Optimism? I think not


Rebecca Laffar-Smith posted about endings to a book for the Absolute Write Blog Chain Challenge. In her post she says she ends her romance novels with a little optimism that quickly fades.

When it comes to writing, I think that I don’t really write optimistically. My two current books have dark themes. The Robert Story is about a teenager bullied to his breaking point, while Mars opens with New York City in ruins. Most of the things I’ve written for my classes in college were dark and usually apocalyptic. Even my senior composition was about the end of the world.

Why do I write dark? I don’t know the root of the drive but I think that by ‘going there’ you get people who want to read as a guilty pleasure, just as people *have* to look at a car accident as they pass. One prime example is the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica that is currently on Sci-Fi. the show is nothing like the original and is very dark, dealing with the annihilation and persecution of the human race.

Regardless of the subject matter, I write. That’s what counts.

Check out the other writers involved in January’s AW Blog Chain.

This months topic, “writing”!

living my life all over again
Spontaneous Derivation
Jenn Hollowell: Working Writer
Anything That Pays
Polenth’s Quill
wfg thinks out loud
Spittin’ (out words) Like a Llama
A Thoughtful Life
The Speakeasy
Virtual Wordsmith
The Writer’s Round-About
My Copious Notes Blog
Tennessee Text Wrestling
Twisted Fantasy


  1. Wow, your post really made me think. I used to write about themes I thought my not be appealing to anyone else . . . but then I have to think, who cares as long as its appealing to me and I’m WRITING?! Right? šŸ™‚

  2. Excellent post and food for thought!

    My work is sometimes optimistic, but tempered, I believe, with realism — I’ve never been a fan of the “too-perfect” ending, “too-perfect” characters, etc.

    Interestingly enough, there’s very little about my current WIP that’s optimistic — it’s dark, very dark.

  3. There’s definitely an audience out there for things that walk on the dark side. Heck, even a huge one. *points at large stack of dark fantasy, dark horror, dark scifi bestsellers*

    People who read for guilty pleasure read just about anything, dark or not. Reading for yourself, rather than for work or school or self-improvement, is always a guilty pleasure.

    I love humor that turns dark. Terry Pratchett’s Nightwatch for instance, or Thud!—brilliant blend of humor and darkness. It is arguable that the best humor has darkness behind it.

    First novels tend to be angsty and full of important, dark themes. I so far do not seem to have the stamina for novel-length darkness, even though by all rights I ought to. I suppose I will keep going through life as I always have… pizza rolls between the entres.

  4. Most of my fiction is dark, too, usually set in an imagined dystopia. I’m no fan of perfect endings, but I do usually offer one that’s realistically happy. IOW, the MC might not get everything he or she hoped for, but there’s enough to build a good life if one takes a good attitude about it.

  5. I sometimes write dark because sometimes dark is called for. Generally I don’t because real life is scary enough.

    Someone once asked Stephen King why he didn’t try his hand at something that wasn’t so hideously terrifying. Write something else. He answered “What makes you think I have a choice?” (I strongly recommend his book “On Writing” BTW).

    Jenn wrote: “. . . but then I have to think, who cares as long as its appealing to me and Iā€™m WRITING?! Right?”

    yes, Yes,

  6. (sorry, I hit submit before I meant to)


    you really can’t write for anyone but yourself. If the audience is bored that’s bad. If you are bored that’s disastrous!

  7. Yep, you have to write for yourself, first. Be your own first reader…at least, that’s what I’m learning…slowly. šŸ™‚

    If I wrote dark, I’m afraid it would swallow me up. I’ve had enough darkness in my life. I’d rather read and write about the good things in life, usually. Guess I’m an optimist.

  8. to be honest, I don’t really write dark, but if it came to me to write that way, I would. I’m like you…I just write. Then I go back and rework it if it doesn’t work for me.

  9. You know, I’ve been wondering something lately. It seems that all my short fiction – i. e., flash fiction, is dark. Armageddon, taking over people’s bodies, invasions… Really dark stuff that has no resolution. I’ve been wondering why that is. šŸ™‚

    But then, when I think about it, my novels can also be interpreted as dark, too. I mean, two prepubescents who nearly accidentally blow up their own world. Not the stuff that light-hearted fiction is made of. Why do I make my main characters do these things? I have another one whose cousin tries to kill her in a fit of insanity. *laughs* Yeah, I guess I’m just really really mean. šŸ™‚

    BUT I won’t touch anything that’s nightmare material. I’m far too sensitive for that and get nightmares far too easily. So what makes the stuff I write okay but not nightmare material? It’s a really really fine line…

    And now you’ve gone and done it. You’ve made me think! šŸ˜€

    And, um, auria, you’re definitely not the only one. I won’t look at car accidents either. Ever.

  10. I like to write dark stories, also. When I was younger, I wrote some very dark poetry about suicide. I was in NO WAY leaning toward opting out of life, but I was feeling dark one day and some really edgy stuff came pouring out. I always worried that people would read them and assume I had a tortured youth. LOL.. So not the case.

    I will read just about any genre and enjoy it. Dark, light, scary, weird, sci-fi… you name it.. I’m good with it all.

  11. I like the horror genre, A LOT! But, I’m not sure I’ll ever write a horror story. I’m too much love and light, I think.

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