Dare to go dark.
When I say that, what I mean is, dare to go into the darkest parts of the human soul. Dig up the hard to deal with topics. Let the character experience their darkest moment.
What do I mean by letting the character have a dark moment? A dark moment is the point where the character hits rock bottom. It is when the crap hits the fan, and the character has nothing else to lose.
Now, I don’t use this technique in every book I write. Some books are lighter reads than others. So I wouldn’t say this applies to every story. But there are probably going to be some stories you’ll write that will lend themselves to exploring the darker side of the human experience.
We’ve all been to the point at some time in our lives where we are down in the pit of despair. Nothing seems to go right. We feel as if everyone and everything is against us. We feel as if we’re all alone. No matter how much we try to explain our pain to others, they really don’t get it. Worse, it feels as if they don’t care. If you’ve ever felt this way, then this is the feeling you need to tap into when you give your character their dark moment.
Letting your character go through this can be a painful experience. (It’s hard to watch our creation suffer.) But sometimes it’s exactly what the book needs. I fought a certain plot point for years because it was so dark. I hated putting my character through it. I tried to write the book in other ways to spare my character the level of that much pain. But each time I did it, the book fell flat. I hit a wall where I couldn’t go further into the story. No amount of forcing things to go my way was going to work. Finally, I gave up and gave the character the dark moment. And it worked. All at once, the story fell into place, and I was able to finish it.
Sometimes you just have to go through the deep valley with your character. So instead of fighting it, embrace it. Let the worst case scenario happen and see how things evolve from there. The results just might surprise you, as it did me. I honestly think the book I mentioned above is one of my best works.
And remember, just because you have a dark moment in your book, it doesn’t mean there can’t be a happy ending. Sometimes the ending is that much better after the character overcomes the darkness.