Last weekend, I released a new YouTube video discussing the idea of channeling your own emotions, using them as writing prompts to tackle dark themes in your stories, and how this can result in more complex characters. I also reference some of my personal life experiences and explain how they manifest in my writing as an example.
I really believe that if you’re going to play with any particular theme in a story—be it light or dark—then it’s important to come from a personal place when doing so. Otherwise, you run the risk of writing a story that does not emotionally resonate with readers in an authentic way and instead comes across more like a dry essay or intellectual exercise in flexing your technical literary muscles.
At least, this has been my experience while wrestling with my WIP and reading other people’s writing.
For more Internet articles related to writing dark themes, check out these links below:
- 10 Dark Books for the Literarily Disturbed
- Free Creative Writing Prompts #6: Dark, Disturbing, and Weird
- 15 Dark Fantasy Writing Prompts to Help Spark Your Imagination
2017 Yearly Goals Update
On a somewhat related note, I just realized that I’ve already achieved some of my personal goals for this year!
One of my goals was to “plan the end of my long-distance relationship.” Well, in a most unexpected way, this has been done. I’m no longer in that LDR. (More about this briefly in the video.) It was not an easy decision, but it was necessary for my own emotional health and well-being.
Another goal I set for myself was to “start outlining and writing Book II of The Elementalist.” Well, I’ve definitely been making headway with the outlining process on this new project. In fact, I’ve actually been brainstorming ideas for the rest of the novels in this series! Right now, it’s looking like I’ll have five novels total. Granted, this could change later, though for now, five feels like the most natural number for all the ideas I want to explore.
I had a ton of music on my Spotify inspiration playlist (close to 7 hours worth, in fact) and decided to split it up and organize the tracks into more focused playlists for each novel so they have very distinct sounds to them. (These playlists are linked on each title under “Element 7” on my “Fiction” page, by the way.) This has actually helped me come up with more focused concepts for the rest of the novels and is putting me in the mindset of approaching the edits on the first novel in an even more holistic way than I was before, now that I have a better picture of where the broader story is going.
I’ve also written some preliminary blurbs for the other novels (all but the last) as well as given them definitive titles. (Some are rougher and wordier than I’d like, but I’ll continue to hash them out as I get further along with each project.) One is based on the idea of an “Asylum” of the mental variety, another the idea of a “Grand Masquerade,” and yet another on a concept that pops up in every novel before it: the idea of an aether, represented in the final story, “Aetherion.” The playlists I put together are designed to put me in the mindset of each novel. For example, the playlist for “Asylum” has some really dark and creepy sounds, while “The Grand Masquerade” has more of a magical ballroom quality to it.
Of course, all this progress on the “series” has come at the cost of slower editing on the “novel” that started it all.
As much as I’d like to just be done with the thing by now, the delay can’t be helped. If I don’t do this now, then I might not have the opportunity to ensure that Book I properly sets the stage for the rest of the series down the road. (And for the most part, I think it does. It’s just nailing down certain details that will pop up in later novels for further exploration that I’m concerned about.)
Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me. 🙂 What’s happening in your world?