After the Llorona CWC critique on Monday I got to thinking about what Mary said about the story being dark. Considering that the story opens with a murder/suicide, I would say she has a point.
But now I’m in a quandry on how to balance the story. See, the story ends*, if not happily, then at least hopefully. How do I balance the light/dark sides? It has to start dark, because the whole idea is that the family that I’m writing about comes out of this dark period ‘into the light’, as it were. However, will a reader throw the book down in disgust because the story is too depressing to continue?
There was much argument about The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, being way too dark–opening as it does with the rape and murder of a twelve/thirteen year old girl. That story is saved, at least for me, because it’s narrated by the little girl from heaven…so you know at one level that she’s okay before you even find out what horrible things happen to her, plus you have that youthful voice making it seem less jarring.
I have no such balance at the moment.
Right now I’m not gonna worry too much and just see what comes out. That way I can see if there’s a spot of light somewhere later that can come in earlier.
But it’s still a bit of a worry.
*Story ending disclaimer: I won’t really know how it ends until it ends.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.