I watched a very strange movie last week, Never Let Me Go, based on an acclaimed sci-fi novel (I assume of the same name). It was dark, disturbing, depressing, hopeless while at the same time being wonderfully made and acted. (Warning if you want to see it: There is some nudity/sex and coarse language.) In reading the reviews, 70% seem to like it or love it or think it's brilliant. The other 30% don't like it or they hate it or they think it boring. And the take-aways varied widely.
I don't know that I could rate the movie or even say I loved or hated it. Like I said, it was disturbing and dark, and yet it continues to haunt my thoughts. And to be honest, as a writer, I always hope that my stories will stay with a reader long after the book is over. So I have to give both the author and the director credit in that regard.
While I was watching the movie, I also found myself wondering, "What sort of mind thinks up a story like this?" (Spoilers abound in various reviews on the Internet, so if you want to know what the movie is about, you can find answers easily enough. I won't do that here.)
Writers are asked all the time where they get their ideas. I'm convinced my answer fits all writers: everything is grist for the mill, everything we experience and see and hear and read is fodder for our novels. It doesn't matter if we write contemporary or historical or fantasy, we still draw our ideas from the world around us. And we all know that there is plenty of evil in the world, plenty of dark things to write about or make movies about.
But I must say, I'm glad that I write novels of hope. Even when I've tackled difficult topics such as infidelity or alcoholism, since I know Christ and since most of my major characters know Christ, the books I write cannot help but be stories of hope.
“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5, NASB95)