Why I Write Angst

I actually don’t really know why I write angst.  I’ve given it a lot of thought recently because I’ve been writing fairly depressing stories.  First it was a mother losing her son and donating his organs.  Then there was a story about a suicidal man.  Next will be the little girl with the abusive father, and after that the PTSD war vet bonding with an abused cat.    In fanfiction the game was already so depressing I didn’t have to do much to make it dark.  The stories were angst by default.  I also wrote several funny pieces in fanfiction.  I have not felt the urge yet to write a comedy piece in original fiction.  Maybe I will.   I’m actually doing okay mentally but the urge to write angst continues.

I’m a super emotional person.  Anyone that knows me well knows that I experience extreme emotional highs and lows.  After 25+ years on this Earth I’ve realized I don’t process emotions in a normal way.  Everything hits me much harder and longer.  I avoid movies if I know they are going to be sad because I will shut down.  It happens with books as well.  People have often told me that I’m super sensitive, and tell me to be less so, but I can’t.  It would be like someone telling me to stop being tall.  I can’t help it.  Even in flats I’m very tall.  This quality contributed to my self-hatred, but I’m okay with it now.  I can’t change the fact that emotions have a profound effect on my psyche.  What I have control over is situations eliciting strong emotions, and I avoid them as much as possible.  There are some positive things associated with emotional super-feelers, but that’s not really the point of this blog post.

Maybe it’s cathartic to unburden my tormented soul with words.  My characters feel real in my heart, yet I don’t cry as we journey through the story together.  It doesn’t take much to make me cry either.  Perhaps it’s because I put only a bit of myself in them.  When I get really upset I shut down and can’t function.  I can’t write in a really depressed state because there’s nothing left for me to give.  All of my energy is funneled into my own angst.  In the rare case that I write in such a state, it comes out all messy and garbled because I’m not thinking clear enough to write beautiful prose.

I read someone’s writing list of do’s and don’ts that angst was cliche.  She argued that angst was easy to write, and I would have to say I disagree.  It’s difficult to write angst well and not have it come off as corny or melodramatic.  I think there is beauty in tragic stories, and those are the ones we tend to remember.  Stories are memorable for different reasons.  The ones with a lasting impact for me are the tragedies and the stories with strong political/cultural statements.

Something new that I learned is that the angst isn’t the important part of the story, it’s about the character’s reaction to the tragedy, and their journey to make sense of the tragedy.  I kind of figured this out after more than one person commented on the flash fiction piece (the one with the mother losing her son) that nothing was happening.  It was just about sharing this character’s sadness.  They were right, and that’s why I decided to expand it.  I think it’s often the way we react to bad things in our life that shows who we really are.

Dr. Sylvester gave me this link that kind of explains the most common story arcs for tragedies: How to Write a Negative Character Arc  It helped me add some structure to my stories.  I’m still revising that suicide one.  It’s taken like five times longer to edit it than it did to actually write it XD  Granted, it’s about 1500 words longer.  I have a hard time moving on if I’m so focused on one project.

4 thoughts on “Why I Write Angst

  1. I don’t process emotion in a normal way, either, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, when many people in my family have died, it hasn’t really registered. I can’t read sad stories either. There’s beauty in them, but they’re so difficult. The wonderfully written ones make me cry. I watch “Doctor Who,” and it’s very sad, but in a cheesy sort of way, so I don’t cry. I feel that helps. 🙂

    I love writing angst, though. The CyberWorld is one (my mom classifies it as “psychological thriller,” though I’m not sure if that’s right). I guess it helps people channel their emotions and get it out of them. In fact, when I write rants it makes me feel better. Writing, for writers, is our way out. People yell and scream (I do this sometimes), but to really get it out of my system, writing it out is the best medicine. 😀

    Don’t feel bad about yourself. I’ve read your blog for a long time, and I know you have nothing to hate yourself for. My mom once told me, people who insult other people/make them feel bad, are really just insulting themselves. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂 Yeah, in the past year or so I’ve really worked on containing my self-hatred. I’ll always be more sensitive than normal though, so I just try to stay away from negative things. I decided weeks ago that I was never going to look back at my fanfiction profile because it made me too upset, and that was what they wanted. They were turning my story into an effigy of hatred with their reviews. I thought about deleting my profile as I’ve saved the story and reviews, but I didn’t want to punish those that liked it. In the end, it didn’t matter who was wrong or right, I was miserable. I had to do what was best for me, and that meant never looking back. it’s been a month and I hardly think about it now. I don’t miss fanfiction, and my only regret is that I didn’t leave sooner.

    I might write fanfiction again under another penname, but only short stories. I don’t want to get that involved with fanfiction ever again. I’m pretty excited about Final Fantasy 15 and will flail like a fangirl the day it comes out X3 It’s a dark story, supposedly. A dark story with a beautiful protagonist, I’m already sold 8D Here’s the link to the latest trailer if you are interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3xKbPooKAo It’s about four minutes long. It’s crazy what they can do with animation now.

    A friend of mine loves Dr. Who. Although now she has moved on to Supernatural XD I actually have like 20 blog posts I saved but never posted XD I rant a lot, but I try to save it for friends :$ My last rant was about the death of my pink computer. My husband lent me his but it’s not the same 😦 And they don’t really make pink computers anymore D: I’ve had three pink computers in the last 7 years XD Two were netbooks and the last one was a Lenovo laptop. What can I say, I love pink 😀

    It’s nice to know other people find writing cathartic 🙂 Your story Cyberworld is really dark, which is probably why I like it XD I enjoy dark stories. Many fantasy video games are bleak, and those are the ones I tend to enjoy the most. Yeah, I still cry when watching, The Last Unicorn. Just the theme song is enough to make me start crying. I’m not even sure why it’s so sad, but it is. I tend to avoid sad movies more than I avoid sad books. No idea how that works. I guess with a book if I’m getting too emotional I can just put it down, but you can’t do that as easily with a movie.

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