1. ladybean
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    ladybean New Member

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    Creating the bad guy:

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ladybean, Jan 4, 2010.

    Ok, so I've been at this guy forever and I keep writing around him because I just can't seem to make him real in my mind or decide what happens with him. The funniest thing, the whole story initially started with the original version of this character but he's changed so much and his role in it become so different he's become a sideline.
    The 2nd of two main characters basically goes awry in life because of this guy, he's a serious abuser. I have ideas about some things he does in the story in terms of abusive acts but that's it. I don't know how to give him life! I did some research on stories involving abusers but it wasn't really a help. There needs to be a progression of his badness like in the beginning as if his niceness was a negation and ultimately a plot to take advantage of the main character. He's not a good guy, he's messed up but the original reasons for him being so I feel aren't strong enough anymore since the story has progressed.
    He's a drug addict, could that be enough? There is a scene when he kills the character's cat on purpose. I'm not worried about him being too nuts because he sort of follows a rebel anarchist persona (its the 70s) but I am worried about making it believable.
    What are some ways I could get a better grip on this task? Both in bringing him to life and creating effective turning points that progress the seriousness of the relationship? :confused:
     
  2. navyblue
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    navyblue Member

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    Well no, that's definitely not enough. I mean when you read the words "drug addict", feels like you already have this mental image in your head, which is why the character would easily sound cliche.
    You could try this: Just make a list of all the personalities you can think of, good, bad, weird, quirky, whatever, just make this really long list (just think of anyone you've ever met in your life) and then start making random combinations. You would end up with something really original and to make it come to life you just have to believe that this is a real person you are writing about. :cool:
     
  3. ladybean
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    ladybean New Member

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    Cool, thank you for your reply. I'll give that a try. Just now since posting this I went into the Character development workshop posting and answered some of the questions that were asked and applied them to this character. I realized a few things and with your suggestion I have thought of one such combination that would apply.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Don't label drug addicts as 'evil', though some drug addicts have also been rather 'evil' people. This double standard thing is something you will find is very common in life; the word evil itself is utterly subjective too. Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler are good examples of evil drug addicts, on the other hand, Stephen King, Ernest Hemmingway and Carl Sagan are good examples of 'good' people who have been addicted to drugs of one description or another (well, OK Carl Sagan wasn't an addict, but be was a big supporter - like myself - of the legalisation of cannabis) and some members of this very forum might have had problems with drugs also. Please keep that in mind.
     
  5. ladybean
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    ladybean New Member

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    I didn't intend any offense, what I was actually referring to was whether or not the fact that the character, a heroin addict with a severe addiction, would be driven in his actions entirely by his addiction alone and not necessarily from other severe disturbances. Though he does definitely have other problems. Could the addiction alone could be a strong enough basis to stem his behaviour from?
    I was not implying that he is evil because he is a drug addict... the good character is, himself, very actively involved in all sorts of various drug use throughout the story. The focus is how it is the addiction that drives the deterioration of his life. Because the "bad" character uses getting him addicted heroin as a way of gaining control over him... the levels of power and abuse shift.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    No, it's not enough alone. And that is my point; the addiction alone is a reason, not a cause.

    It might be a character's disposition and/or view of life.
     
  7. ladybean
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    ladybean New Member

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    I guess the issue would have to be to find a way then to pinpoint (or just leave it unknown) why he would need so much to have that control or power over the other character, through whatever means possible to concoct the manipulation. It does happen, people who will manipulate someone to gain one thing or another because my sister was basically manipulated into helping someone buy a house and then he turned the tables and left her with nothing because she thought she could trust him.
    In this case he's trying to get him in a position of powerlessness because he's got money and he knows if he can get him to, he's got a meal ticket and that is what eventually happens. So there are two personalities here... naive, submissive, trusting, and desperate to be wanted and the other is basically what I've described. Manipulative, motived by self interest, controlling, etc. As I mentioned it's easy to get a sketchy visions in my head, fragmented scenes rather, of different situations that could have taken place where certain points defining the relationship are illustrated and not others. Putting it into words is hard for some reason.
     
  8. Sophronia
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    Sophronia Member

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    You could make a background story for him, a character profile that would give you a hold on why he is the way he is, as well as where perhaps some of his motives come from. Why is he an abuser? Was he abused by parents/loved ones? What got him addicted to drugs? Did he start using drugs when he was young? Does he find killing animals amusing because he simply likes violence and grew up around such?

    You don't necessarily need to put his whole background into the actual story, but a character profile could give you an idea of who this character is and help you develop him more in the story.
     
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  9. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    You could possibly do some research on antisocial or conduct disorder & go from there. If he, too, was badly abused during childhood and got no help, that may be a story; or, if he just can't get over his anger issues; that may be a story. You may want to put some "unofically diagnosed" label on him - bipolar disorder, antisocial disorder, conduct disorder, ODD, something like that.

    (I just took psych class, I know, I know.) :)

    -writewizard-
     
  10. ladybean
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    ladybean New Member

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    Thank you for your advice. I took psychology too and my sister has alot of experience working in the feild of mental illness so putting together a story about why he is that way would help. While this character, himself, is not a main character; he plays a very important role in what happens to the main character so I wondered for some time if I could just leave it unknown as to why he acts that way but even if it could work like that, writing a story about him just to aid the development sounds like it might really help. Either way, both of these characters suffer from their own problems only neither realizes or would be willing to admit there is something wrong with them.
     
  11. talieseen
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    talieseen Member

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    One thing that makes a character more realistic in my view (especially the bad guy) is not so much a flaw in personality, but a boon. It's like having a serial killer who helps out at little kid's orphanages because he himself was an orphan. It's a bad guy who wants to be stopped secretly but can't help himself. It's a quirk they have when they do something, a twitch or such. One of my favorite characters was a guy who was a wizard, he found that he had magical powers. However as a child he was beaten and kept in a basement for doing just the slightest thing wrong from his father's point of view. His father was a near fanatical puritan catholic, and of that many things were "black magic" and signs of a the devil. Due to this fact, even though the character would use his magic to save lives, he was constantly at odds with himself because he felt that this power must have come from the devil and so his soul was forever doomed to hell. It is the quirks like that I personally enjoy. For the drug addict one thing that you want to do is; Why are they a drug addict? How did they get started? Do they have a family? What do they think about their family? How does their family feel about their drug addiction? Has he ever tried to help? How far will he go to keep his addiction?
     

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