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Is There Something Wrong With Authors Who Write Dark Scenes in Novels?

Hello all,

I hope you're doing well. I recently received an email from a reader who finished my latest novel, PAWN OF THE GODS. He seemed quite upset about how dark it was in places, and even implied that only a bad person could come up with some of the scenes in my story. So, let's set aside the fact that it's listed under the Dark Fantasy section on Amazon, and disturbing scenes should not be a surprise in this genre; I tried not to take the accusation personally. This reader didn't know me and his opinions were based solely on conjecture. However, it got me to thinking about how many other people might have similar thoughts when reading a novel. I decided to briefly explain my process when writing dark and disturbing scenes.

As an author who tries to write authentic characters, I'm often forced to consider what would go through their minds, particularly in the case of a villain. Then,I put that character's thoughts into action. If I were writing about a serial killer, I might focus my research on past crimes and learn all I could about the murderers. Then I would create a character who was a composite of them. I'd probably include a stalking scene where the character justified his reasons for being a nut job.  I might have him/her brutally kill someone, then show them smiling and whistling as they chopped up the body. Or maybe I'd go the opposite direction and make the character remorseful, depending on the situation. If I were writing about a racist, I might include a couple of expletives in his/her speech, because that's what I would expect from such a person. Anything outside of these realities would lack authenticity, IMO. Does this make ME a bad person? No, I'm merely tapping into a character's mind, just as an actor must do.

This said, I wonder if other authors had similar experiences. Are there any readers out there who want to chime in about their views on dark scenes? I'd welcome your feedback.



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