Kageyama Shigeo from Mob Psycho 100 debris and such inspired by Akira! Phew, this one was fun to do but it took a while. Hatching is fun. I love this show btw, the fights in the episodes are some of the best animation I’ve seen on tv! I need a season 2!
Gpen and digital tones in my Stillman and Birn Beta Sketchbook
so um my story i think is a bit too depressing, do you have any tips on lightening the mood, or at least making it interesting to read?
Thanks for your question, love! This is something I’ve always feared with my own writing, since I like to handle heavier subject matter. But never fear! I have some ideas to help you soften that depressive edge!
How to Brighten a Dark Story
Comedy — I’m not talking about non-stop gut-busting laughter here, but there’s room in every story for a little humor. Some writers sprinkle humor into their dialogue, sometimes during editing — some writers include sarcasm or levity in their descriptions (or as a natural part of their author’s voice). Some writers designate a character for comedic relief and insert them into heavy scenes… although this has backfired in the past.
Small victories — Even in the darkest of situations, writers have to pull the curtains back and show a little light. This may not be what happens in real life, but it’s part of crafting a successful story — giving readers the hope they need to continue through the story. If you find your plot is consistently sloping downward, this could be the root of your “depressive tone”. Find places to sprinkle small victories for your protagonist — positive relationship development, an advantage over the antagonist, a fun moment away from the plot, etc. Give your readers a “sneak peek” of happiness, so they know that this story won’t be a doom & gloom, Gone-with-the-Wind-esque depressionfest.
Positive characters — Even if your protagonist is a sunshiney personality, when the sh!t really hits the fan, they won’t be able to smile about it. But the good thing is that no matter how dark life gets, there are always people in it who give you a boost — people with a fresh perspective or more reserves of hope, or even people who have no idea what you’re facing and just help distract you from the bad stuff. This is where secondary characters come in handy! Use the supporting cast to counteract all your MC’s pain and suffering with humor, kindness, and maybe their own (simpler) problems to solve.
Lighter subplots — When the plot can’t be lightened up at all, and even your characters can’t put a positive spin on things, it’s time to create a distraction – so break out your romance plots, your new friendships, your awkward encounters, and that one insufferably peppy Character A who makes smoke come out of Character B’s ears every few chapters. Think back to that episode of Friends – the one where Ross and Rachel (SPOILER) are breaking up in a really devastating way, while all their friends are stuck in the bedroom with nothing to eat but organic leg wax. Sure, this is a bit too sunny for some stories, but you get the gist.
Last but not least, the foundation of tone in fiction – the silent killer of happy times and hope and sunshine – dim imagery. The less colorful, unique, or entertaining your scenery is, the more difficult it will be to achieve a lighter mood. Writers crafting a dark story will typically lean toward nighttime scenes and old-fashioned, poor, or ruinous architecture, as well as rainy, wintry, or desolate outdoor environments. If you’re writing a story about a terminally-ill orphan in a war-torn country, living in an old, colorless house, it’s going to be pretty difficult to lighten things up. Try casually brightening the scenery in your descriptions! Even if the whole world is burning, let the reader notice the beautiful red-orange of the sky.
These are just a few ideas, but they’ve always worked well for me :) If you need more help or this doesn’t answer your question, be sure to send me another question. Don’t be shy!
I've been told that I'm creating a magical/enchanted feel with my writing, or a soft and delicate feel. The only problem is that I have no idea how I'm achieving this because it's not technically on purpose. Are there anythings that I might be doing in my writing, or anythings that I could do in order achieve the feel more consciously and intentionally? Thanks!
Thanks for asking, friend! That sounds like a decent problem to have. My writing comes out cold and sterile, so you know…
But if you find that a soft or magical tone doesn’t suit your subject matter, there are a few things you might want to look out for:
long, winding prose – The more descriptive (or adjectivey for some of us cough me) your prose is, the more lazy, lovely, and fantastical it can sound. Make sure that your style suits the situation at hand – i.e. if the scene is intense, keep your sentences short and relevant; if the scene is heavy with context, body language, or conversation, focus on what’s being said and done rather than what’s being felt. This is a good general rule for any writing style.
romanticization – “Magical” stories tend to gloss over gritty details or serious, non-comedic, non-pretty parts of stories. A good example of this is in The Princess Bride; Wesley’s torture scenes (and SPOILER: eventual “mostly-death”) could have been portrayed with heavier emotion from all characters, as well as more violent/frightening torture sequences. But this didn’t fit the tone of the whole story, so it wasn’t portrayed this way.
singular emotions – Fluff fiction (like fairytales, comedies, feel-goods, holiday movies) tends to deal in obvious, simple emotions – the reader typically knows everything the characters are feeling at any given time. This isn’t a requirement for the genre, but it’s certainly a trend.
strong narrative voice – Many people associate fantasy stories with a strong or personified narrator because… it’s just a common fantasy thing. Storybooks are read aloud; Disney movies are often narrated at the beginning and end. So if you have a strong author’s voice (especially if you address the reader personally in the prose) readers may get a “fantasy feel”. This doesn’t have to be restricted to genre, though, so you don’t have to adjust this if you don’t want to! It’s a positive trait in storytelling :)
passive storytelling – The more passive your voice and your characters’ voices/actions are, the less it will feel like a driving, punching story – instead feeling a bit soft and watered-down. I have a poston active storytelling if this is something that concerns you.
There are plenty of other causes of magical or delicate-sounding storytelling, but this is what came to mind. I hope some of this information is of use to you! In the end, though, remember that your voice will always be your voice, and everybody and their grandmother is gonna have an opinion about it. As long as you like it and feel that it fits the story, you don’t have to change a thing. So make sure this is how you feel and not how someone else wants you to feel.
Anyway, I wish you good luck and happy writing! My inbox is always open for more questions in the future :) Good night!