Wallowing in Angst?

While we can't be happy all of the time and angst is a very real and very valid emotional response, characters need to rise above it or they'll drag the plot down. If they start to wallow in self-pity or if they whinge or whine, they have to realise it doesn't help and move on.  

The old version of my lead was so angsty, I gave up on the book because she never did anything.  Things happened to her and I had to work out ways to get her through.  The current version fights on.  Her mistake is costing lives; if she stops more people die.  She is relentless.  Her misery won't stop her.

Angst needs to wait for poignant moments.  Too much and it drowns the story.  Too little and perhaps your characters won't resonate with the readers.  Angst is definitely essential, but you've got to use just the right blend.

Essentially, angst is there to be overcome by a character's inner strength.  And enjoy being able to give your characters swift kicks up the backside to stop them wallowing!

Here's some music to demonstrate the different flows of angst and determination.



How do you all feel about the level of angst in your writing?


  1. This post made me laugh because I've had the exact same feeling about my MCs, only with the opposite of angst. When I looked back at the opening scene of my first draft, my MC was just so damn cheerful and confident. There was no tension, no stakes.

    I usually opt for pluckiness instead of angst.

  2. Nicole: Any extreme of emotion can make writing a struggle. Tell your character to be more moody ;)


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