I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading lately. I was looking for something dark to enjoy, maybe paranormal, but really just something dark. So I was suggested a read.
The story ended up being a good one, but not what I would call dark. A little gritty, and maybe a little gray, but not dark. I mentioned this in chat to my plot bunny enabling friend Ms. Kim Knox and her response was, “One persons dark is another person’s butterflies.” And of course, because her new name is now “Ms. Bunny Enabler”, the response spawned this blog post.
It’s true though. Labels are subjective. My idea of dark is mood. I want to feel the loss, despair, horror, or what-have-you, in my very pores when I read something I might label “dark”. I want there to be doubt that anything will be alright ever again.
Gritty to me, is not dark. While dark builds tension, gritty hits you with it. It’s raw, more visceral, and while it may have its dark moments, I don’t put gritty and dark in the same category. Anything can be gritty, but dark has its own sort of elegance.
A character can be tortured, and to me, that’s not necessarily dark. Dead bodies can litter the streets, but to me, that’s not always dark either. It’s the tone of a story that makes it dark. I’ve read dark contemporaries where not a soul was killed, but it was still what I could consider, dark. But maybe that’s me.
So… what is your idea of dark? Does dark include certain criteria for you? Does it have to have violence, or blood shed, or is it something else? Does something that have graphic violence in it automatically put a story in your ‘dark stuff’ pile?