Now, onto angst-fests.
They run rampant in YA books. Teenaged hormones, coupled with alcohol, and Dark Pasts are just the perfect recipe. Sometimes they're fine - justified, understandable, a prime opportunity for Character X to show off his/her vulnerable side. Other times, however, they are annoying as all heck! They make the reader (and occasionally the writer) want to strangle the character just to make them stop whining about their Problems.
For the majority of the past week I have been re-writing a scene in my WIP. The re-write started mainly because I needed to change a reference to a preceding event that had been remodeled. Then I saw it: the Angst-Fest!!
My darling Love Interest (that is, my MC's Love Interest, who I also adore to the point of it being a touch unhealthy) was spewing angst and misery all over the page!
I thought to myself, "Well! That can't stay!" and immediately scrapped it and began re-writing. I assumed the Angst-Fest was a product of my not knowing Love Interest very well when I first wrote the scene (it's way back near the beginning of the book) since he is quite the anti-angster in all subsequent scenes. That is, he doesn't talk, sulk, or angst about his Dark Past, nor wallow in Guilt and Self-Pity about it. (Sorry, but I couldn't actually resist giving him a Dark Past.)
Anyway, after 514 rewrites, a few handfuls of cold pills, and several boxes of Kleenex (necessary because of aforementioned cold, not because I was having hysterical fits about not being able to come up with a decent rewrite)...we came full circle.
I went from Angst-Fest, to Anti-Angst-Fest, through all the shades of grey, and now I'm sitting back in Angst Land. Or right on its border. Sighhh.
I assume this means that Angst-Fest is the right way to go. I mean, I have toned it down and directed the Angst at something that he would, in fact, maybe, possibly Angst about a little bit when he's as intoxicated as he is, but still I worry. I don't want people getting irritated.
And so I ask you, dear readers, at what point do Angst-Fests become annoying? What makes them torturous and eye-roll-inducing rather than an acceptable plot point? Do your beloved characters have Angst-Fests? When have other author's done it right, or done it wrong?
I'd love to know!