How Far is Too Far When Straying Into The Dark Side?

What will people think of me?

Will I get arrested?

Will I lose my readers?

Will I gain the wrong attention?

And, more importantly, will I go so far that I even scare myself?

I ponder these because there are people out there who, in my view, have crossed the line between horror and all out revulsion; The Human Centipede springs to mind. Films and stories such as these are not created to instil fear (or, if they are, they need a few lessons!!!); they are created for the shock factor alone. These people are completely missing the point on what the horror genre is all about. Shock, disgust and revulsion do not make good horror.

‘But, there are people out there who do things like this,’ I hear you cry. This may well be the case and these are sick and depraved individuals, but that doesn’t mean it makes good horror.

So, how dark should I allow myself to go then? You might be wondering why I’m asking this. Well, my short story ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’, which is the darkest thing I’ve published in novel form, has been getting rave reviews and many requests to make it into a full length novel. To do this would mean touching on a very dark and very real subject – rape – as this is the motivation for my serial killer. It is also a very harrowing and sensitive subject.

I have also written darker stories, which I haven’t published as yet (plan is for a collection of very dark short stories), which touch upon similar horrific yet sensitive topics.

In Bonds Re-Bound – the third in the Bonds series – rape will feature as it is one of the calling cards of my villain; yet I am nervous. How will it be received?

I have given you a taste of the darkness that lurks in the recesses of my mind, dear reader, on the journey I have taken you on through the dungeons of my mind; a journey I will be resuming in due course. Behind each door you dared open, you experienced a different level of darkness and you came back for more. This fills me with confidence.

How dark to go therefore, I feel, depends on its relevance to the story. It goes hand in hand with suspension of disbelief. If I can create a believable world for you, dear reader, in which the darkness I then write about is perfectly feasible in this world, then you will stay with me for the ride; the darkness not being an issue, except for how scared I make you, of course!

I believe that’s the key, dear reader; a believable world with a feasible story within it. The only dilemma then is the right balance of terror and horror – is it two lumps or terror and one of horror, or the other way around? Well, that all depends on the effect I wish to have on you now, doesn’t it?

May fear protect you when the darkness comes.

‘Til next time.