Darker Side of Writing

I started writing this story that planned to be more romance than suspense. As BookRoseI’ve written further into it, it’s becoming more suspense than romance, but what concerns me the most is this has become darker than I anticipated.

I realized my motivations for one of the major turning points wasn’t strong enough. But I had to get my heroine, Gemma, to abandon everything she knows to join the hero back to his home country. So instead of leaving to keep her home safe, I’ve forced her to leave because her home doesn’t exist anymore (for lack of better explanation, and I don’t want to give spoilers!)

But I’m struggling with how much darker the story has become. I normally don’t write this morbid, but it makes the motivation strong enough for the character. One particular scene had me in tears as I wrote it, but it was crucial.

The reason I’m so concerned is this doesn’t fit the standards of the current publisher I work with. Selling this story could prove to be more difficult than I’d like.

Writers: have you ever experienced something like this? Where a story morphs into a different genre or tone before your eyes? How do you handle it? Or maybe I should finish the thing first and worry about those issues later. Hm, conundrum.

6 responses to “Darker Side of Writing

  1. In my experiences, sometimes writing goes to darker places. While it can be intimidating, it’s usually those darker scenes that the audience responds to best. It’s what’s behind the ‘Do Not Enter’ doors that widens the eyes, the unknown that quickens the pulse, and that suspense that keeps fingers flipping pages like a strong gust of wind.

    Then again, I write in a different genre and I’ve been working on making my stories more light-hearted. If you’re looking for the line, here it is. Do not let your MC(s) lose their compassion. Let them be that flickering flame in the darkness. It’ll make the sunrise that much sweeter.

    BTW: I am constantly impressed with the pages you bring and always excited when you pull them out.

  2. Thanks, Matt! Great suggestion, and I appreciate the compliment. Likewise with your pages! Wish you’d bring something to read more often! 🙂

  3. Pingback: My Other Writings Are Dying! | The Claire Violet Thorpe Express

  4. I agree with Matt! Sometimes we have to scratch off the scabs of our characters and let them bleed to see what they are really made of (sorry, gross analogy!). But once that happens, they start healing stronger than you can ever imagine.

    I sat in on a lecture on writing given by Robert Olen Butler and one thing he said that always sticks with me is that as writers, we don’t have the luxury to look away. When faced with something that scares us – and our characters – we must face it with eyes wide open.

    Great blog, Susie!

  5. Good points, Kim. Though I can see why so many great writers through history had mental issues. They had to somehow cope with every feeling and the torture they put on their characters, because they couldn’t look away. Me- I’ll stick with music and caffeine as my coping mechanisms. 🙂

  6. Pacing is extremely important in writing romantic suspense. From a breathtaking opening on to the startling conclusion, we have to keep the action going and make every word count. Intersperse the romance and let the love affair build. Be brutal in your self-editing and remove anything that doesn’t move the story forward or add to our understanding of the character or situation. That’s why God invented the delete key. If the action slows, throw in another complication or problem or predicament for your protagonists. But put them in danger again, throw up a road block, give them a dead end or several red herrings to cope with, or a blowout in the middle of a car chase. The tougher they have it, the more the reader wants to continue turning pages to find out just how they’ll get out of this one.

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