Saturday, September 12, 2009

Angst-Fests and War Updates

My battle with the library rages on. My fine has somehow amounted to $76 now, which means I'll be skulking about in the corners of bookstores, sneakily reading their books for some time yet. Furthermore, I apparently still have a book out. But it's a book I have neither seen nor hear of, so I retain the theory that I do not have it.

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!


  1. OH nooooooo. Not the doom of library fines. I have a $10 right now.

    My SNI MC is angsty.Really angsty.

    I get annoyed when it drags on and on for pages for no particular reason. *cough* New Moon *cough* justkillyourselfbellaalready. Ahem.

  2. I agree with Choco. If it drags, I'd immediately put the book down. I wanted to so many times in New Moon, but I figured it could get better. And I wanted to continue to read about Jacob. TEAM JACOB!

    I think sprinkling angst-y sections throughout would be the best way. :)

  3. Hehehe. Ah, New Moon Angst is a category of Angst unto itself. ;)

    Thanks choco! Thanks Karla!!

    *endeavours to not let scene drag*

  4. Haha, nice post. With After Cameron, which could get EXTREMELY angst intensive if I'm not careful, I just try to sprinkle lines of tongue-in-cheek angst throughout and add in the very occasional paragraph or two of straightforward angst. Then there's the climax, which is maybe a full two pages of angst. I might need to to work on that. :)

  5. Ooo. Tongue-in-cheek angst. Alway a good tactic. =D

    *can't wait to be able to read AC*