Monday, November 26, 2012

Playing From The Edge – Finding Inspiration For The Darkest Writing

When people ask what I write, I tell them edgy YA fiction. Their eyes bug a little and then narrow as they try to figure out what that means. After I explain that edgy pertains to deep, dark subject matter, they usually ask why I write this way and where my ideas come from. Sometimes it’s easy to find ideas and inspiration for my stories. It’s like plucking peaches off a tree that’s full of orange, fuzzy globes. If only it could always be this simple — I don’t expect it to be when I need inspiration for the edgy stories I tell.

Writing from the edge is a little like sitting across from a psychologist or another intimidating figure. They draw some of the most scary things out of my soul… ideas that I never gave a thought to surface and demand consideration. They simply must become real or else my story — and me — will suffer the boring slumber that oftentimes puts fiction into the category of dull. Life is best lived, in my opinion, when we are broken open. Edgy fiction is no different.

Of course, research can bring a multitude of ideas and inspirations to edgy writing. Who doesn’t love sitting in the library, devouring texts that beget other texts that provide clues for your work. Even better, the Internet allows a writer like me to discover the darkest, most seedy offerings to breathe reality into my stories. But the best inspiration comes when I look into my own hidden beliefs, feelings and experiences. In this, I play from the edge and it makes for a very nice story.

Not everyone has the dark stories to pull from… hence the option to research your subject matter online or at the library. You may also interview people who have been there and done that with your topic of choice. In fact, I recommend doing this so as to bring reality into your tale. This brings me back, though, to just how accurate your dark, edgy writing can be when it comes from your own heart.
Even though I am far from being a teenager, I still look upon the dark moments of adolescence for my material.  I also pursue other avenues as an adult that bring me closer to that edge, finding that this allows me to keep the spirit of edginess alive and well in my life and in my work.

Image by Horia Varlan


  1. i think people forget that being a teenager isn't all rainbows and butterflies, it's hard and at times can suck. You're discovering who you are, who the really important people are in your life, and it can get dark. I appreciate any story that delves into the challenges of teens and doesn't apologize for being honest.