Writing Dark

It’s no secret that I’ve been actively querying THE KILLING TYPE since Spring last year. I still have two partials out in the wide world, but so far, all I’ve received are rejections. They were polite, some had advice to offer, but a handful of things were common: They had trouble connecting to my main character, Charlotte, and the beginning wasn’t working for them.

I’ve already confessed that I’m terrible at beginnings, but something else occurred to me: when I started TKT, I didn’t take the time to get to know Charlotte. I simply ran with my concept. It’s also not my voice.

When I started the first draft, I tried for a 1920’s noir feel. It wasn’t a fit. The story settled into modern-day, and I bashed out a few openings. I got so frustrated writing them that I skipped to the middle and the end, which were more fun. I wanted it to be cool.

I was trying too hard.

I realized the issue wasn’t in the words, but in me. I tried for a light opening; I didn’t let myself go dark, and dark is what I do.

The answer’s been staring at me for weeks, from friends asking advice on making their books creepier to actively taking about brains and autopsy on Twitter.

The opening to The Killing Type is too… commercial. It’s too inauthentic for me. It doesn’t have the edge or the grit I love. My first fifty pages are MUNDANE and that’s not at all who I am!

I needed to sit down with Charlotte and get to know her because I’d rushed into writing this book. I need to stop worrying about how other people will see her and just convey her as she is. I need to not be afraid to embrace the sort of writer I am. I’m a macabre fairy princess, and THE KILLING TYPE is fertile soil for my brand of dark magic.

I see a lot of people worried about writing what will sell instead of writing the story they need to tell. Finding the voice to tell it in is just as important as finding the story. You shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself, outside in the real world or on the page. Charlotte and I are going to get to know each other, and then you’ll all get to know her.

I’m wrapping up THE MORTALITY VICE, slowly. It’s been a whirlwind romance with that one, and I’m going to be heartbroken when it’s done, but it’s time to get back to my first love. I’ll be rewriting my opening pages and giving TKT an overhaul. I’ve got ideas, dark, wicked ideas, and for the first time in months I feel like myself again.

And damn does it feel good.

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2 Comments

Filed under Books, Writing

2 responses to “Writing Dark

  1. Embrace the dark! Now I’m intrigued to see what you’re going to do with the beginning… 🙂
    You’re awesome.

  2. It is often a good thing to embrace dark genres to explore one’s one ever-changing mind. As a literary blogger, I’m open to reading anything, because it teaches us so much about ourselves.

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