1. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    Dark characters, darker places.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by murasaki_sama, Mar 14, 2013.

    I like writing dark characters. Evil, amoral jerks are fun to write, because they do things the reader doesn't expect. I am not so good at the moral, upstanding characters.

    However, sometimes I will be writing a character, fully aware that the are dark and evil, and...the character does something, says or thinks something that makes me horribly uncomfortable. I've had two characters (so far) take me to places I was not comfortable going. Rather than continue writing, I dropped the story and now sort of refuse to play that character.

    I am bringing this up now because of an interesting twist.

    First I shall explain the history. The first character who took me somewhere too dark for me was an alien villain, who, while raping the protagonist, decided he wouldn't mind eating her afterwards - or during. I was so thrown I still refuse to write the character into any story, or even use the same names/different character in any story.

    However, a few days ago, I intentionally created a young female cannibal (recovering cannibal, actually, its been one year, ten months and three days since she last ate human flesh). I like this character, and, after creating her, I spent the whole day (and half the night) thinking about her, playing through potential scenes in my head, getting to know her.

    I ....don't know why I might be comfortable with a human eating another human, but writing an alien considering eating a human is disgusting. What is so very different about these characters that one is fun to write and the other is...sickening?

    Has anyone else had a similar problem? Either writing a character who ended up being worse than you expected/could handle, or writing a character you didn't like, and then ending up creating another similar character who you did like?
     
  2. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I have experience writing these characters and I don't feel any of them cross lines mainly because I know the world sucks. A large majority of my characters have done reprehensible acts and live their lives on. One in particular slit a kid's throat in a message to a small country's gov't (It wasn't his idea he was simply a black op) both he and myself were disturbed by the experience. But I never let the foul things of my writing stop my story because if they're that screwed up they're most likely necessary to plot or character

    As for your disgust with an alien doing sexual acts and then eating them instead of a human. I would say hentai but they don't do the latter (most of the time). I'm just gonna say you probably are disgusted by it because you don't know what aliens can do (or if they exist) and if that's the initial thought on your mind maybe it warped your thinking of the specific alien or something prompting a conditioned response to his presence.

    OR You don't have much of a problem with humans doing something -- that is rather vile by the way -- in that nature because you identify and empathize with humans more.

    Also the characters both sound Freudian to me In my opinion, just a side note
     
  3. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    I am not sure I understand by what you mean by Freudian.

    Although that I think about it...Perhaps it wasn't eating the human that I had a problem with: perhaps it was combining that option with sex (consensual or not). I'm not sure.... Hm. Or it could be that I evolve as a person/character in the last two years?

    I also have no problem with my characters performing horrible things. I was, after all, writing a rape (admittedly, he was the antagonist). One of my other characters fall in love, gets married...and then murders his wife, the mother of his child, on the orders from ....the people he obeys. He still loves her, but he kills her anyway. I didn't even blink at that one.
     
  4. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Perhaps it was the combination of sex and hunger then lol it does sound rather revolting
     
  5. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    That would actually explain the other character who disturbed me so much as well. Interesting. I am glad I decided to create a cannibal character, if only so I could better understand my previous revulsion.
     
  6. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    I write mainly bad guy's or anti-hero's that boarder on evil so I see where you are coming from.
     
  7. adibe099
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    adibe099 New Member

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    Could you have such an aversion to the alien's actions because you can't connect with his way of thinking? A human who is a cannibal may differ from you because she eats human flesh (I'm just assuming that's a distinction between the two of you, correct me if I'm wrong!), but she is still a human. If aliens do exist there's an overwhelming possibility that their minds work in entirely different ways. And most fear/aversion seems to be caused by the unknown because of its unpredictability.
     
  8. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    My first thought was to say, "I don't think so. I am quite comfortable with my other non-human characters."

    Except then I realized - I don't have many non-human characters. Intellectual, I like the idea that non-human do not think in the same way as humans. Apparently, however, I don't feel comfortable writing them, since I am rarely, if ever, inclined to create non-human characters. I have one alien and one Sidhe, both of whom took me places I didn't want to go. The only other non-human characters I have ever come close to writing are 1) a vampire, generic, once human and 2) a Ker'ai-ni, a member of a made up fantasy/alien race. However, I didn't get very far with my Ker'ai-ni, so I have yet to have a chance to see if I like or dislike his mentality.

    ...Until I read your comment, I honestly didn't realize I had so few non-human characters. Its almost disquieting, now that I think about it. I suppose the only way to find out for sure if the unknown mentality led to my aversion is if I try and play more non-human characters. Hm...
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like your first character ate the person while she was alive. I'm tentatively assuming that your second character at least kills her prey first.

    That's a pretty big difference. When we're eating food animals, we as humans don't normally eat them while they're alive. We kill them, clean them, cut them into specific pieces. We at least delude ourselves into thinking that we kill the creatures humanely, and beyond that, all of this could be seen as a ritual of transforming our meat from living being into food. We're uncomfortable even when that ritual is shortened - for example, when a lobster is tossed alive into a pot, or when we choose a live fish that, a little while later, turns up on a plate. Edited to add: And we're often uncomfortable when our food too closely resembles the living being - a whole suckling pig, a fish with the head still on, and so on. We want life and food to be separate.

    So eating a creature that's still alive is bad enough. But then you add sex, an act that is usually very much about two living beings. You're combining life and food in one horrible scene - your character feels absolutely none of our need to separate them. Your second character, if she at least kills and butchers her victims before eating them, is by contrast a much less horrible nightmare.

    Then there's the fact that your second character wants to stop, which suggests that she at least understands the moral implications of what she's doing. The first character doesn't seem to have any such awareness.
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yep, this is all very dark, to be sure. I can fully understand the need to walk away - at least for a little while. I had to do this myself, when I had to hurt one of my favourite characters in my novel. It was very upsetting to me, and I didn't enjoy writing that part of my story. However, the end result was worth it.

    You've come up with this bizarre idea. As a writer, you should follow through and see where it leads you. You might be very surprised, and pleased (or horrified!) at what you come up with.

    You can look at any horrible act from the outside, which is where we are all standing at the moment with this one. However, it's also interesting to look at it from the inside. In your first scenario, what does the alien creature think? How does he regard the individual (your protagonist)? He rapes her, so he's obviously aroused in some way, but why does this lead him to food? Is this connection normal for his kind, or is he abnormal in every sense of the word?

    Of course your protagonist comes into this as well, and will probably not be happy at the thought of being eaten, never mind raped, but we can pretty much guess that reaction. Or not. You can focus the story on how she/he gets away ...or take a big chance and go the route where she/he is turned on by the thought of being eaten by the rapist?

    Same kind of dichotomy can exist with your female cannibal. You can take this anywhere you want. You're the writer, and totally in control. Don't be afraid of your thoughts; let them develop as they will. I hesitate to say 'have fun with this' but I think that's what I mean. You've imagined a difficult subject. Now write it, and see what happens.
     
  11. DeborahFrancesAnderson
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    DeborahFrancesAnderson New Member

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    it would be the opposite which bothered
    me, how effed up are ya ha ha
     
  12. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would love to read more of your horrible charcters and their evil deeds.

    I don't understand you having to walk away or refusing to continue with the storyline. It's not like you're watching a movie or a documentary and something repulses you such as kiddie fiddling. The character is an extension of you. he is only doing what you are telling him to do. Maybe you have just realised you are one sick and twisted individual and these are your real thoughts or fantasies or maybe you are just trying to be dramatic or eccentric here for attention - Oh yeah I'm a writer and I have these thoughts and sequeneces and I'm really deep and meaningful and my characters are dak and mysteriously evil blah blah blah.
     
  13. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    ChickenFeat - Yes, my female cannibal kills her food before eating it. And technically the Alien never started to eat his victim, he just thought about how he wouldn't mind eating her. Your assessment of the situation is sound, and that could be one of the reasons I couldn't stomach the scene. I know that the scene in LoTR, where golem eats a fish fresh from the lake, sickens me. Perhaps that is why the Aliens idea of eating his victim threw me, because she was still alive and kicking, as it were. Hm.

    It is interesting to note how many "maybe it was this" things end up sound credible and possible; it could be any of them, it could be all of them. I think it is likely a combination of several factors.

    Jannert - I do not think the alien raping and eating a human is an idea I want to explore further. While it is true that technically I control my characters, I also give them the freedom to grow, and in the case of that scene, I was writing without thinking, just putting down the words that felt right for the character. I wouldn't say I took him there intentionally, and once he was there, I withdrew. Everyone, I imagine has topics, issues or concepts they do not feel comfortable contemplating. In order for me to write the scene, even from third person, I must feel as my character feels, I must be able to think as him. I can't go there, without forcing myself into an uncomfortable mind set.

    I also have no interest whatsoever in exploring the issue of vore.

    Deborah and Erebh - I found neither of your posts constructive in any way. Furthermore, whether it was your intention or not, I find the posts mildly offensive, as they implied direct insult to me as a person. I imagine this forum is, as a whole, more interested in creating an environment that fosters writers and helps them grow, rather than judging writers for the humor of it. I would suggest, that, in the future, you be more careful with how you reply to discussion threads. It would be sad if you drove off potential or new members of the site by suggesting that they are "effed up" or "just trying to get attention." Perhaps the writer is merely trying to address and understand the darkness in her own mind, so as to become more comfortable exploring the darkness in her characters. Perhaps she just wants to grow as a writer and a person, and thought this forum was the right place.
     
  14. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    I always question how dark should the subject matter be im still trying to decide how graphic I want the stories im working on to be.
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    ......................

    Yes, I can certainly understand that.
     
  16. Drstrong
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    Drstrong Active Member

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    In the longer story I'm writing, I modeled the character after myself, I'd try to not have the character stray away from me.
     
  17. Madman
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    Madman Active Member

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    -SNIP-
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  18. BlackCatMagick
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    BlackCatMagick Member

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    If you're disturbed by your character's thoughts and actions, odds are your readers will be, too. And that's good, if you're writing a horror or thriller piece. If you scare your readers so bad they can't sleep at night, mission accomplished. However, there has to be a reason behind a character's nasty streak. They can't just be evil for the sake of evil. Make their actions justified in their eyes. That's how you make a compelling character.

    Don't shy away from the dark part of your subconscious from whence your fiendish characters sprang - embrace it. ;)
     
  19. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've been there. And with our "main" story, no less. One of the protagonists, a homeless waif of a girl and her female friend jump at a chance to accept an invitation to a party hosted by a crime syndicate (they entertain the guests in exchange for all the booze/drugs they can drink/snort/smoke/shoot up) and they end up in the hands of one of the guests, this horrible sexual sadist who is such a powerful person in their society that he is basically above the law. I wrote the scene in a kind of a haze (by myself even though usually we always write together with KaTrian) and since we constantly revise/reread/fix the story to get it finished, I have to revisit the scene over and over again and every single time I just feel sick to my stomach from what he does to the girls. Granted, I didn't write what he did to them. The things are just hinted at in a later scene when the girls are in a hospital and a doctor tells another protagonist what injuries the girls have suffered and what operations they have to go through just to survive (and even then their survival isn't certain).

    For a long time I wasn't sure whether I wanted to keep the scene in the book but then I figured that because stuff like that really happens all the time (especially to victims of human trafficking), I wanted to sort of... give the reader a proverbial slap, a wake up call to say "hey! This sort of shit is really going on in the world! We have to do something about it!"

    So yeah, sometimes things get... dark, but I still feel compelled to get the message out there especially because to me, sexual violence is the absolute worst thing a person can do to another human being and for the life of me, I can't fathom how anybody could ever do such things like described in the true account book "Natashas" by Victor Malarek (it's about human trafficking and some of the stuff he reveals is just nightmare-inducing).
     

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