Angsty Angst

I read in many genres, but one thing that stays consistent throughout all the genres I read is that I like there to be many, many dark moments.

I like it when I read something and I get that scared whoosh in the pit of my stomach as one of the book’s characters does or says something that moves them irrevocably towards a terrible end (although it’s not irrevocable, is it, since this is a romance, and we have an HEA. But at that moment it seems irrevocable).

I think that’s why I like Mary Balogh so much; her dark moments are so agonizingly painful for one or both of the characters. It’s too easy, as a writer, to want to keep things easy for your characters; after all, you created them, you like them, and they feel like friends (not to be all woo-woo, but that’s how I feel, at least).

But as writers, we have to make things difficult, or the ultimate payoff won’t be as sweet.
Some of my favorite authors–Anne Stuart, Stacia Kane, Karen Marie Moning, George R.R. Martin (still waiting for the payoff there), our own Carolyn Jewel, Brent Weeks–are amazing at tearing their characters apart as they try to reach some form of happiness.

Do you like the superdark moments in books? Which authors do it the best?


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10 years ago

Just like I like humor in a book, I like those dark moments that reach in and squeeze your heart. Yes they will get their HEA, but making them work for it doesn’t hurt and as you said, makes it all the more sweet.
It is too late and I am too tired to think of much specific as far as authors and books are concerned. The one that did come to mind was Kat Martin. I still remember the first two books of hers that I read. I have gone back over the years to reread certain scenes because they were so good. Every one of those scenes are the dark moments in the stories. Those dark moments help the characters grow, some just take longer than others.

Elena Greene
10 years ago

I love it when authors do the dark moments well. I second the authors on your list and I’d add Laura Kinsale.

OTOH I don’t need those super dark moments to enjoy a read. Georgette Heyer and Jennifer Crusie do fine without them.

It really depends what I’m in the mood to read (or write, for that matter).