths of her mother and two [non-gendered] parents, despite her two grandfathers' attempts to raise her, she never really received the nurturing, affectionate, physical comfort that all children need. That is also probably why she is so overly clingy and holds onto the main character [Oeuyia] so much.
  17. Miseo

    Miseo Minstrel

    I might be a bit late, but don't fear letting things get dark. The world takes its own course. And there aren't enough dark things in fiction anyway. At any rate, having a few dark things in your story won't make the entire thing dark, just makes it deeper.
    TheCatholicCrow likes this.
  18. Since the story is told from the first-person perspective, it'll end up staying with the main character as they freeze, and continuing on even after they die.
  19. I came up with another idea, of having Oeuyia succumb to her depression and trauma and manifesting it as some sort of eldritch creature, thus giving Kisa something heroic to do by freeing Oeuyia, but then I thought it might be too much like Digimon Tamers.
  20. gia

    gia Scribe

    I love light but I can also take dark....as long as there's transformation at the end. No transformation and I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out. So if you kill off your main characters...they better be sitting on a cloud commenting on what they learned! :D

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