Guest Post: There’s No Light Without Dark by Samantha Holloway

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I write fantasy, mostly, and it’s a pretty classic idea in fantasy, isn’t it–the massive, unstoppable black-clad army, the evil warlord, the faceless Dark. And because of that, there’s the other side, the good guys, being all White Wizards and blinding light and such.

But here’s the thing, though: I have a big problem with easy dichotomies. I think that we don’t live in a world where everything is easily classified along a single straight line between Good and Evil, with no up or down or branching sideways. I think that all-light or all-dark story is over-used and simplistic, and it’s not the story I wanted to tell.

So I wrote Married to the Wind.

The story is set up with a kingdom walled off from the world, convinced that they’re the only good people anywhere and that the Wall exists to save them from the Dark. Their stories tell of the First Lady of Light and her battles with her older brother the Dark, and cast the world as a clear division between the two.

And then I slowly dismantle that.

It’s true that you need darkness to see the light and vice versa–that’s why hope is often visualized as a candle in the night, it’s why stars shine so well, it’s why morning is such a relief when you’ve been lost in the woods all night. It’s why so many stories have scary, even horrific stuff that the hero has to fight against. But it’s also true that endless light burns out the world and darkness can be a relief from it, that those who think they’re all good can sometimes be the worst people to deal with–and it’s true here in my books that if Light and Dark are gods, it’s pretty presumptuous for ordinary people to think they know what’s going on with them, isn’t it?

I’m doing a lot of stuff with these books. But mostly, I’m taking Epic Fantasy and trying to layer in gradations and variations on the theme, and the big backbone is this so-called conflict between Light and Dark and how it’s not really a conflict so much as an ongoing attempt at balance.

The last book of the trilogy, Goddess’s Hand, brings up all of this, and Annissa and Glorisa have to figure out what to do about it. Can they choose sides? Should they try to rebuild what was, before they knew the truth? Do they dare to change everything? They’re walking in the footsteps–and, toward the end, even the lands–of the gods, and they have to face the Dark and see it for what it really is.

And isn’t it better to see fear for fear and hope for hope when you look at them?

sixties My books are here:
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Visit my Etsy Nail Polish Shop, Incidental Twin, or my blog!

The first two parts of my Epic Fantasy Trilogy are now available! Wisewoman’s Daughter and Sister to the Sun, with Goddess’s Hand coming in September!

Keep track of my published writing and journaling prompts at Gumroad – or follow me for updates!

Published by Jennifer Loring

Jennifer Loring’s short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Tales from the Lake vols. 1 and 4, Nightscript IV, Dim Shores Presents Volume 2, and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Not All Monsters and Arterial Bloom, among many others. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction with a concentration in horror fiction and is currently working toward a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies - Humanities & Culture, focusing on queer possibility in fairy tales. Jenn lives in Philadelphia, PA, where she and her husband are owned by a turtle and two basset hounds.

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