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Is my story becoming too dark?

Baalf

Will accept free hugs and tummy rubs.
When writing the second draft of my book, it has been taking a completely different turn from my first draft. Yes, that does tend to happen. I originally just intended my second draft to just be the first draft but brushed up, maybe removing stuff that felt like filler and sexy Nanny McPhee... how did my voice function hear that when I said "fixing any mistakes?" In the end, it got away from me and I started thinking about different story elements and things to add, and yet, I feel like I've gotten so far away from the first draft that I'm worried about adding in the things I did like about my first draft, most of which involved character development.

My biggest fear right now is that I'm making the story too dark. I'm trying to go for a fairly young audience, maybe 10 to 12 and up? I mean, the book is about Sumo wrestling monster crime Fighters, so it would make sense to aim low. And in my second draft, I have something I didn't have in the first draft: villains that are willing to kill people.

Originally, the antagonist of the book was going to be a Master thief who did not support killing people, and neither did any of her followers. Although she never actually appeared, and the final challenge was against a different character, I'm starting to think that having villains whose agenda is not to kill anyone actually fits better for the Target demographic I'm going for then what I have now.

While that group of villains still exists, there is a second group: specifically ones that hate sumo wrestlers enough to commit Mass genocide. Their motive is pretty straightforward, though I don't want to go into details, but it mostly has to do with childhood experiences. At first I didn't mind this, and a big reason I even created these bad guys is because I wanted a better motive for my character Maya the Alippo to become a heroine than "sumo wrestling wouldn't allow her to wear the clothes she wanted," and they are tied to her motive in the second draft. And yet, I cannot help but second-guess my decision.
 

Frank Gulotta

Send us your floppy
Well, murder is present in other children's books, not the least Harry feckin Potter, and it's actually not rare for childrens' books to contain such themes, I think it's fine if you don't include gruesome descriptions and torture scenes; maybe come up with a creative way in which death happens.
If you're worried about much grimmer (and topical given what the communists are doing in Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, against Falun Gong etc...) themes like genocide, you can always wait for the 10th book when your audience is 17/18. School children are most likely aware of history but maybe they don't need to read it in every piece of media. I don't know. That's up to you

I think you're right tho, villains that are actually dangerous make far better villains
 

Baalf

Will accept free hugs and tummy rubs.
Well, murder is present in other children's books, not the least Harry feckin Potter, and it's actually not rare for childrens' books to contain such themes, I think it's fine if you don't include gruesome descriptions and torture scenes; maybe come up with a creative way in which death happens.
If you're worried about much grimmer (and topical given what the communists are doing in Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, against Falun Gong etc...) themes like genocide, you can always wait for the 10th book when your audience is 17/18. School children are most likely aware of history but maybe they don't need to read it in every piece of media. I don't know. That's up to you

I think you're right tho, villains that are actually dangerous make far better villains

I'm starting to think, yeah, it's not so much a bad thing to have villains that kill their targets, but I feel like it's something that should happen EVENTUALLY, not the first book. the current situation I have right now is that Ricky had just watched Maya get shot by a tranquilizer and hauled off to a room, and now he has to go in to save her, but he is absolutely going to get held up at gunpoint, and this is the first time in the book where a gun is involved. I'm also tempted to have Ricky get shot, but survive which, again, might be better to save a situation like this for a later book.

Even in my first book, I felt like I went into themes that the franchise wasn't ready to go into. There is a character that abuses his sister because their mother abused them, and both the mother and her son have this delusion where they are both sumo wrestlers just like the main protagonist, except they are actually obese. I'm also worried about how the law system in the book is portrayed. it's meant to be entirely fictional, but my book has a location where Heroes can fight criminals in an arena, and the criminals can get immediate freedom if they win a certain amount of fights.
 
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Troj

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dino Therapist
I'd recommend watching and reading more things for your target demographic so you have the finger on that pulse, and having diverse beta readers who can give you feedback on this.
 

Baalf

Will accept free hugs and tummy rubs.
I'd recommend watching and reading more things for your target demographic so you have the finger on that pulse, and having diverse beta readers who can give you feedback on this.

the first chapter of both of my rough drafts are on my furaffinity page, and I am still looking for beta readers for my first draft.

I don't read a lot of books that are in my Target demographic. I guess you could say the Harry Potter books, but I don't know about quite that far. I feel like Silverwing is a little closer to my Target demographic, and I have read that. and if I am going to be honest, this would not be the first book about an anthropomorphic sumo wrestling crime fighter, and while I have never read it, I could probably guess that my book is in the same Target demographic as Sumo Mouse. I just hope that if my book does get successful and someone wants to turn it into an animated series, that they don't turn my characters into skinny bodybuilders.
 
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