Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Darkness In All Of Us (Thoughts on YA Darkness)

Hello everyone! Recently a fellow blogger, Gray Marie, posted about The Problem with Darkness in YA. If you haven't read it you should go give it a read because she did a great job writing that article. Anyways after reading that article it got me thinking about the element of darkness in YA. So here are my thoughts on the subject.

Where does this Darkness come from?

As we look out into the YA world and ask the question of "where is all this coming from" we have to look in ourselves to answer it. Because the answer is ourselves.
Violence, Drug addiction, Alcoholism, People pleasing, Suicide, They are all actions taken. They can't come into exitance by themselves. They need someone to bring them to life. And we were the ones to bring them to life. The reason they come from us is because of our sin, we as the human race are bent towards wrongdoing. And because of that everyone will struggle with different issues. In the real world or the written one. We all live in a world of darkness, we just all live in different degrees of darkness.

How does that relate to YA?

To construct a written world it has to be based on some form of reality. And yes we all come from different backgrounds, which effects our writing. To one person moving could be the darkest thing that has ever happened to them, but to someone else whose had to live in harder situations that could be considered normal or next to nothing. Each of our experiences in this dark world are different, so naturally we will all come at it from a different angle.  But that is something we have to remember when writing YA, especially if we want to touch the lives of those hurting readers. Darkness is a part of living.
It's what we do that matters.

Is Hope really needed?

The short answer is YES! And if you really want to tell a story about Hope where it shines through with a blinding kind of light, then your story will need the darkness of this world. Like a diamond shines the brightest when it is behind a black backdrop, or the rising sun breaking through the darkness of night. Darkness is needed for hope to shine. The light of the sun isn't all the special when it's mid-day. But in the darkest part of the night, is when the light rays of the sun are the most welcomed.
But the question we are left with is...

Hope in what?

One of the things I hear a lot is that this world needs hope, that our stories need hope. That our stories should inspire hope in it's readers. And the question that I usually want to ask is Hope in what?

Hope in a better future? 
Because everyone's future isn't assured them. Thousands of people die everyday without reaching their goals.

Hope in peace?
 I don't know if anyone looked around recently but peace isn't something we can attain in our human world. There will always be strife.

Hope in the emotion of love? 
Well I think people already know this but emotions change.

Hope in happiness?
Well I got news for you, happiness isn't always right around the corner.

Hope in a better job?
Who is even guarantied a job.

And I don't mean to sound all doom and gloom, but when you take everything to its end you will find out that the things people hope for are things that will never last. Everything on this earth is temporal. And that's why you find so many worldly YA Novels with no hope in them, because even they have come to relies that hope in temporal things will never last.
So one then is left to ask, where does one put their hope in?

The best place to put your hope in

I think it is here where Christian YA can out shine all it's competitors, is that we can offer them a lasting hope. We know that hope in ourselves or for our selfish gains will never bring us true happiness. Which is why almost everyone in the world is unhappy. But we have a hope, a glorious hope that will never fail us, a hope that brings us happiness, peace, fulfillment, joy, and love. And that is because our hope is in Christ. What darker YA novels lack isn't hope, but true hope! Sure you can hope in anything you want but it will never be a true lasting hope. Like Solomon you or your character will relies that in the end hope in anything but Christ is meaningless, because nothing will last or will bring lasting peace.

Final thoughts

So where does that leave us in regards to Darkness in YA Novels? I personally think there should be darker YA Novels that deal with the tuff issues of life. But I also think they need to be clear about where true hope can be found, because in the end if our readers are the ones we are trying to reach then they should know where true hope can be found.

Now that doesn't mean that everything needs to be dark and gritty, in fact I think lighter stories are just as needed. Life isn't as dark as we can sometimes see it as. There are lighter points in life, and lighter times.

I remember as a young teen truly liking the darker characters because they struggled with the same things I did. They where characters I could empathize with. But I also like lighter character because they lived lives I wanted, they were something I could aspired too. 

We do need light in our YA books, darkness is everywhere. But that isn't totally a bad thing either, because in this darkness the Light shines brighter!

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts, opinions, and let me know were I was wrong. 

And until next time, Stay True to the King!


  1. Bravo. And I mean that in all sincerity.
    As I began reading this, I wasn't sure what I'd think because I don't generally like "dark creepy novels" and that's what I assumed you first. But then the Hope. You worded it all very elequantly - the hope in current secular YA is meaningless, but amen that the Christian market could really have their time to shine in this manner.
    And yes, we do need more novels about the darker, tougher things in life, I agree. I love me a good light novel because I do sometimes want to be reminded that life isn't all struggles, but even more so I love the gritty real-to-life novels that show me that my struggles aren't only mine. It's the broken characters that I relate to the strongest, always. And broken gets messy. But the message of Hope - that is gorgeous. So no, I don't mind darkness in writing for many reasons. Just so long as Hope shines brightest.

    Great post!

    1. Thank you Rae! I'm glad you where enjoyed this post, because this subject had been on my mind a lot recently (especially with a character Judas).

  2. This is a huge YES post. I think about this often -- I avoid most YA (especially popular ones) because they have no TRUE hope. They have doom and gloom -- but no home. And yes, life has nitty gritty problems and pain. The difference? God is always there. Fiction should never try to take God out of things. He is the ultimate Savior. We can't win without Him. Same goes for ever 'fluff' stories -- life isn't always fluffy and sometimes, a feel good novel doesn't even have to be mindless to tell a good story...
    And so much YA avoids that. It's sad! Or they toss God in SLIGHTLY but He isn't the focus. That's... just as bad. God doesn't want us to be lukewarm! So, I think when we're called to write stories, we should be doing so to glorify HIM. NOT giving the darkness lead way to succeed and hurt others. Because words can change things. We have to make sure our words are for God.
    Amazing post! *high five* God bless,
    - Ang |

    1. Thank you! *high fives back* Exactly and it's sad when Christian throw it in on the side like it's nothing. There is so much to offer when we write, it's a platform we can use. Thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment!! ^.^

  3. Somehow I missed this post in my feed, but yes, I agree. I actually like to write the nitty gritty as a way to show light and hope in the darkness, but I agree that we need lighter stories as well. Great post!

    (Also, did you get the email with all the blog tour info in it? I just want to make sure.)

    1. Thanks Ivie! And yes I did, I'm just about to look over it, Thank you!

  4. Great blog! I like reading it so much inputs and I can also relate to it.There's a lot of question at the back of our minds that we tend to search for an answer.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by today Peter! First off I want to say thank you for dropping a comment and I hope you enjoy your time here. I'm glade you enjoyed reading the post and I hope to see/read your comments soon on future post!

  5. I love reading your post! I love the fact that you put emphasize on Hope which is really a big word for everyone but as simple as just seeking God in our hearts.

  6. Well said! I've had some very similar thoughts on this subject,and it was just cool to read your post. Hope is oh, so important in novels ... But I also really appreciate reading about a deep struggle or darkness that I can relate to. Real, raw stories where the hope of Christ is so moving, and bright, and beautiful!

  7. I get so much inputs from your post. It inspires mo more in everything I do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  8. Amazing post! I love the truthfulness of your thoughts.

  9. You had a great expression of your thoughts.

  10. Everyone has its own darkness. It's how we handle it and of course with the faith of God.

  11. I don't like darkness, but you express your thoughts clearly.


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