In a very general sense, I understand “dark” so wasn’t perturbed when my “well, I write in outer space… and space is dark…” line didn’t turn into a sale. But angst? I had to muddle that around for a while.
Heck, I even Googled it. A dictionary definition said it is “a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.” Then I Googled Literary Angst and got “the angst usually referred to is existential angst, exemplified by questions such as Who am I? and Why am I here?"
But my gut tells me this isn’t really what these ladies meant. Perhaps I’m wrong (totally possible), but I think they meant angst as in emotionally tortured characters, deep vendettas, gritty hatred in a mafia-revenge sort of manner. Alpha heroes who are so broken you wonder what kind of saintly woman would give them even five minutes of time (outside of the bedroom, of course, because in bed is where all their “angst” turns into hours of mind-blowing sex) to try and “fix” or “heal” him so he can finally love himself as he loves the woman.
Yes, I’m throwing the back of my hand to my forehead in a mock swoon as I type this.
I think it’s pretty obvious I don’t write angst. Or dark. Even in book number three, where my heroine is abducted, chained to a dungeon, and forced to be a blood sacrifice to a hideous monster… I bring the snark and humor in (she wonders if her abductors are looking for a virgin sacrifice, and boy won’t they feel sheepish when they discover their error).
Angst? The word brings to mind overly-dramatic teens who think THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END because (insert something petty like they broke a nail). Heck, the thought of alpha male heroes with so much internal conflict they can barely function makes me roll my eyes. At this point in my life (meaning, I may change my opinion later without any guilt), I just want to tell them to get over themselves and move on.
I guess it’s a good thing I let those readers move on to other authors who write dark angst, rather than trying to fit the round peg of my books into the square hole of their preferences.
But the wine lover in me can’t quite let it go. When I meet someone who says “I like sweet wines,” I encourage them to try other wines anyway. Their narrow view in a world where soooo many options are out there gives me too much agita to accept their statement as final. Maybe it’s just their knee-jerk assumption or they’ve truly tried a variety of wines and concluded that sweet is their preference. But our preferences change over time. And exposure to a variety of wines broadens our repertoire of what we enjoy. Shouldn’t our taste in genre/tropes/styles evolve as well?
So when a reader passes by and claims “I only read dark angst,” I want to remind them that there are more flavors out there… they should expand their romance palate, broaden their horizons. Oh, and buy my book while doing so.
Is it just me? Anyone else ever done this or felt this way?