Simon Wood

Shelf Life: Going Dark

A revised version of ASKING FOR TROUBLE will be coming out at the end of the year. Working with the editors on it, a comment came back that a couple of the stories in the collection were too dark and they wanted to switch them out for something a little less disturbing. It wasn’t that they particularly violent, but that tone made the editor squirm. I understood their feeling and the upshot was that we replaced one of the stories and kept the other.

But let’s back up for moment. Tone is an interesting thing for me. I don’t think I write particularly dark. I will say I’ll broach subjects and explore our baser instincts, but I’m mindful not to make my stories too bleak. I want everyone to see a chink of daylight, even me. I don’t want to depress the reader or turn them off. However, I am drawn to the dark side (not in a Darth Vader kind of a way) but I’m fascinated by the idea of giving in to our whims and falling prey to our weaknesses—and that can get pretty ugly. And regardless of how scary and unlikable that is to me and the reader, I hope the reader will follow the characters down their dark path.

I know that my works gets classed as noir sometimes, but I don’t feel I’ve written anything noirish. While many of my books feature characters in desperate positions, I think the books are pretty lighthearted…kind of. 🙂

I suppose I’m saying you haven’t seen anything yet. I’ve yet to write something truly dark. That’s not to say I don’t have it in me. I know I have stories in me that people will find very uncomfortable. Again, dark doesn’t equate to violence. It’s all about the soul of a story and its subject matter. The bigger question here is will people read it. Is there an audience for it? I know we read for entertainment, but would you something that makes you shift in your sit from time to time? I know I would, but how about you? The path is there in front of you, won’t you join me.

2 Responses to “Shelf Life: Going Dark”

  1. Gloworm

    Simon, I think you need to go there. You are compelled to and, as a writer, you must. Will there be a readership for it? Of course, there’s a reader for every story. Will it be commercially viable? Who knows, but is it really so different from what you’ve written before, or do you just want to take your writing a step farther? Your publisher probably doesn’t want to rock the boat of your success, but, hey, I think you should go for it. You’re a writer.

    • Simon Wood


      I think the risk is lessened if it came out electronically first. Prove there’s a readership and they’ll go for it.

      Stories have to be told regardless of what they are. 🙂


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>