My excitement with this novel has yet to wear off. I’m currently editing the fifth draft, preparing it for my test-readers.
Two Kinds of Darkness began as a tiny idea that struck me two and a half years ago. It was a question that came to me while sitting on a sofa during a young writers’ group and staring at a blue wall. The question was this: “What if someone could only see the color blue?”
Thinking about this question now, my answer is: “They’d be a dog.” Apparently, dogs aren’t completely colorblind and see purple things as blue (let’s forget about their ability to see yellowish things).
Anyway, the question led to a very short piece of writing with a main character named Dom near a run-down, small British neighborhood, who meets a red-haired, blue-eyed girl with an oversized rain jacket and bare feet. That was the entirety of the story for one and a half years.
Then NaNoWriMo came along and I decided to turn it into a novel. That last sentence is rather deceptive. By ‘it’ I mean the original idea after it sat in my radioactive novel idea chamber for eighteen months. Let’s just say only ‘barefoot girl’ survived intact (her eyes did fade to an ironic grey, though).
Two Kinds of Darkness was pretty much the first dystopian novel I had ever read/written (I’m not counting the Hunger Games because in my mind it is more of a fantastical dystopian rather than the more easily recognizable 1984, City of Truth kind). I’m not really sure where it came from. A lot of it just seemed to appear.
At the time my family and I were visiting relatives in the US, which involved a lot of driving through the Sonoran Desert. I think the desert helped give my novel its mood– the vastness of the city, the bright sunlight, the desert-like wasteland at the edges of the city.
It’s a story about equality and fairness, which is an ever-present issue in our society. But Two Kinds of Darkness wanted it differently–its inequality is visible, and it’s about who’s bad and who’s good.
I wanted simplicity when I was writing it. I wanted a complete character arc in twenty-four hours. I wanted first-person present tense.
For once, my story conformed… in an interesting way. Its simplicity was only a front; it had layers. The more I wrote, the more it resolved itself into something that made sense. In my experience, novels are rarely this considerate.
I have always wanted to write something with meaning. My first novel, Aza, is a fun story (or so I’ve been told– I haven’t been brave enough to properly read it), but it doesn’t hit you in the gut like The Fault in Our Stars. It doesn’t make you question just how unfair life can be like The Book Thief. It’s just an entertaining adventure-fantasy.
A goal of mine is to create a story that means something to somebody. I want at least one reader to love my characters even more than I do. I want my idea to inspire something, somewhere.
I think that, maybe, Two Kinds of Darkness comes a little bit close to that. But I suppose I’ll have to wait for my readers to tell me.
Two Kinds of Darkness synopsis:
Two halves of a city. Two lives. Two Kinds of Darkness.
Tavis Kimberton lives with his parents in the ‘good’ half of a towering city. He frequently wonders about the people one hundred feet below him and what criminal acts they committed to get sent down there. But he doesn’t think too deeply about it until he meets Suza. This girl from the darkness tries to help him find his way home as security between the two halves of the city increases. Tavis discovers he has a choice, but how can he make the right decision when he no longer knows who to believe?