Q: What’s easier for you – imagining a happier world, or a darker one?

A: It’s easier for me to imagine a darker world – but I’d much rather imagine a happier one. I like my stories, whether I’m writing or reading them, to have at least a glimmer of hope within them, though that can be tough in the very shortest of shorts.

I enjoy all sorts of fiction, and I don’t shy away from exploring dark worlds. But I think that even the darkest, grimmest landscape can contain moments of joy or happiness or kindness.

Isn’t that what we see all around us? Yes, there are lots of horrible things going on in the world, and it sometimes feels like nothing but doom and gloom, but when it comes both fiction and real life I like to hope there’s a chance that tomorrow will be a better day. Or that if it isn’t, I will find joy in a small part of it.

Writing a happier world can be tough – is such a world going to be solid and believable? Not everything can be fixed. But writing happy moments is usually achievable, though they may not suit every story.

Writing darkness is usually easier, I just don’t want to linger in it for too long.


Helen French’s story “Two Villains, a Notebook, and a Lump of Coal”
in Metaphorosis Friday, 18 January 2019.
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