As I said a few times, Legends of Windemere: Ritual of the Lost Lamb gets very dark. Remember the light-hearted fun of Luke’s first few adventures and you’ll see a stark difference in tone. There was violence and pain, but nothing to the scale that you’re going to see. Mostly because at least one character is going to get tortured. It’s hard to retain the light when you go down this path.
Did I always intend to do this? Not when I first thought up the series. It was going to stay fluffy and light from beginning to end, which changed as I grew up. Maybe a level of cynicism crept into things or it was just the natural progression. One day I realized that these heroes couldn’t go through so many adventures without earning a few scars and eventually hitting a point where their luck runs out. Some would say it had to happen earlier, but I couldn’t get it to work with the temples. The champions failing one of those would end the prophecy, so the big opening was after them. Their guard would be down and it would be the perfect time to strike.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this. The darkness is one of the reasons I keep feeling like something is wrong. Last time I tried to edit the book, I found that I was attempting to soften things and that caused damage. Guess I’m a little scared to go this far since there are people who still think this is a pure Young Adult book. Then again, I’ve read some YA with stuff as bad as this. We really do need to give teenagers more credit with these things. Unless I’m thinking New Adult since I get those two mixed up. Either way, I’m anxious that the tone will causes trouble.
Another factor here is that I’m not writing the characters like they’re unaware of the heaviness of the situation. There are some jokes and antics, but the champions start the story with a gaping wound. Some of them are depressed, some are impatient, and some are about ready to tear the planet in half. Timoran is the only one with his head on straight, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. So there are some cracks forming in the group and trust isn’t as high as it used to be. With the character interactions being a main selling point of the series, it’s tough to do this to them. I fear that readers might not accept what’s going on or give up because I’ve gone too far.
Now, I’ll be talking about that last part next week. Yet, I will say that going too far is in the eye of the beholder. I remember some people complaining that I didn’t go far enough. I’m sure I’ll get another set swearing I crossed a line. It’s another factor that makes this step into the shadows even harder. Maybe I’m overthinking this too. It’s entirely possible that my emotional connection to the characters makes it feel worse than it is. Then again, my proofreader (mom) quickly pointed out that it’s darker in tone. Something tells me this is going to cost me some sleep.
What do you think about series that take a dark turn? Does it work if it makes sense and there’s a sign that things will lighten up later?