I’ve been reading a lot of darker stuff lately. Not so much horror as things that are weird or sad.
I’ve always had thing for darker stuff, those that have read my short story will agree.
What I look for in a book that is dark or weird, whether it’s the subject matter Nevermore by Neil Gaiman or American Gods, the atmosphere, as in The Road by Cormac MacCarthy, I look for things that make it stand out from the rest.
The Road is a brilliant book and is in my top five all time reads but it’s the atmosphere as well as the subject matter that makes the book so dark.
When it comes to weird, China Mieville is awesome. Also if you haven’t read Lovecraft, he’s a must read for weird stories, he’s the one that inspired writers like Stephen King and Clive Barker, among others.
I think the thing about dark stories, sad stories or weird stories, I like that they make me feel normal. I’m a darker person, I like things that scare me, and sometimes I write things that scare me or that scare others.
Sometimes I write stories that don’t really scare, but are a look inside someone we may not want to look inside of, I don’t mean literally, not really.
I see things in dreams and go, damn, lets see what happens if I do “This” to a character, “Arrrrgggghhh.” He said as it happened.
Torturing your characters to see how they react is like your own insane asylum, though mine is sometimes more like Hellraiser than anything else.
When I torture a character, physically, emotionally or any other “-ally”, I find that I learn something more about the character I wasn’t aware of before.
This little nugget is better than gold, or brains to a zombie. It’s this part of writing I have the most fun, I’m sadistic to them, but only to learn about them, honestly.
I guess I need to do it more often.
- LQ Podcast 31: China Miéville (laphamsquarterly.org)
- Neil Gaiman – American Gods (sffbookreview.wordpress.com)
- Embassytown by China Miéville (siripaulson.wordpress.com)
- I Love My Dark Little Family (brianbbaker.com)