Musing a bit here but back when I got started, late 80’s to early 90’s, the music I listened to was all of a piece (bear with me. I’m going somewhere here). Love songs and ballads, lightweight pop music, that sort of stuff. The fiction I read was mostly, almost entirely, pretty upbeat as well. As one example, I got so bothered, so freaked by the “danger” to the protagonist in the late Harry Harrison’s “The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge” that I nearly dropped the book. I got through it and ended up reading it and the rest of the series, but it was a close thing. I couldn’t really deal with the darker elements of life, not even in fiction and music.
This showed in my own writing. I never really put my characters in jeopardy (EMT was probably the most “risk” I put my characters through at that time). And when I tried, I tended to shy away from expressing it vividly.
The result was rather weak writing. I was able to sell some stuff if I had a clever enough gimmick but that was about it.
More recently, I’ve gained an appreciation for the dark. John Ringo’s books have introduced me to power and gothic/symphonic metal. And that was really a catalyst. The fear, the outright terror for the fate of the characters one is reading, is what makes for powerful fiction. Back when I was in sunshine land I could not have written “Plague Station” (still looking for a few beta readers if anyone’s interested). I had the idea for “Oruk Means Hard Work” years ago but I couldn’t have written it because I couldn’t have written the ending, the way it had to end.
There’s a great line from a movie that was otherwise, IMO, pretty lame: if you want to paint pictures like that, you’ve got to use some dark colors.
Thus ends this musing.
And so let me end with this musical interlude: