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Am I on the dark side?

Am I on the dark side?

Lately, I’ve been second-guessing myself and wondering if I wrote a book that’s too scary? Should I have labeled it as horror instead of fantasy?


Maybe it’s my generation. I’m part of what I’ve best heard described as the “Oregon Trail” generation. We’re the ones that fall in the cracks between Gen X and Millenials.

So much has changed since I was a kid. Even though kids have access to more of the (virtual)  world than I did, they seem more sheltered. After all, I played outside–where the boogeyman lives–with little supervision (by today’s standards–no offense, Mom)

Here’s the book that I got my Nursery Stories from.


Notice it says “for little children”? But in its version of THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF, when the Troll says to the Big Billy Goat Gruff, “Now, I’m going to gobble you up,” he responds, “Well, come along! I’ve got two spears, And I’ll poke your eyeballs out at your ears; I’ve got besides to curling stones, And I’ll crush you to bits, body, and bones.”  And he does it too! I don’t even know if this story is told anymore. The last time I did hear it told, the goat only hits him in the butt, and the troll was just rude, not planning to eat anyone.

In THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, they don’t just stay safely behind the door of the brick house until the wolf leaves and then dance among the flowers. When the wolf comes down the chimney the pig “hung on the pot full of water, and made up a blazing fire, and, just as the wolf was coming down, took off the cover, and in fell the wolf; so the little pig put on the cover again in an instant, boiled him up, and ate him for supper, and lived happily ever afterwards.” Oh, and the other pigs, in those other houses, were eaten up. They didn’t safely flee to the next house.

I wonder if the type of goblins and ghouls that scared me as a kid are waaaaaaay too scary for kids today?

I remember watching Gremlins when it came out, I was 6. And Ghostbusters. I remember seeing Poltergeist and The Exorcists (The Exorcist scared the S*^# out of me, by the way. I still worry I might become possessed one day) and I wasn’t yet 10 for all of those viewings.


(Yuck! It still creeps me out)

Is it just me? Were other kids of my generation watching and reading the same things too? Am I a bit demented? I don’t think so. I like scary but not gory. The Saw and Texas Chainsaw Massacre types are NOT for me. I’m probably pretty weak compared to some. And I’d say I scare easily.

But am I out of touch with what’s acceptable these days? Maybe I should write about rainbows and kittens instead of giant bloodworms and troll spiders. Does my imagination reside too far over on the dark side? Maybe I need to lighten it up with a dusting of unicorn sprinkles for today’s tweens. Anyone have any I can borrow?

Or maybe I just need to work harder to find my crowd. Where are you my fellow monster lovers?


The author of middle-grade fantasy adventure books A GAME OF TRUTHS and ASTER FINLAY AND THE GREAT ELAN

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