I’ve read two Thomas Hardy novels in the past few months: The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the D’Ubervilles. I have to say, I love Hardy’s use of language—his descriptions, his metaphors, his way of describing a look or a feeling. Absolutely lovely!
But the stories themselves can be a bit depressing. Not in an “all is woe” kind of a way, but because one of the major characters usually comes to a point where he/she has to make a decision about how to respond to a person or circumstance. In both books, I grieved the character choosing to respond in a self-serving way. The decision always resulted in disaster, whether for that character or for another character.
I can deal with these kinds of “darker” stories because the entire they show s a visible, tangible picture of what kinds of things can happen when you make decisions based on emotion or selfishness or a desire to conceal the truth (all of which could be argued to be the same thing!)
These are the kinds of stories I take my inspiration from, the kind of stories I want to write—although I’d like to show the effects of good decisions, too. I want my stories to make people think, consider, change. And I want them to stand the test of time.
Impossible? Probably. But a worthy goal, I think.