So, on the sidebar here, my stories are described as "dark-edged." What does that mean? Horror? Occult? Grimdark (that is, life sucks, the bad guys win, and everyone else dies)?
Nope, that's not it. I like romance, happy endings, and fluffy rainbow bunnies (aren't they cute?) as much as, or maybe even more than, anyone else. But, as a scripture says, "It must needs be that there is an opposition in all things." How can you fully appreciate joy if you've never felt sorrow, or safety if you've never been in danger? Good unopposed by evil loses its significance, and life in the face of death is more precious and meaningful. Nobility and selflessness in the face of evil and greed mean more; love, honor, and integrity are at war with lust, deviousness, and expediency, and prove in the end, sometimes after a long struggle, to be more rewarding.
So I place the characters in my books in situations where they have to face the darkness, both in the world and within themselves, and make difficult choices. Death, loss, betrayal, madness, pain, hardship, hatred, abuse, deprivation, sorrow, and temptation are all things they have to deal with. Sometimes they make the right choices for the wrong reasons, sometimes they make the wrong choices for the right reasons, sometimes they make the right choices for the right reasons even though it's hard and things still don't work out, and, in the face of pain, loss, discouragement, despair, and temptation, they have to reaffirm their commitment to what they believe is right.
Don't despair, though; like I said, I love happy endings. Or at least, hopeful-for-now endings. And those endings are more satisfying when the characters have earned them. They are forced to learn and grow and discover what kind of men and women they really are and can be; they pass through the fire and come out stronger and better. The darker the tunnel, the brighter the light at the end of it.
(Image credit: Expell-HUN, stock.xchang)