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View Full Version : What exactly is character "angst" or wankst



BlueLucario
04-14-2009, 07:41 PM
I've been looking this stuff up on google, but can't really understand what character "angst" is? From what I've read, I think it means suffering. I have no idea what "wankst" is?


I also read somewhere that our loveable vampire, Edward was a badboy with angst, and girls love him.

Anyway, if edward had wankst, what does that mean? And why is Angst looked down upon?

This question of mine has been unanswered for a long time.

And do me a favor and refrain from the smeyer bashing? I don't want to get in trouble with the MODs(I'm scared.)

williemeikle
04-14-2009, 07:46 PM
"wankst" is a play on the words wank and angst

Wank, while meaning masturbation, can also mean something a bit pitiful so is useful in both cases when also describing an overwrought, overblown, overdone self pity in a character. Hence, wankst.

From the Urban Dictionary


Wankst

A brand of angst that is indulged in by particularly whiny people, a.k.a. "wankers".

Mr Flibble
04-14-2009, 07:46 PM
OK, this purely my opinion but:

Angst: legitimate emotional suffering. Your mum just died and you know, you're upset. If only I'd got there in time to see her before she died. *sniff* Your boyfriend just dumped you for your best mate, and you want to pull his teeth out, just as soon as you can stop crying. Genuine suffering.


Wangst: Constant harping on about emotional suffering, particularly if it's shallow or trivial. Three pages of OMG how can she love me? My cat has fleas! I think I'll just top myself now!!!!!! I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me, OTT self pity.

Emo, basically. :D

ETA, darn it Willie, you type fast!

Ol' Fashioned Girl
04-14-2009, 07:49 PM
'Wankst' is 'angst' taken to an annoying level... think Anakin Skywalker as he develops into Darth Vader. I can't comment on Edward as I haven't read the book. It's usually older, more mature people who call it 'wankst'.

Why is it looked down upon? The universe can stand only so much annoyance and a teenager who thinks his/her problems should be the most important thing to everyone in it is one of the most annoying things known to humanity.

williemeikle
04-14-2009, 07:49 PM
ETA, darn it Willie, you type fast!

AND that included looking up the Urban Dictionary quote :)

ChristineR
04-14-2009, 10:39 PM
Angst is fear and worry that goes beyond merely being afraid of some particular event, but rather is fear of the conditions of life itself, like a fear that life could be meaningless or love could be an illusion, or if you really start to push it, fear that gravity could fail to function tomorrow and all of us would fly off into space. Since there's no natural endpoint to fears like this, character angst can be sustained throughout the entire story, and often some sort of life changing (read book-ending) event is required to resolve it.

Never heard of "wankst," but I would assume that it means angst taken to a point where it's self-indulgent, selfish, and repetitive, i.e., like masturbation.

Michiru
04-14-2009, 11:06 PM
Something to keep in mind is how little patience most people have for suffering in either themselves or others. Even if the angst you have your character go through is entirely legitimate, you'll get readers complaining that your character is a "whiner" or a "wimp". Without fail.

In other words, what makes "angst" and what makes "wankst/wangst" is almost entirely subjective and dependent upon the patience and understanding of the reader.

Gillhoughly
04-15-2009, 12:13 AM
No need to bash smeyer, Anne Rice cornered the wholesale market with vampiric "woe is me, I'm an evuuul vampire" with Louis in Interview.

I wanted to dump his pale arse in Death Valley at midsummer and put us all out of his misery!

A generation of young vamp fans adorned in black clothing, hair dye, white powder, weird contacts, and mascara just loved the heck out of him and Lestat. (I didn't like that arsehat, either).

It annoyed parents--though some joined in--and freaked out religious fundies, and yet civilization survived and plodded on to the next fad.

Let the teens have their angsty fun and be glad they've got short attention spans. :D

Pizza is a reliable distraction, always worked for me!

dirtsider
04-15-2009, 12:21 AM
No need to bash smeyer, Anne Rice cornered the wholesale market with vampiric "woe is me, I'm an evuuul vampire" with Louis in Interview.

I wanted to dump his pale arse in Death Valley at midsummer and put us all out of his misery!

A generation of young vamp fans adorned in black clothing, hair dye, white powder, weird contacts, and mascara just loved the heck out of him and Lestat. (I didn't like that arsehat, either).

It annoyed parents--though some joined in--and freaked out religious fundies, and yet civilization survived and plodded on to the next fad.

Let the teens have their angsty fun and be glad they've got short attention spans. :D

Pizza is a reliable distraction, always worked for me!

:ROFL:Yeah, Louis was a bit whiny, wasn't he? (As much as I like Interview with a Vampire.) I think the best line from the movie was Lestat's line at the end of the movie: "Louis... still whining!"

Makai_Lightning
04-15-2009, 02:47 AM
For the most part, it seems like the terms have been adequetly defined.

Angst is looked down upon because it gets annoying and overdone. Wankst is more than looked down upon because it's a hyper-extension of angst and unbelievably irritating, to the point a person might want to punch a character in the face and tell them to STFU and get over it. Like.

Character 1: OH NOES! I dropped my blue M&Ms on the ground! My life is over! I Love the blue M&Ms!!! I'm going to go cry in the corner because my life is such hell!!!! *Tear*.

Now, you see? Lamenting in a totally over-the-top and obnoxious manner. Obviously, you won't see it quite as in your face as that, but angst/wangst irritates the crap out of people when it stops being understanding and starts sounding like a two year old throwing a temper tandrom. Or a five year old, or an overdramatic teenager who would do well to star on daytime television soap-operas. Angst, by itself, can work as long as there's a deeper dimension to the character and the scene. If all you have is angst, it's far more annoying that someone who angsts but also tries to move past it and feels happy and loves and empathises with other characters.

Another Scenario!
Character 1 witnesses their best friend's death and is subsequently horrified and frightened, leading way to some moping. Some angst! Does this immediately turn off the reader? It depends. If from the context of the book, Character 1 was believably very close to and emotionally attached to their best friend, then the audience can feel for them, up to a point, and watch them cope. If they were not believably close, the audience might wonder what got Character 1's panties all in a bunch, although most likely they'll go with it as long as it's not melodrama. If Character 1 spends 50 pages agonizing and going essentially no where, then you have a PROBLEM mate. Even if it's not fifty pages, angst that seems to lead nowhere but to more angst is self-indulgent, in some respects, and probably doesn't need to be in the story. It's irritating to read.

Characters can feel angst, and that's okay. It's generally just more of a problem because we don't mind indulging in happiness, but the most fun people have with whining is whining with other people about some sort of mutual sucktastic thing. Seriously, sometimes it's fun to complain--but it's only fun to complain and hear complaints when you can complain back.

And some writers have the tendency to overplay the angst card. So even if it is legitimate, the reader loses interest.

BlueLucario
04-15-2009, 03:45 AM
Thank you for explaining this to me. I've been googling "character angst" and all I've found were Mary Sue litmus tests.

I have two characters, one who's past led her to lose trust in everyone around her. And the other who had a deep hatred for the first character because she killed his first love.

Character 1: Her only flaw I can think of is that what character number 2 did to her caused her to lose trust in others, always having to do the impossible by herself. She thinks people are out to get her, and she's not trying to make friends.

Character 2: I think he's the angsty character. He was in love with Character 1's mother. As a small child, character one accidentally killed her mother. Character two hated her. There was a scene where he went "overboard" with her training, and it was not known to the other characters whether he did it to help her, or if he did it to express his rage. When C2 was raising her, sometimes he would try to avoid her or ignore her. Maybe because she reminded him too much of the woman he loved.

I know the reader may not sympathize with C2, but there are parts in the story where he helps C1, and he also plays a major role in overcoming her flaws.

Gynn
04-15-2009, 03:49 AM
No need to bash smeyer, Anne Rice cornered the wholesale market with vampiric "woe is me, I'm an evuuul vampire" with Louis in Interview.

I wanted to dump his pale arse in Death Valley at midsummer and put us all out of his misery!

A generation of young vamp fans adorned in black clothing, hair dye, white powder, weird contacts, and mascara just loved the heck out of him and Lestat. (I didn't like that arsehat, either).

It annoyed parents--though some joined in--and freaked out religious fundies, and yet civilization survived and plodded on to the next fad.

Let the teens have their angsty fun and be glad they've got short attention spans. :D

Pizza is a reliable distraction, always worked for me!

When I was a teen, I was all over those books and exactly as you described lol

Gillhoughly
04-15-2009, 04:51 AM
Ditto, only with me it was Star Trek. I was positive I'd die when it was canceled. You want angst? That was me in mourning for it for years.

And then I went to my first Trek convention and my universe changed all over again.

Looking forward the the Vegas CSI episode this week.

Best quote from the previews?

"Whoa, there's a whole lotta geek love on the command chair."

:D

Michiru
04-15-2009, 04:54 AM
Many of us who are not teenagers, like Louis from Rice's books. His life is miserable, he's weak as vampires go which means he's almost helpless in the vampire world, he's stuck with an abusive jerk (of course, that's not all Lestat is, but that's what Louis sees) and his daughter is murdered under his nose--after he's buried alive. I have no idea of what part of that doesn't make his depression understandable. (Also, IWtV is the only book where he complains aloud, and he does so because he's asked for his story. Mostly he keeps to himself.)

Nor is Anne Rice a fad just because some people don't like her writing. I don't like a lot of her books either. They still all make the best seller lists, including her new stuff. Thirty years of consistent sales is too long to be just a "fad", and sell too many millions to be just teen readers. IWtV still sells brilliantly in about half a dozen different formats, though Lestat is admitedly the more popular character among Rice fans.

Anyway, my point was just illustrated by the above. However legitimate a character's sadness is, people tend to hate characters that have down swings and aren't "tough" enough. Thankfully, Rice's enduring success shows that there are a lot of people who think differently, too. I guess it depends on what kind of audience you're trying to write for, and how well you can write people in pain.

Gillhoughly
04-15-2009, 07:11 PM
It's apples and oranges. Some people see noble suffering, others see a whining weakling.

Both are right. We all have different tastes.

But Rice also did something foolish posting her rant against readers who weren't wholly in love with Lestat (http://www.tribalwar.com/forums/archive/t-326444.html).

It's hard reading, as she made no paragraph breaks, misused the word slander (it should have been "libel"), and otherwise proved she does indeed need an editor and quite possibly medication. As the woman has no ego problems, she's ceased dancing with vamps and is now writing first person for Jesus Christ.

I've mentioned before, that now makes her the Holy Ghostwriter. :D

Laurel K. Hamilton (http://blog.laurellkhamilton.org/2006/12/dear-negative-reader.html)also committed a public rant. Bad writer. No cookie!

Writer John Scalzi offers advice (http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/004483.html) when a writer is faced with the temptation to rant (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2007/01/01/crazy-screechy-monkeys-1-best-selling-author-0/)against critics. Well worth reading so you know what NOT to do!

One thing you NEVER do, gentle writers, is slam your readers.

They bought your book. They didn't have to; they could have bought some other book, but they got yours. Whether they liked it or not, SAY THANK YOU.

Of course some people won't like your book. Write another one. Don't flip out--especially in public. It ain't cool to wind up on Fandom Wank.

Don't read your reviews, even the good ones. The bad ones will depress you, the good ones will intimidate you.

Don't Google your name. In that way lies madness.

If people leave bad stuff on your blog, delete it. You're allowed. But never get into a debate.

It's called being professional.

And now, the best way to deal with critics: mockage (http://www.prestonchild.com/rogues/art76,249).

Irish writer Brendan Behan: "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves."

I think of that quote and smile whenever someone plops a bad review in front of me. Then I change the topic while offering them a cookie. It works. More often than not they buy my next book.

CaroGirl
04-15-2009, 08:55 PM
It's apples and oranges. Some people see noble suffering, others see a whining weakling.
Remember Hamlet? That dude in the tights who wandered 'round that castle moaning? Was Hamlet's plight noble suffering or was he a whining weakling? Perhaps angst/wankst is in the eye of the beholder.

Now, go to town on Romeo!

Gillhoughly
04-15-2009, 10:14 PM
Meh, he should have moved out of Italy.

Dysfunctional families are HELL on your love life!

Rushie
04-15-2009, 10:41 PM
Many of us who are not teenagers, like Louis from Rice's books. His life is miserable, he's weak as vampires go which means he's almost helpless in the vampire world, he's stuck with an abusive jerk (of course, that's not all Lestat is, but that's what Louis sees) and his daughter is murdered under his nose--after he's buried alive. I have no idea of what part of that doesn't make his depression understandable. (Also, IWtV is the only book where he complains aloud, and he does so because he's asked for his story. Mostly he keeps to himself.)



AGREE. I'm 52 years old, a bit stoic and reserved - the last thing from "emo" you'll ever meet - and I loved Louis. He engaged in remarkably little complaining when you consider that his life, indeed, his immortal soul, was taken from him, in addition to all the other tragedy you mention. Yet he above all retains respect for human life and tries valiantly to adhere to his value system. He is a noble character.

I despised Lestat. I never forgave Anne Rice for continuing the series with Lestat instead of Louis as the MC, making him the star after he commits unforgivable atrocities. He is grandiose, self-important, and blows through the world with the entitlement and care of a bull in a china shop. I can't stand people like that IRL and I can't stand characters like that. He could not gain any sympathy from me with the single exception of Body Thief, and even then he ultimately betrays someone he supposedly loves. Not even the fact that David deep down wanted him to do it saves Lestat in my eyes, for he didn't know or care about that; his motives were entirely selfish.

I guess the lesson learned here is that readers can be very different and so different types of characters will appeal to different people. I can't argue with the fact that so many fans love Lestat.

Rushie
04-15-2009, 11:29 PM
But Rice also did something foolish posting her rant against readers who weren't wholly in love with Lestat (http://www.tribalwar.com/forums/archive/t-326444.html).

WOW!



One thing you NEVER do, gentle writers, is slam your readers. Absolutely. I'm a noob as an author and even I know this. It's the old "the customer is always right" wisdom. A reader may be unsophisticated, uneducated, unenlightened, narrow-minded and just plain stupid, but one thing he is an expert about, is what entertains him. That makes him right, unless you don't care at all about selling your work, and are only writing for yourself as an audience. (I think that is called intellectual masturbation?)


Don't read your reviews, even the good ones. The bad ones will depress you, the good ones will intimidate you.Ah, I'm glad you said that. I have no intention of reading reviews for just that reason (should I ever get a novel published). Unlike Anne Rice, I will take an editor's advice, no matter how high in "status" I attain. The editor can translate the bad reviews into constructive advice for me, ha ha ha ha.



Don't Google your name. In that way lies madness.So true.

seun
04-18-2009, 04:17 PM
I've never heard the word wankst. I like it and will use it everyday in polite conversation.

James D. Macdonald
04-18-2009, 04:25 PM
Responding in any way whatever to a review, particularly a bad one, is called ABM: the Author's Big Mistake.

Nakhlasmoke
04-18-2009, 04:25 PM
I've never heard the word wankst. I like it and will use it everyday in polite conversation.

wangst is the somewhat more common spelling. Also a tad less likely to trip overly-protective spam blockers.

Gynn
04-18-2009, 08:11 PM
Don't Google your name. In that way lies madness.


Bleh. If I Google my name, I'll just find tons of articles about a pitcher who threw a perfect game (no, I'm not that pitcher lol).

SPMiller
04-19-2009, 01:36 AM
Why did this take so long?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Wangst

Jerry B. Flory
04-19-2009, 02:07 AM
Angst is like angry at your dad or somebody so everything you do, the way you treat other people is affected by this anger and wankst is well, angst with a good coat of twunt paste.
Ah ha

BravoYankee
04-19-2009, 02:41 AM
Angst = Clark and Lana, Smallville seasons 1-4 (Great source material)

Chasing the Horizon
04-19-2009, 04:21 AM
Angst is like angry at your dad or somebody so everything you do, the way you treat other people is affected by this anger . . .
This is a really good way of defining it--when the drama and complaining starts to interfere with or override the story.

I've found that a lot of books that have very little or no despair and complaining come off as shallow and unrealistic. They show the bad things happen, but then don't go into how the events make the characters feel and how they cope.

So I guess you need some drama, but not too much. Kind of like every other element in writing.

I love Anne Rice's vampire books, and I'm not an angsty teenager. They're actually the only vampire books I like.

RavenCorinnCarluk
04-19-2009, 04:56 AM
Here's another way to think about it.

Angst is when something tragic or sucky happens to you, and you learn to cope with it, and deal with the pain. Like when someone or something you love leaves you, and you can't go do the things you used to do together because it reminds you of them.

Wangst/wankst is when you mope and whine and look for attention about the "pain" you're suffering. It's melodramatic, and usually not about something important, and makes anyone who HAS suffered real pain want to smack the whine right off their mouth.

Michiru
04-19-2009, 10:12 PM
AGREE. I'm 52 years old, a bit stoic and reserved - the last thing from "emo" you'll ever meet - and I loved Louis. He engaged in remarkably little complaining when you consider that his life, indeed, his immortal soul, was taken from him, in addition to all the other tragedy you mention. Yet he above all retains respect for human life and tries valiantly to adhere to his value system. He is a noble character.

I despised Lestat. I never forgave Anne Rice for continuing the series with Lestat instead of Louis as the MC, making him the star after he commits unforgivable atrocities. He is grandiose, self-important, and blows through the world with the entitlement and care of a bull in a china shop.

I guess the lesson learned here is that readers can be very different and so different types of characters will appeal to different people.

Rushie, I'm with you. I never understood Lestat's popularity. There's a thread going on in, I think, the YA or novel section about whether you like bad boys, and a lot of people do. But I like good boys--the ones who try their best to be their best, instead of making excuses and acting like jerks. Sadly, Anne herself decided she hated Louis and began trying to dismantle his character, which as a fan was sad to me. But IWtV is still right there for me to read. :)

And Gillhoughly, you're absolutely right. We all judge characters based on our own experiences, I think, which is why I can't stand Lestat when lots of people love him, eh?

The bit about bashing your readers is a good point, too. Anne Rice lost SO much reader respect with that rant. The thing is, her books are really glorified Mary Sues. Lestat is based on her husband (and bits of herself are in him too, but mostly her husband), and as she changed she wrote herself in as the one he falls for in each book (starting with Louis, and ending with Rowena Mayfair). The story is thus so personal to her that she obviously also took the criticism personally.

Actually, much as I don't like Stephanie Meyer's writing--it's not bad, but not great--I admire the heck out of her for her dignity in the face of criticism. Book four in the Twilight series was ripped apart by fans and her only response was that she had written the series for herself, based on her dreams, and she was honored that the readers has come with her as far as they had. Didn't say a word about the Stephen King criticism, either. Now that's class. ^_^