This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how dark/gritty to make one of my current projects and whether giving my protag a pet throws that out the window because it’ll add a little humour and some undeniable sweetness. Not that fiction can’t be gritty, funny and have sweet moments, but as I steadfastly refuse to kill the pet off, I suspect it would definitely lighten the mood.
In the end I decided that this just wasn’t that dark a story and the pet wanted to be there because it suited the existing tone.
You might ask why was I looking to make it grittier in the first place… that comes from an excellent crit’er I know who really loves fiction full of down and dirty stuff. Personally as a reader I don’t need all the bodily fluids present in a book, or gruesome deaths, but I always take a moment to question whether I am making my fiction too ‘nice’.