Dark Half Author

This blog is not about Stephen King’s book, “The Dark Half,” although, authors who are writing for a career, can relate to that horror story. There is something that many authors deal with that you might not be aware of.

An author who has leaped from part-time to full-time and has a career writing books, discovers emotions and feelings that are both decent and dark.

I talk about the good all the time. In fact, every career author will admit having a tough road, being exhausted, and worrying about their futures. However, there is something deeper and it doesn’t just go bump in the night…the darkness can be there in the day as well.

Authors dedicate their books to family, friends, agents, manager, publisher, or God. All those play a big factor in my writing, so I never want to leave someone out. I decided to dedicate all my books to that dark half in the authors brain. A place that is so terrifying, I bet no other author had the courage to even mention it ever before.

In my novel 2-10, the dedication reads this way: “This book is dedicated to the haunting ghost. I just wanted to let you know that you did not win; I succeeded. This was the story…that finally shut you up.”

In my novel, The Future Kills, it reads: “I dedicate this book to the Ghoul who hides in a sliver of darkness.”

So what is the dark half? It’s like a daily nightmare that does something to remind the career authors it is looming. Here are some examples: (These are examples of what full-time authors go through…and not just me.)

* The author’s mind cannot shut off at night. Insomnia takes over. The book, characters, and plot are more powerful than dreams. After awhile, it starts happening during the day. The author cannot think and begins to feel he/she is going insane.

* The author begins to see things that aren’t really there. Talk to themselves when no one is around. Stare into the mirror and see every haunting image possible. The author wants to be alone, but can’t wait for human contact. Nothing satisfies this darkness. The author fights. The author writes. It’s all they can do to stay alive.

* To battle the dark half, authors have handled it several ways. Let me quote this author: “Cujo was a great book. I wish I remember writing it.” It meant, the author was drunk off his brains when he was writing. Sometimes authors fall into a drug habit because of this. Sleeping pills and night time cold medicine are kept in a large dresser drawer. The author sweats. Becomes chilled to the bone. Paces back and forth. Then, the author writes.

* Understand, that the career author has gone through changes. Writing used to be for fun; a dream to live out one day. When that day comes, the pressures are unbelievable. The day’s are long and the night never ends.

* The author comes to a point where one of three decisions have to be made:

1. Quit writing. (No author will go through years of trying, just to quit. Not an option.)

2. Go insane. (Some authors consider this, because it would make for great stories and novels.)

3. Use the dark half to benefit their stories.

Why did this darkness begin to haunt in the first place? Because the author was holding back. They weren’t reaching far down enough to places they have avoided. The dark half leads the author to a location which is both an abyss…and the answer to great novels.

When the author wakes up in a cold sweat, it becomes part of their story. The emotions, feelings, the heart thudding against their chest, the drizzle of sweat down their skin, are all important in their novel.

An ice cube will tumble in a glass. It seems deafening, as if two boulders rolled into the authors head. Silverware scrapping together tears into the authors brain. Voices are earsplitting. 

Strange things will occur that cannot be explained. For example, the fire alarms will go off in the house when the author is writing about a fire. The alarms won’t stop until the author is finished with that scene.

When the author finishes a book, he/she may have flu symptoms. This is because the author is saying goodbye to their characters. It’s like someone has died. The author’s heart squeezes together until it makes them sick.

This explains the extra cold medicine that is on hand.

It’s hard for people to understand that when an author is home writing, it does not mean they are available. It would be no different than if the author went to someones place of business and said, “Oh, you’re here. Good. I need something.”

So the author hides away to write their stories. Close family and friends remain, but others seem to fade. The author has to fight the feeling of being alone.

Weight gain happens to many authors, because the only ones running are their characters. At the same time, it’s hard to eat when writing, but an author may go for five or eight hours and not take fifteen minutes to have a meal. No exercise + no fuel = no energy. The dark half feeds on that weakness and attempts to make the author feel depressed. The author uses that depression in their book.

Guilt appears. No matter what the author thinks they should be doing, it doesn’t seem correct. “I should be writing. I should be reading. I should be marketing my book. I should be spending more time with my family. I should be exercising. I should do more around the house. Wait, maybe I should be writing.”

It’s an endless cycle.

When the author finally breaks away and goes outside, they want to look at books. It could be at the grocery store, Target, or a gas station. It doesn’t matter. “I’ll be in the book section,” the author tells his/her family. “Come get me when you are done.”

Authors examine every person. What they wear, how they walk, their hair, eyes, skin, and demeanor. Every car, building, tree, or piece of debris on the street is lodged into their brain for later use. Everything is a story.

Some authors keep note pads with them at all times. Some have voice recorders. After a couple hours of being outside, the author has enough ideas to write more of their story. They hurry back home.

Authors will stare at nothing for hours. Their mind wanders to possibilities unimagined by the average person. They don’t move. Just gaze at the future of their novel. They envision the words, the scenes, how a character dresses or speaks.

The author thinks about their readers. Why did they purchase the book? Where will they read the book? Which parts will they cry? Laugh? Or be terrified? Will there be one sentence that the reader does not enjoy? Which sentence will that be?

The author becomes obsessed with that reader, while writing a new novel.

The point of my blogs is to get new authors ready for a future in writing. So I felt it was my duty to explain the dark half of a career author’s mind. It’s not easy for others to talk about. You may have experienced some of this already, but you have no idea…

Dedicate your writing to the decent…and the dark.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

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Comments

  1. What a fantastic subject! Brilliant. I hope I get to that point myself. Yes. I am a masochist for my own punishment. But then, I already know I have a dark side. But it’s at half-life, like Lord Voldemort.

    Thanks!

  2. found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later