Is there such a thing as too much angst?

pain  How much pain is too much? Do you search out books from authors that you know write characters who have dark, painful pasts? Or do you avoid them like the plague?

Authors, is it difficult for you to put your protagonists through hell and back again?

There are some writers who thrive writing these kind of characters. They enjoy digging in deep to the bones and stripping someone bare. Exposing every thing, shame, humiliation, pain, abuse, anger. Everything a person can go through. Everything they can feel.

I’ve written a few pretty intense books, usually with my writing partner VJ Summers and let me tell you by the end I’m emotionally drained. You feel as though you’ve lived a small part of what your characters have and for me it’s an exhausting journey.

I enjoy stories that are on the dark side, but I find that I do have a point that I just can’t cross. Not because the books aren’t well written. Not because the stories are great, but because with my imagination the story will stick with me. I will think about it and it will haunt me.

Millions have read VC Andrews. I did the Flowers in the Attic series and then I read Heaven. After that I had to stop.  Not because the stories didn’t entertain me. I just couldn’t deal with the suffering her characters had to go through. I wanted to reach into the books and shout “Run…and don’t look back.”

If I wrote nothing but stories like that I’m pretty sure my DH would have to pull me off the ceiling. My heart just couldn’t take it. I mean I once read a book from a well-known author (I’m not sure if he’s considered thriller or horror) but  after I invested my time reading the book (it was so good I read it in two days) he killed the hero at the end. I threw the book across the room as hard as I could and I’ve never read anything by this person again. Which is a shame because he’s a very talented man but I was so upset by what I considered an unnecessary death of the hero (he’d gone through so much) that to this day (I read the book over 20 yrs ago) I still haven’t forgiven him.

I’ve had the same reaction to a movie on a couple of occasions. I was watching a movie ( I can’ t remember the title) with my friend Amy and the freaking hero who was trying to find out who was responsible for killing a man in a ritual in the end gets killed in the same fucking ritual. So here we are knowing that all through the movie he’s going in at the last-minute to save a woman he thinks is being abused and sacrificed only to find out that she’s in on it the whole fucking time. O.M.G- yeah if it had been my movie it would have been in pieces on the floor but it belonged to Blockbuster so instead we both kind of paced around the room, yelling and bitching about it.

Now though, I’ve lived long enough to know what my limits are. I know how far I can go when I write until I say okay that’s enough. I’m lucky in that I have a writing partner who is very apt when it come to the harder emotional stuff. She helps lead the way for me.

My question to the readers is- How much angst do you like in your books?

Authors- How difficult is it for you to write a character who is really damaged?

 

 

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