Please welcome Alina Popescu with an interesting guest post and a giveaway!
The Challenge of Writing Darker Stories
I am the type of person that wants everyone to survive, be happy, and get on with their lives at the end of every story. It does not matter if it’s a book, movie, or TV series. On the other hand, I am the first to admit that the weirder, the darker, the more tragic stories also fascinate me. Often times, they are the ones that stay with you longer, making you wonder, question, try to find solutions that lead to a better outcome. It’s said a lot more elegantly and simpler at the end of my favorite anime series ever, Cowboy Beebop: You’re going to carry that weight… Because there is a weight on your mind and soul when you reach the end of such a story. And while you try to make sense of it, you end up carrying it with you.
My desire to fix it all, make it better, does not only apply to other people’s stories. It applies to mine too. I have trouble killing off characters (even if they are not mains), I have trouble with characters going down darker paths, and at the same time, I love exploring those shadows through them. I think it works even better when you connect with a character, they are likeable, and then you have to watch them turn darker.
Despite my great love for such stories, I find it harder to write them. They affect me and my mood, and sometimes I get stuck because I try to force them to survive, or go a different way. As writers, we know that if we’ve put the work into building your character a certain way, and did a good job of outlining your story, trying to force either on a different path is a losing battle.
My first, go-to option with stories like these is to take a break when I feel I can’t go on. My latest gay fiction novella, Angel’s Feather, took me about two years to write. That’s a long time for a 36,000+ story! The reason why this happened was that the second part, the descent into darkness, was tough to write. So whenever it got overwhelming, I stepped back and wrote something else.
Whenever I could cope with my main character’s shadowy existence, I went back and wrote some more. Eventually, that failed too. If you work on more projects, why would you volunteer to write the dark ones? We are still talking about me, mind you, so super fluffy, no angst, no issues to overcome is not exactly my style. But dark isn’t either. Or wasn’t, until Angel’s Feather.
The other solution I came up with was to schedule Angel’s Feather for drafting, editing, and publishing. It had to be done by a certain date. That structure kept me from running away from it, and when I wrote the end I was thrilled. The first thing I wanted to do? Not deal with the re-reads and edits! Of course, I wanted to take a break, and the schedule saved me again.
In the end, I was happy I pushed myself to finish this story—well, the first part, this looks like it’s going to be at least a trilogy. I think I managed to keep it dark but steer away from total tragedy, and thus limit the number of people who will want to throw their kindles away.
If you’re an author, how do you cope with writing darker fiction? And if you’re (also) a reader, do you enjoy the heavier, darker tales? Why is that? I’d love to hear from you!
Angel’s Feather Synopsis
Flyer Chronicles, Book One
How far would you go for the one you love? How much of yourself would you sacrifice?
Trapped on a decaying Earth and cut off from the rest of the Universe, humans are no longer allowed to leave their planet. Break this one law and you die: a penalty enforced by flyers, aliens who look like angels of long-lost religions. Michael, the flyers’ leader, is the Punisher who carries out every public execution.
Adam, a young human with near-perfect memory, is committed to rebuilding Earth and a true believer in the flyers’ dominion. While Adam’s support for flyers isn’t a secret, his deep love for Michael is. Not even Michael knows, for his kind never take human lovers, and to Adam, they are too far above him to reach.
In his broken and unwelcoming world, Adam’s love can only lead to pain, loss, and disaster. Yet there is no force in the huge expanse of stars and galaxies that can stop Adam from following Michael to the end of existence. Not even Adam’s own beliefs.
Angel’s Feather is free to read with Kindle Unlimited subscriptions.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y6BWX9V
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06Y6BWX9V
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06Y6BWX9V
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B06Y6BWX9V
Prizes: $10 Amazon Gift Card; 3 x ebook copy of science fiction short story Craving Stains.
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About the author
Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.
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