Angsty Stuff

Some of the most common work I see here is written work that is filled with anger - or angst. Something has pissed you off, or things simply are not right in the world. As such, you vent through the written word. However, a lot of the things I see grace this board lack any sort of structure. In the literary world, things that dont have structure often times get lost amongst themselves, and the author can sometimes loose direction. I’ve gnerated a simple formula for how to write angsty type poetry (or rants, whatever). I think it makes sense, however this is not set in stone. You can feel free to do things however you like, don’t let me restrict you. I just think that if people read this, they’ll have a better grasp of what the reader does and doesn’t understand.

Ok folks, here’s a crash course in how to make angsty writing work:

In general, angsty writing is just a way of venting out feelings through your pen. You feel like shit, you get it all down, add some metaphorical nonsense and you have your angsty writing. I know how it works, I’ve written angst ridden literature before.

I don’t mean to downplay angsty writing at all, let me make this clear; a lot of the classical literature is very much angsty, and how they put their problems into words. If you read some literary criticisim, you’ll find that when you dig into who the writers were, that their work was often written when they hit bumps in their lives. W.B. Yeates wrote a lot about his problems with women, specifically when he was in a fight with one.

Now that we’ve got that straightened out, there are 3 essential elements to writing angsty style.

The Past
You have to explain how the world was before things changed for the worse. You used to frolick in the fields, played video games til the wee hours…whatever. If life was good, you have to put it into words onto paper. This is quite possibly the most important part of anything that is designed to vent your frustration while still being quality literature. Why, you ask? Well, as I was telling Manus Dei, in order for any of your words to have an affect on us at all, as readers, you can’t just tell us how things are. The general attitude is going to be “Well, life’s a bitch, then you die”. And it will be, however, people will see much more into what you are saying, sympathize, and recognize how things have changed if you let them see how things have changed. You have to explain that you frolicked in the fields when you were happy, and that playing video games made you shed tears of joy. Without these crucial elements, nothing really makes sense, and all we see is words on our screen.

The How
What happend? What happend that made the world flip upside down and into shades of gray? Why are things so bad? Who died? Did you fail a test? Did you get grounded? Did your sister molest you? Whatever it was, you need to identify it and put it down on paper so that we can see it. It helps the reader identify with you as the author, and understand the rest of the poem and why it means what it means. Be sure to include a relative timeline in what you’re writing, so that the reader understands that things are progressing in a natural order.

The Angst
Now the part that people seem to want to write about all the time. No doubt you’ll be able to get this one done pretty well, but you’ve got to remember to keep a relative timeline. Make sure the reader knows that the angst part is occuring now, in the present. This really shouldn’t require much explanation.

Let me remind you that in literature, there are no rules, only frail guidelines. Reccomendations on how to do things to set a foundation of how things work is all what I’ve said is. Nothing here is set in stone, you can do it however you want too. However, what I’ve noticed the most are that your angsty type stuff lacks this simple systematic solution - do it this way, and it makes sense. Otherwise, it’s just words on a page.

General poetry help is pretty simple - the things you read come in quick succession, so keep your words varied. Thesaureses come in great handy when writing poems, because you generally use a lot of metaphorical references to things. As such, starting every line with “I” makes it look like an eyesore, and unappealing to read, as well as makes you look like a rookie.

Still, the poet may very well be obscure in describing or alluding to these events and/or emotions. Poetic obscurity can allow the reader more flexibility in developing an interpretation and can emphasise doubt or confusion in the persona. I know this because I used to write free verse poetry many years ago (which was frequently full of angst, fear and doubt) and I received manifold interpretations from those who read it.

However, I feel that free verse poetry should make use of some poetic device. It need not be much. The length of lines, diction, metrics and rhythm (even if not consistent) should add at the very least some dimension to the work which makes it significant as poetry and not as prose written to look like poetry. Otherwise, methinks that there is little point in writing about one’s angst as poetry.

Very good advice, from both of you. Wish I had something to add, but hey, just don’t mind me - that works better.

I should visit this board more often… Or, well, I should start visiting at all for other reasons than people throwing threads in my face. (Note that that wasn’t the case this time…)

Very cool, and useful advise, Sorcerer. You are pretty good at this Media-advice-thing you know that, maybe you should try getting paid for it!

That’s pretty much what I’m trying to do - become a lit teacher.