SHANNON MUIR’S THURSDAY THOUGHTS on THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF are weekly observations from the site administrator on her writing life, or the industry at large. Anything Shannon Muir thinks about goes – check the blog every Thursday!

Quite a few mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and even some science fiction and fantasy tread into dark places. Sometimes it is literally dark and gloomy locations. Other times, the topics and themes are far less than bright and cheery. Yet, it’s very much a part of storytelling to look at all aspects of existence (usually the human condition, but in the cases of science fiction and fantasy, possibly an non-human society is being explored).

As a writer, it’s tough to look at this and not be concerned about how readers are affected. After all, a big part of effective writing is how one connects with someone taking in the world created on the pages. Today, there’s lots of talks of how topics can be “triggers” for people, and I certainly don’t disrespect that in any way. Yet, I struggle with self-censoring so as not to offend anyone… but also aware that too much writing around things may not tell a story genuine enough to be connected with.

It’s a tough call, and a difficult decision, especially knowing how the creative arts – not just words, but painted art and music and all sorts of other things – can affect people. There’s no easy answers. After some struggling, I’ve come to decide that I ultimately have to do what’s best for the story to come out as strong as it can, and hope whatever I do can make a positive difference if I end up exploring dark themes or situations.

Until next time…