Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dark vs Light

It's a simple fact that you usually write what you like to read. I love reading YA, and I love writing it. BUT, I also love romantic women's fiction. (I think that's what it is... lol) I read a lot of Marcia Lynn McClure books. They're romantic, have great kissing scenes, have happy endings and are very clean. Whenever I'm having a bad week and can't concentrate on writing for anything, I pick up a Marcia Lynn McClure book and usually read it in a day or two. Sure they're cheesy, but they make me feel so happy and light when I'm finished reading. And Ms. McClure writes a sexy hero. That makes things even better. ;)

It's not really a secret that I prefer lighter books over darker ones. I like feeling uplifted and hopeful after I finish a book. When I read something particularly dark, I tend to feel that way as well. It sort of brings me down. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with darker books, I just tend to avoid them. I'll take a sweet book that makes me laugh over touchy subjects any day. BUT, if it's a touchy subject with humor mixed into it, then that's even better.

The Hunger Games is one of my favorite series. They were dark, but I felt hope when all was said and done. I won't go into Mockingjay, because that's a WHOLE other blog post, but I really enjoyed that series. Every book has to have some darkness. Whether it's the world in general, a bully, parents that don't care about their teens, divorce, neglect, breakups, whatever. There is always a dark spot in our characters lives. But something should outshine that dark spot and lift our character up with just enough hope that they know they'll be alright. 

One of the reasons I prefer lighter books, is because I read to escape the dark. To get away from all the problems and sadness in the world. And that's okay. Not every book is for me. Just like not every book is for you. We all have our different tastes and different preferences on what to read or write. Just like we have a favorite ice cream or candy bar. If you put a Snickers or an Almond Joy in front of me, I would ALWAYS choose the Almond Joy. They're both great, but I prefer Almond Joy's a little more. ;)

What do you guys prefer? Dark or Light? Sad endings or endings with just a little bit of hope?

33 comments:

Cristina said...

I tend to prefer dark, as long as it's not based in real life/events. Like for example, I just started reading Sarah's Key and though I've read it's a great book, and it is fiction because the characters are made up... it's based on true events related to the Holocaust.

I'm having a hard time mustering up the motivation to continue because I keep thinking that real people went through some the awful things the book describes. And it pains me too much to read this as entertainment. Does that make sense?

whereas say the Hunger Games, yes it's dark, kids are made to kill each other.... but it's made up. There is no arena out there. At least not that I'm aware of :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Cristina: That makes TOTAL sense. I tend to avoid those as well. :)

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I've often thought about this. I am a light girl, as well. I don't mind having some darkness and difficulty in a story, as long as there's a hope for a happy ending. The books that I remember best are the ones that take a journey through the dark and end with everything worked out and in light places.

Shallee said...

I love to both read and write books that deal with complicated issues-- ones that would probably be considered a little dark-- but that end with hope. Not necessarily "happy endings," but ones that help me remember no matter how dark the world is, there is always light somewhere.

Of course, I also enjoy a lot of light, fun books too. It's nice to read ones that are just an escape.

J. A. Bennett said...

I'm a light person as well. I've thought about this before but I wasn't sure how to put my thoughts to paper. You have expressed it perfectly. Great post!

Angela Felsted said...

I enjoy reading both kinds of books, but what I prefer on a given day has a lot to do with my mood.

To escape, yes, I totally go for lighter stuff. So I understand where you're coming from.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I go for light! The dark stuff has an allure, but after a while, I'm like you. I get kind of depressed. I like to laugh, and feel hopeful at the end of a book. I find I write the same way, and I've wondered if it's too fluff. I can't really change it now, and I'm not sure I want to! I just hope there's a market for it!

Jessie Humphries said...

Dark, but that's probably because I am really an evil person inside...mwah ahaha!

Amanda Olivieri said...

I usually prefer darker books, but I like the ones tinged with light and hope. I love a good light book too, though :)

Cortney Pearson said...

I like 'em both, actually! But I'm like you, I prefer to feel a little uplifted after the dark-ness. If that makes sense. :)

Ruth Josse said...

I think I go through phases. I've read a lot of "dark" or intense books lately and while I enjoy them - for the love I need to pick up something light! I'm going to check out Ms. McClure. :)

S.P. Bowers said...

Overall I think I tend towards light, but dark doesn't bother me as long as it's realistic and fits the story. I'll admit I like to see a glimmer of hope in the dark. I don't like to just wallow in dark. I couldn't finish Clockwork Orange.

Tobi Summers said...

Probably 9 times out of 10, I prefer light. A dark book has to be really well written for me to enjoy it. I think my TV habits reflect that too, actually. Because even though I watch a lot of crime shows, most are like Castle or NCIS, which are mostly light-hearted, even though they're about murders. But then that 10th show would be Criminal Minds, which is dark, but so well done that I can't help but love it.

Jenny S. Morris said...

I like a mix. To much light and I feel like my brain isn't having to think about real issues and the real world. To much dark and I get depressed. So I'll take a Mounds please. ;0)

prerna pickett said...

I prefer light to dark, but every so often I want to read something without a happily ever after, if only to expand my selection. And cheesy romantic books are my guilty pleasure.

Carol Riggs said...

I think I prefer light over darker too--it depends on HOW dark the books get. Sometimes the dark can make the light in the books seem all that more brilliant. :)

Stacy Henrie said...

I've read one Marcia Lynn McClure and yes there's good kissing. :) I like lighter stuff much better than dark - for the same reason. I want to feel uplifted after I finish a book.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I prefer light. The world is dark enough. I want to read to escape.

The only exception is H.P. Lovecraft. For some reason, I love his horror stories.

Angela Brown said...

I tend towards dark. I wish I had an explanation, but I don't, now that I actually am thinking about. But I don't mind a little glimmer of hope at the end.

Stephanie McGee said...

I don't care if it's dark or light as long as there is hope/happiness at the end. I can't read dystopian for that very reason, the lack of any sort of hope or happiness when you reach that last page.

Madeline Jane said...

I definitely love sad bookswith bits of hope. They just seem so realistic, and like you said, uplifting. Not everyone is going to get what they want, but good things happen to those who deserve it. :) I feel like as writers its our job to make readers feel like good things still happen.

Rachel said...

Chantele, I am first hoping you got my e-mail. You don't need to respond-I just wanted to make sure it went through :-)

Secondly- I love both light and dark. I love light books, like Sarah Dessen's and I love (light) historical fiction like Philippa Gregory. However, I seem to write only dark. I've been writing "dark" things since I was 9! I recently found all of my old writing from when I was little -- my mom saves everything!!! -- and all of my writings dealt with serious topics. I am a really happy person but I honestly think I get out my frustrations/anger through my writing, therefore producing dark, twisted short stories/poems/novels etc.

erica and christy said...

I read both, but it goes in streaks and on any given day, I would prefer light over dark. I will definitely be checking out Marcia Lynn McClure, thanks for the heads-up!
erica

Kelley said...

I prefer dark books, BUT I like stories with at least a somewhat happy ending :)

Samantha said...

I like dark books if they kind of mess with my mind. But I'm always game for a happy ending :)

Angela Cothran said...

I tend toward Light with a little Dark thrown in for contrast. I'm an "eventual" happy ending girl. But I will put my characters through A LOT to earn it :)

Kyra Lennon said...

I prefer light too. I don't mind reading dark books, but I definitely favour happiness!

elizabeth seckman said...

I prefer to mix it up in the light too. I thoroughly enjoy a happy ending. And since my genre in contemporary women's fiction/romance I say don't be ashamed...buy more of them!
It's verbal chocolate for the brain!

Sarah Pearson said...

I read both, but I definitely find my mood affected by a well written book of either type.

Meredith said...

Lighter books tend to draw me in more, too. I love feeling uplifted and happy after reading a good book, even if it's a little cheesy. :)

Christine Rains said...

I like the dark books, but always with a bit of hope. If everything is dark, then there really seems no point. I like the conflict and the struggle. Sad endings only if they feel natural to the story.

Nicole said...

I love books where the characters overcome in the end...so, I guess that means I'm okay with dark as long as the ending is happy. :)

It honestly depends a lot on the story itself and whether I feel like the characters believably move toward light or dark. GRRM got a little too dark for me, because I lost confidence that there'd be hope in the end.

Mockingjay...yeah...

David P. King said...

It all depends on the mood I'm in. I like dark, but not too dark. Usually. My books typically have no content beyond PG-13, but I've been known to ride the line at times. :)