Saturday, September 29, 2012

How To Do Dark To Effectively

Something that I'm getting tired of seeing is the dark series that comes so close, but royally botches it. Worse, you have this great series but it doesn't just jump the shark; it gives the shark lasers first. Want to know how to have a dark series and keep it good? Easy...

Avoid angst. Okay, so this why people in general flock these series. I'm not saying that it's necessarily a bad thing, but you do not want your story to literally drip the stuff. It helps to keep a light touch, and keep the emotional turmoil down as much as possible.

Clean things up occasionally. When it comes to noirish tableaus, messy works. However, sometimes it feels as if the way people are dealing with the garbage crisis is to occasionally throw the stuff into the streets. Keep in mind that people don't like living in filth, and that, even if the government completely dies, there will always be some way of keeping the streets clean as long as people are driving on them. If nothing else, keep in mind a great way of showing which areas are under control is to show them with clean streets.

Not everyone has to be a secret agent or vampire. This is probably one of my least favorite cliches. Look at the bond franchise; all things considered, less than a third of the characters are spies, assassins, or even thieves; they are relatively normal people whose skillset Bond needs at the time, or someone who just happens to cross path with Bond. Everyone having the same occupation does not work as well as you would think, and eventually asks the question of what kind of training program a given country has when there are all of these spies.

Ninja suck. Not everyone has to have martial arts training. Or even weapon training. Sometimes all you need to escape trouble is a fast car or a good subway. It just gets annoying when every encounter between two people results in sex, death, or combat, and usually all three. Even if your characters are thousands of years old, it doesn't mean that they all develop combat skills and abilities; someone is bound to realize that being the best researcher and keeping a few envelopes around is sufficient to keep them alive.

The bottom line here is to have some fun, and avoid too many cookie cutter origins. If the only real difference between two characters is their physical characteristics and weapon of choice, it's going to get really boring really quick. Please keep us readers in mind....

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