Tapping into the Darkness

A few days ago I had the realization that I needed to keep my story simple. I had complicated it by adding conversations, character development, history, and description. That’s not to say that those things aren’t important to some extent. But they didn’t need to be where I had put them or as much as I had.

The thing is that I like keeping things short and to the point. I get excited by my economy of words. I feel a rush as the story moves quickly. And, with that, it makes writing feel more like a passion than a chore.

But yesterday I had another realization about my passion for writing. It involves tapping into the darkness.

“The darkness” is an expression my friend used to describe the thoughts that are in me – the thoughts that come out while I write. It’s an apt description. Most of my stories are dark and disturbed. Bad things happen.

Of course, good things happen too. I’d like to think that overall my stories have positive messages. But that positivity comes only after the characters are put through some difficult situations.

And those difficult situations come from the darkness. My darkness.

I haven’t done that with The King’s Son. Well, I shouldn’t say I haven’t done it. I did do it in the original manuscript. But somewhere along the way, it changed. I lost it. It became more of an editor’s piece (or something I thought was “better” writing) than a story that spoke to me. Or spoke from me.

So in my next (and hopefully final) edit, I plan to go back and tap into that place within me from which the story was born. I want to write it in a way that thrills me. Even if, at the same time, it makes me feel uncomfortable.

Ultimately, I need to be true to my story and true to myself. And go forward with it that way.

I’ll add here that that hasn’t been the easiest of things to accept about my writing. It’s difficult sometimes to admit that I have a mind more like Stephen King than any other author. Especially since I was a kindergarten and grade school ESL teacher.

But I’ll save talking about that for another time.



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