Am I a ‘dark’ or ‘light’ crime-writer? ‘Hard’ or ‘soft’?

I have written previously about the division of crime-writers into those who write ‘whodunits’ and those who write thrillers.  Well, I have heard that, for some people, the important distinction is between a ‘dark’, also called ‘hard’, and ‘light’ or a ‘soft’ crime-writer.

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What does it all mean?

  • ‘Dark’ or ‘hard’ novels contain a explicit, detailed descriptions of violence and a sense of looming, possibly supernatural, evil.
  • ‘Light’ or ‘soft’ novels tend to include more humour and have a more cheerful atmosphere.

Which do I prefer?

  • As I said about the distinction between the ‘whodunit’ and the thriller, I think you can be overanalytical.  There is a spectrum.  I tend to prefer those novels at the lighter end, but not exclusively.
  • I think there is a need for realism and real-life crime is not usually pretty.
  • However, our sense of humour is one the things we British are proud of and a writer, or a hero, without a sense of humour is not going to appeal to me.
  • If you think I have just contradicted myself, bear in mind that humour is also a part of real life.

What sort of crime-writer am I?  What about my forthcoming novel?

  • It will lean on the ‘light’ side.
  • I have allowed my hero to show a sense of humour.
  • However, there are moments of violence and fear.  It is far from being a comedy.
  • I want it to seem real enough for you to  feel for the victim as well as for my amateur detective hero and his sidekick.
  • The above points indicate the kind of crime-writer I intend to be.

Of course, different readers will gain different perceptions from reading it.  I hope they will mostly be favourable, whether they consider it ‘dark’ or ‘light’.

JHM Risk Management

 

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