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Drama vs. Angst - Fan Fic Authors, do we get them confused?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by rhonderoo, Aug 23, 2005.

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  1. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 7, 2002


    [image=http://www.rhonderoo.com/ohdrama.jpg]


    While discussing the awards this past week, one of the questions that came up is, "Are Drama and Angst the same category, and what distinguishes a Drama genre Fic from an Angst genre fic?"

    I admit, I didn't really know the technical difference until I looked them up in the dictionary:

    drama
    n 1: a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage; "he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway" [syn: play, dramatic play] 2: an episode that is turbulent or highly emotional [syn: dramatic event] 3: the literary genre of works intended for the theater 4: the quality of being arresting or highly emotional

    angst
    n 1: an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom [syn: Angst] 2. A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression.


    So my question is this, do you find yourself using both in you fics, or do you purposely do one or the other? Or are they interchangable? Does one automatically follow the other? Can you overdo it? And when it is too much?

    Discuss. :)
     
  2. lazykbys_left

    lazykbys_left Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Um . . . sorry for being stupid, but does that mean angst is just a subset of drama? Or am I missing something?

    - lazy


    EDIT: Also, are the terms used in FanFic the same as the dictionary's definitions?
     
  3. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Good topic! :D


    Personally I have always seen angst as a subset of drama. You don't have to have angst in a drama but where you find angst you are sure to find drama. That has always been the reason that I've contended that angst doesn't need its own category. If you wrote angst it is a drama.

    I tend to use both in my fics. Angst sparingly though. And that's where the problem lies, angst all the time can get to be a bit much, but using angst in splashes can drive the drama of a story. So, in answer to your question - Does one automatically follow the other? - Yes, drama is a product of angst.

    In answer to your question - Can you over do it? Yes, if there is nothing but angst from start to finish, I think readers will get turned off. There has to be some reason for the readers to hope or a little smile amidst the anxiety-ridden moments of a story. Or why keep reading?

    edit:

    I think lazy answered the question better than I =D=
     
  4. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 7, 2002
    Well, if we look at the definitions, it almost appears that drama is more episodic, and is actually the "genre" as we would define it say, in a category, and angst a subset of that category. Interestingly, the synonyms for "angst" are "anguish", "torment", "anxiety", "sorrow" and "worry".

    Also, are the terms used in FanFic the same as the dictionary's definitions?

    This is what made me start this topic for discussion, I believe in Fan Fic we tend to use them interchangably, but should we? Drama, it appears encompasses angst, among other things. I guess if you look at in movie terms, a Lifetime movie (which has much angst ;)) is considered a drama, just like some of the more serious "romances".
     
  5. Shadowolf

    Shadowolf Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    May 4, 2005
    Gotta agree with the others here. I'd say angst is a subgenre of Drama. You can always have drama in fics, when you deal with greif or other high emotions, but you don't necessarily have the whole angst factor going on. At least to me it isn't an angsty sort of fic unless at least one of the main characters is depressed and/or questioning his/her self-worth to some extent. Many Anakin fics are quite dramatic but I don't see a lot that fit my personal idea of Angst. While many Obi-Wan fics flow directly from drama into Angst due to the heaps of guilt the poor character seems to carry around. I haven't read too much in the way of angst in OT fics, though plenty of drama, so the one deffinately doesn't have to follow the other.

    But there's also that fine line (for me at least) between Angst and Melodrama. If the angst in a story is over emphasized then we've moved into the realm of melodrama and I expect to see the hairshirts and wailing/gnashing of teeth at any moment. So to me the hard part is
    putting just enough in to keep the "this action will change everything, why didn't I choose a different path" theme from becoming "how could I have been so stupid?! I've destroyed everything, no one understands me, Woe be unto me!" sort of thing. That's where a good beta comes in, to keep you from straying off the path. :)
     
  6. Anakins_Force

    Anakins_Force Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Good topic; this is the first time I've considered this issue.

    I don't use them interchangeably, although I do agree that angst is a sub category of drama.

    To use the 3 main PT novels as examples, I would say there is no angst in TPM. Qui-Gon's death is tragic and it is definitely dramatic, but I don't see a lot of angst there. Obi-Wan grieves, but accepts and deals with death as we all do.

    In AOTC, Shmi being captured and tortured is drama, but Anakin's reaction moves it into the category of angst. The rest of the book is drama, such as Obi-Wan finding the clones, the battle, etc.

    ROTS--that whole book is angst ridden. Constant drama, and constant angst while Anakin battles the dragon and finally succumbs. Padme dying in childbirth would be drama, but the choke hold was angst. (JMHO)
     
  7. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    I've always viewed angst to be the highly emotional/unstable side of drama. Characters in angst pieces tend to lean more towards self doubt and regret than leading characters in drama, also the angst story focuses more on that self-critical introspection and is a more character driven than drama--you really have to get inside of a character's head to have angst, you can't watch it from across the room. Additionally, I think drama is inclined to resolution; whereas angst is not.

    To elaborate, I'll provide examples...

    Plot: Jedi Stereotypical's padawan Wonderboy is killed in a freak blender accident while making a smoothie for Anakin.

    Drama: Jedi Stereotypical decides to find Wonderboy's parents and tell them the news. After finding Wonderboy's parents and coming to terms with the loss of his padawan, Jedi Stereotypical decides to take a new padawan and keep him away from blenders and Anakin.

    Angst: Jedi Stereotypical blames himself for the death of Wonderboy. He regrets all the things he never did with Wonderboy. He worries about what the future is going to hold for the Jedi. He tries to find Wonderboy's parents, but has a hard time getting around his own emotional issues and dies when his transport collides with a asteroid. He may or may not have come to terms with Wonderboy's death--the reader doesn't know.


    By definition alone a sad story does not automatically equal angst. Drama can be gut wrenching. If you look at the film What Dreams May Come (this is the one I watch bits of to put me in the mood before writing any thing sad) it is quite possibly the most miserable movie ever made in the history of movies. It will break your heart in 24,302 places, but it's not angst. The POV of the main character and his struggles to locate his wife and redeem her is dramatic; however, had the story been told from her POV it would have been angst as she is crippled by her emotions.



     
  8. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2005
    I expect to be laughed at for this comparison so be my guest but Geometry theorems came to mind:

    1) If there is angst, then there is drama.

    I don't think the reverse is true, though. I mean, drama doesn't always have to include high and intense personal anxiety, does it?
     
  9. jedi_master326

    jedi_master326 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 12, 2005
    IMO...

    Drama=Star By Star
    Angst=Traitor

     
  10. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

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    Jun 28, 2005
    =D= jedi, good call
     
  11. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

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    Sep 16, 2004
    Agreed with you there, oqidaun. That movie came out when I was a Junior in HS. By the Force, I've never cried so much during a movie!!!

    Your other observations are good as well. Drama is the relating of events that are emotionally charged (or have the potential to be) while angst deals with the emotions and feelings the character(s) go through regarding the situation.
     
  12. Shadowolf

    Shadowolf Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    May 4, 2005
    I obviously need to go back and watch that movie again, all I remember about it is laughing my head off at several inopportune moments!
     
  13. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

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    Jun 28, 2005
    [face_laugh] I laughed til I cried watching "Where the Red Fern Grows"... I can feel your "pain".
     
  14. Shadowolf

    Shadowolf Jedi Master star 2

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    May 4, 2005
    [face_laugh] Oh man, someone else who finds the humor in sad movies, yay! I'm not alone after all!
     
  15. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    :eek: You laughed during What Dreams May Come? You laughed during Where the Red Fern Grows? And people call me sick and twisted. :eek:

    I finally found enough caffeine this morning to get up and walk to the bookcase where I keep my writer's guides. There's not any entries for angst (I do belief our use of angst in fanfic is exclusive); however I did find some keen things about melodrama.

    Here's what Ansen Dibell says in his book on plot:
    "If drama relaeases the electricity implicit in a small event, melodrama calls down lightning...Melodrama is the equivalent of a blinding flash accompanied by a loud noise...Melodrama is a technique of revealing reality by concentrating on the ends of the spectrum rather than the middle, the remarkable rather than the ordinary." (Plot, Elements of Fiction Writing, 81)

    Perhaps angst and melodrama aren't completely different things, although I stand by the emotional aspects of angst I've already pointed out--maybe angst is connected to drama via melodrama <--which, isn't automatically pejorative.

     
  16. ZebulaNebula

    ZebulaNebula Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2005
    I also see angst as a subset of drama. And you don't need death for Angst. For instance, when Tenel Ka lost her arm, there was great pained introspective contemplation from both her and Jacen (for those unfamiliar with the YJK, he accidentally cut it off in a freak sparring accident).
     
  17. YodaKenobi

    YodaKenobi VIP star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    May 27, 2003
    Exactly. Separating "angst" from "drama" has always seemed very tedious and unnecessary to me.
     
  18. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

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    Jun 28, 2005
    Well, yeah, but that is beside the point. Your "sick and twisted" is entertaining. Mine is just demented and irritating. I have come to terms with this.

    Zonoma
     
  19. Bale

    Bale Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 9, 2005
    So my question is this, do you find yourself using both in you fics, or do you purposely do one or the other?

    Some of both, but more drama than angst. Of course IMO, basically anything that isn't pure humor is drama, and even that could be argued.

    Or are they interchangable? Does one automatically follow the other?

    No, I don't believe they are interchangeable. I believe angst is a very philosophical subset of drama typically characterized by anxiety and often depression.

    Can you overdo it? And when it is too much?

    Yes, it can be overdone. Just as characters can become unbelievable by seeming too perfect, they can become unbelievable by having too much angst. As to when it becomes too much it's hard to say. Often, authors are flirting with the thin line between geniusness and melodrama.
     
  20. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Hmm. You obviously haven't met some of the people I have. They seriously need to get a grip.
     
  21. Jedi Trace

    Jedi Trace SouthEast RSA star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 15, 1999

    My 2 credits.

    I agree that angst is a component of drama and, IMHO, I think it tends to be used a bit gratuitously in fan fic. It is a viable and sometimes necessary part of storytelling, but I don't think it warrants consideration over any other facet of a dramatic tale. :)




     
  22. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2005


    I tend to agree. =D=
     
  23. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 20, 2002
    [face_laugh] I love that. Makes perfect sense to me. :D By that logic, then this should be true:

    2) If there is not drama, then there is not angst.
     
  24. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

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    Jun 28, 2005
    True!:D
     
  25. MariahJade2

    MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2001
    Angst is a subset of Drama but one doesn't need angst for drama to happen.

    the synonyms for "angst" are "anguish", "torment", "anxiety", "sorrow" and "worry".

    Angst deals with the negative effects on a person. Drama can encompass a larger range of emotions and situations, including happy events.
     
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