1. destinationless
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    destinationless Member

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    Creating an Evil Entity

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by destinationless, Sep 23, 2008.

    In my latest piece, I want to experiment with something that I never have before. The two master characters include a typical, modern-day daughter of Eve and Demon #12009, who's been assigned to ultimately corrupt her soul, but finds it difficult the more time he spends with her. -That's putting the plot in it's most simple structure.

    Now, I have no struggles constructing the human, but with the demon, I find myself stumped. One thing that limits me in my writing is that I have a hard time writing what I dont know about. (Perhaps I'm just not imaginative. :p )

    This demon is an ultimately evil entity, but also has feelings and can be easily swayed.

    I know this is an extremely broad question, but do you have any tips for me, constructing an ultimately evil character... with a soft side?

    -D
     
  2. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    The Screwtape Letters.

    There you go. If you don't know, learn from them as do.
     
  3. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    My advice is always to take a few classes in general psychology, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. This will help any writer a lot.

    Or pick up some university books on the subject at your local library. There are also free podcast of lectures online from UC Berkeley.
     
  4. Popsicle.culture
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    Popsicle.culture Member

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    I'm writing for a similar character, a demon in the modern day setting. Since he is a main character, he must be likable, but I ran into the same problem you did. He is also inherently bad.

    This is how I handled it:

    My demon, Agares, sees the corrupting thing as more of a job. It's something he has to do, but he doesn't always act in evil or malicious ways. He does bad things, but doesn't always take pleasure in them.

    On the other hand, Agares is also rough around the edges. He is not adverse to harming people who get in his way, and though he takes no joy from it, he doesn't have much pity. He's got a terrible temper, is prone to physical reactions including manhandling people, and getting into fights. He is almost entirely remorseless when it comes to his enemies, and even people who don't mean anything to him in a neutral way.

    Another excellent, excellent place to look would be Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen. I cannot praise that book highly enough, and it's spot on for this.
     
  5. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I've been a therapist for 19 years and have several grad degrees in the subject. I worked in the prison system for a long time and know lots about abnormal psych. I've personally studied the ideas back to the 19th century.

    If you need help, just ask.

    Evil:

    In high school I wrote this character who was evil yet smooth not overly masculine. I did that because I was sick of the Darth Vader super deep voiced monsters. Part of my anger is related to the fact that I'm a large muscular guy and frankly my feeling were getting hurt by the comparison between me and bad guys (no need to cry for me though).

    Years later when good anime hit the stores I noticed that man Japanese villains had this cool detected quality which I love. It fit right into my idea of a very scary and despicable character. Such a character fits into the extreme of some Asian philosophies such as Zen Buddhism and Taoism.

    The idea is that nothing really matters, nothing is real, that you shouldn't concern yourself with attachment, and sentimentality is a trap. A person like that might be a completely relaxed and calm person, or they could be a monster who just does as he likes viewing the world as a place which doesn't matter.

    I imagine that a demon who views people and our world as a quick inconsequential. He might be growling and frothing at the mouth, or after being alive for a billion years, or whatever, he might approach events in a bland, detached, and casual kind of way. That would be chilling.

    Thoughts?
     
  6. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a couple basic motivations that make for great evil characters.

    "Better than you." (This one and the last one are the ones I think would work best with a demon.)

    "There is no such thing as 'evil' or 'good.'"

    "Yeah it's bad, but not that bad. I'm still a basically good person." (That might be a little hard to pull off in a demon.)

    "The ends justify the means."

    "Misery loves company."

    Just take something that you know can produce bad behavior and magnify it.
     
  7. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Seriously, read the Book of Enoch. Its a biblical text that is not normally recognized as "divinely inspired" but it's early chapters contain the story of the Gregori, or the Watchers. A group of angels sent by god to live on earth and watch over man kind. However, lead by Azael (Who many equate to Lucifer/Satan) the Gregori betrayed god and lusted for mortal women. The offspring of the union were the giants of ancient times, the Nephilim (Goliath was supposedly a Nephilim, though the accepted version of the Bible does not express this view).

    Very similar to your story, and you could probably learn a little something that could help you with your character and the mythos of the story. You don't have to read the whole book. It's really a massive catch all with the Noah's Ark story and a surprisingly pre-Christian text that is very similar to Revelations towards its end. All you need is the beginning third (not even that much) of the book and you can probably find it easy online at Bible Gate.

    If he's ultimately evil he can't have a soft side. Otherwise he wouldn't be ultimately evil now would he :p. Don't go for ultimate evil. It's boring and no one is that fond of the destroy existence because I can types. I would say you'd be better off going for a, he is evil, but she makes him good, or he's just misunderstood sort of thing.
     
  8. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I also like the idea that both parties think they're right. It's much more realistic, and rarely seem in books.

    Example:

    Capitalists think they have the way to happiness.

    Communists think they have the way to happiness.

    Religions think they have the way to happiness.

    Nazis desired to create a perfect world, not one filled with horror as they ended up doing. Still, they didn't see it as horror and if they had won, you wouldn't hear about it at all.

    Few sinister people/groups view themselves as so. However, all of the above groups are seen as evil by the other.
     
  9. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    I think it kinda depends on what direction you want your story to take. Is it supposed to be a humoristic story, a really wicked love story or something like the Screwtape Letters.

    The fact the demon doesn't always take pleasure in his wicked ways says a lot about his personallity. Perhaps he just does as he is ordered, while trying not to look at the consequences. Even good guys do bad things. And a good demon can be... refreshing.

    If your really planning on taking this story to the 21st century, you may want to consider making hell work like a giant corporate business; have the demon worry about his stocks, maybe he doesn't get his bonus that year if he doesn't capture this soul. What does the demon do in his holidays the unions secured for him?


    ((On a side note; aren't all women daughters of Eve?))
     
  10. iknowimsoslow
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    iknowimsoslow Member

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    I REALLY like this idea. Most demons are the big brawny men so if I read/saw a charming, smooth man I wouldn't automatically think EVIL. That almost makes me want to abandon my current story and start writing something like that!
     
  11. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I'm a big muscular man and am SICK of the fit man as evil stereotype!

    When I working at the prison most of the worst people were skinny and small people. People like that are frequently filled with envy and hate, unlike a more secure person.

    A few months ago I got a part in a TV show because I was considered by casting to be "built---but manacing" looking. I was torn between telling them what a bice person I am and smacking someone!

    I chose not to live up to their expectations.
     
  12. destinationless
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    destinationless Member

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    Thank you -all- for your feedback! I'm definitely going to check out many of the suggestions at my library. And, of course, I am going to take into account of all of your creative suggestions.

    TheAdlerian: I am excited by your suggestion; if he was desensitized and uninterested of what he was doing, that would make him only more monstrous, wouldnt it? :) And it would make for a good transformation, if I decide against a static nature... Hmm.

    CommonGoods: (Firstly, yes. All women are daughters of Eve; I clarify because when I shared this idea with my friend a while back, she was under the impression I was working with the idea of a daughter literally coming from Eve's womb.) The direction of the story, I dont want it to be a love story or a carbon copy of The Screwtape Letters (although that was an imporant inspiration piece) but a really wicked friendship story, instead. -And I like your idea of Hell being a corporation (epitomes of evil :p ), but I'm wanting to keep the traditional views of Hell, at least for this story.

    lordofhats: I fully intend on reading the Book of Enoch; I had heard of it, but had since forgotten about it. Thank you. "If he's ultimately evil he can't have a soft side. Otherwise he wouldn't be ultimately evil now would he" -heheh... truth! Mayhaps I got my words confused; one of the themes questions if there truly is an ultimate good and ultimate evil. (Something I disbelieve in, personally.)

    CDRW: Thank you; I'm going to copy and paste those motivations into my research file and construct a few of my own while I'm at it. :)

    popsicle.culture: Isn't it a fascinating topic? Thank you for your input -I find this my problem as well; I dont want to make my master character someone no one will like, at least in some way or another. Now that I have an idea of what you have created, I have to make sure not to act similarly! Also, thank you for the recommendation; my father is a big Pratchett fan -we may have that book in my house.

    architectus: I love psychology, but I cant say I'm as well-versed about the subject as I'd like to be. I'll start with listening to the podcasts, as I already have a hefty book list ahead of me!

    Scattercat: Thank you for the idea; I've read it, and it was a major inspiration as to the formation of this plot. All I've got to do now is differentiate enough so that I am not creating a carbon copy, right? :D

    -D
     
  13. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    Yeah, think about our relationship to flies. One flying around your head is more boring and annoying than anything. It's not like you shake your fist at the fly and give it a big speech before trying to kill it. Maybe you don't even try to do that, rather you just swat around half-heartedly.

    Now imagine that the fly is smart enough to be aware of you and how he would feel.

    I think the typical bad guy is based on Hitler and how he used to give these public speeches with wild gestures sounding harsh due to the way German is pronounced. It's like every bad guy is him, which is boring. As is the muscular and fit bad guy, as mentioned. I suspect that comes from Nazi art as well.

    I think that if you look at political and business figures, and in the extreme, serial killers, they tend to be mild mannered and even bland people. Sociopaths are noted for using "charm" to trick and use people. Thus, it's extremely unrealistic to have sinister characters who mirror confident males with good self-esteem.

    Put a nail in that crap's coffin for me!
     

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