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Question: How dark is too dark?

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message 1: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Taxer (orionangel) | 18 comments Mod
I've been asking this question of fellow writers a lot lately, but at what point do your dark themes get too dark for an audience to handle?

I understand the need to include some form of humor, even if one's darkest work, but I am terrible at humor as a writer. Is there some sort of super special secret talking cockatoo I can include in my writing to crack jokes at the expense of bad people?


message 2: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Rivener (siygrah) | 3 comments I'm not sure I can help with darkness parameters...but I find that humor can often be added in the form of what I like to call "miss a step" humor.
When a character takes themselves very seriously, have them commit a faux pas (obvious enough that the reader will pick up on it, subtle enough that it doesn't make the character seem absolutely lame and stupid from that page on).
When a character is a total dumbass, have them say/do something unwittingly clever (the character in question doesn't ever figure out why it's clever, he/she/it's too stupid).
Break the romance of a section with a superiorly humdrum moment. Dude...just watch Spider-Man Homecoming. The movie is basically made up of moments like these (and that's why I super love it).

message 3: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Taxer (orionangel) | 18 comments Mod
Ah, right, of course. I seem to remember us discussing the need for a Spider Man Homecoming viewing.

I ask because I'm looking into very dark themes for my current WiP, and I'm concerned that the book will be too grim with little to no hopefulness. Kind of hoping that the strength of my characters will buoy it.

message 4: by S.L. (new)

S.L. Baron | 6 comments I'm not sure if this will be helpful, but I usually think of the mildly inappropriate people I've known during my life and think about they would say or do in such situations. I had one character in my WIP make a sexual comment while another was mentally and physically torturing a terrorist. He has a bit of an unrefined personality compared to the rest and seems to throw the humor in at the darkest moments.

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