What Darkness Defines You?

My question originally was what defines me, then I realized that to make people think a little, it might be interesting to challenge my readers a bit.

I held a workshop a few years back in which I challenged the writers who attended to begin happinesstheir story with the defining moment in their lives. This produced some fascinating

tales because it forced them to dig deep into their psyche and learn something about themselves. One man wrote that having a heart attack was the defining moment in his life. He was fairly young, so this was understandable. The story he wrote was so touching he had us in tears. Happy tears.

Bleeding heart

Bleeding heart

Some of the most famous and well-liked writers today tell young writers the same thing. You have to bleed. You have to dig down deep into the darkness of your soul and spew forth the words that will form characters and stories everyone will enjoy and be amazed by.

Writers create in a couple of ways. Either they spend days, weeks, months plotting and making cards and cutting out photos to post in a montage that in front of them while they chew their pen flat, moan and groan and write down a few words here and there;

The rest of us listen to the voices clamoring about in our heads, choose one or two and sit down and begin to write, letting those people stumble about making dumb mistakes, falling over road blocks and living their life out on paper.

Some of those people come to us with dreadful flaws, some think they’re perfect when they’re only boring, some are destructive and ugly brained (they become the villains) and still others are searching for something to believe in, someone to love who will love them back, a reason for getting up in the morning. That’s what I like, stories of love in all its many facets. Set in the historical west or in a vintage or contemporary era with down and dirty plots. Thus my brand, sexy, dark and gritty.

I recently finished the umpteenth draft of a novel that drives me to tears every time I read it. Lots of readers tell me they read to be made happy, but others want to see how someone overcomes tragedy to lead a fruitful life. How they dig down deep and find the courage to go on when all seems lost. And mostly how love can help them through the worst of times.

Beyond The Moon is that kind of book. In spite of the most awful of circumstances, of life handing them challenges most would not survive, Glen and Katie’s bond of love helps them stand up to some of life’s worst occurrences. Together they are knocked down and get back up so many times one wonders where they find the courage to go on. No spoilers here, I’ll let you read the book to find out what finally happens to them.

I can only say that this book was ripped from my heart and soul, dug out of the darkness that lurks deep down in all of us. You know, the darkness we keep tamped down as we go through our ordinary days? The one that faith overpowers daily for us? Oh, you don’t possess that darkness?

Yes, you do. If you are a human being. You just haven’t let it out to play yet.

Free the darkness

Free the darkness

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
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2 Responses to What Darkness Defines You?

  1. Thanks, Velda. I’d been struggling to find the beginning of a story I’m working on, and your suggestion did the trick!

  2. Madison, glad this helped you. It’s a great idea I’ve passed around for a while. Not sure where it originally came from. Probably that old quote, advising writers: “all you have to do is sit down at the typewriter and cut an artery.” And that’s not precisely the quote. Guess I ought to find it so I can quote it properly and find out who said it.

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