1. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    How far does obsession go?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by DeathandGrim, Jan 27, 2013.

    I am currently developing an antagonist character named Mr. Jay, an eccentric hitman in a local New Jersey crime organization. He has an obsession with being the best hitman around because to him reputation is everything. He's never failed to get his target before and became so bored with the fact that his targets are too easy and boring so he take an executive position in the organization and finds assassin talent for the street level urchins, retiring his old hitman days with a perfect reputation.

    Now fast forward to the story, he catches wind of the actual main character of the Story, Nick, who single handedly beats down two of his hand picked armed thugs sent to kill him. Intrigued, he offers himself to take down Nick, but its denied because of him being executive in the organization and that type of work being for the street level. To which he happily resigns and demotes himself back down to street level in order to take on the task.

    Long story short, he fails and ends up getting sent to prison where he slowly becomes mentally unstable obsessing over the target he failed to kill.

    My question is how far can obsession realistically go? I already have Mr. Jay's finale planned out (and its not a happy ending for anyone) but what I really want to portray is the psychological damage that Mr. Jay slowly will begin to cause himself over his "ruined" reputation as the perfect hitman.

    A couple of ways I thought of:
    - Having lines of dialogue altered from the viewpoint of Mr. Jay from what's actually said
    - Mr. Jay becoming paranoid of his organization

    Any suggestions on how else to do this? I haven't done a nutcase like him before.

    6532a02c592c11e287f422000a1f9afa_7.jpg
    Mr. Jay

    Think I posted in the wrong forum >.> my bad
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My issue with him "becoming" mentally ill is that in my view, a hitman is _already_ mentally ill. If your story intended to explore how obsession drives a sane person out of sanity, I think that you need to give him a different obsession, and a different profession, in the first place.
     
  3. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    A hitman is already mentally ill?

    I'm not sure about this opinion considering hitmen can be portrayed as perfectly straight forward such as Pulp Fiction or The Wire or A Bronx Tale or can be potentially be messed up like Deadpool or Deathstroke

    They're not mentally ill simply because of their job.

    But the plot is to drive him further out of his mind if you want to take that route, he's a villain not the main character so his obsession is going to be cross that's the whole point
     
  4. Keremcan Tarhan
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    Keremcan Tarhan New Member

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    You may think that a hitman must be mentally ill because killing a person is too far away from your reality but that's not always the story. Morals and Sanity are related but different things. People kill others for countless reasons, be it for self-defense, wars, for religion, to protect their views, for power or for money. While I agree with your opinion on killing is wrong, one does not need to be insane to kill others. It's just either they don't have morals or according to their morals, killing is acceptable.

    As for the story, I haven't really read anything about obsessive characters and such but from I have seen from films and animes I can say that altered senses and twisted reality is really strong ways to portray obsession driven insanity.
     
  5. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    That's what I was thinking of, to twist lines of Dialogue and how Mr. Jay starts seeing things

    Another plot involving Mr. Jay before his finale involves him being manipulated by another inmate, which wouldn't have happened if he was in a stable state of mind, into turning on his old organization
     
  6. Sved
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    Sved Senior Member

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    Obsession can go *very* far. In this case I would believe it started prior to him demoting himself!

    I think one way of showing him slipping would be to reveal how he is growing more and more preoccupied with the missed hit. Let's, for the sake of argument, he had a front as a rich and successful businessman, living at a prestigious address, children (who is unaware of his real job) in an expensive school, that kind of things. BOOM it ends when he ends up in jail but despite loosing all he blames Nick.

    Perhaps you could look up the symptoms of for example gambling addiction, as that's kind of an obsession which typically grows.
     
  7. Maxitoutwriter
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    Maxitoutwriter Member

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    What an interesting plot; I give you props.

    Obsession can go pretty far and still be realistic. In fact, I don't know if there is such a thing as an unrealistic obsession.
     
  8. Tea Sipper
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    Tea Sipper New Member

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    I know you posted this awhile ago, but obession can stem from OCD, bipolarism, etc. Try adding a few of those markers in his character make up. Worth a shot to play around with, no?
     
  9. Tea Sipper
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    Tea Sipper New Member

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    Ooops! Obession should of been obsession. Sorry.
     
  10. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    There's an "edit post" button :)
     
  11. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    Obsession can go very far. I don't remember the name of the person but he was introduced to this girl on a gaming website and fell in love with her. She already had a boyfriend though and he began stalking her - at one point he showed up on their doorstep and because he had no where else to go they let him stay the night. The girl - Stephanie? - could tell he was watching her and she couldn't sleep at all that night. The guy eventually went on to murder her boyfriend.

    I'll see if I can't find the name for you, if you are interested.
     
  12. Asaph Judea Wagner
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    Asaph Judea Wagner Member

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    Isn't the Joker Mr. Jay lol.
    If I were Mr. Jay, I'd be like these crazy conspirators. I'd use my wide connections to get out of jail. If I can't, I'll take the boys I trained and those I can trust and task them with helping me killing him. I'd have them collect every bit of information on him and tail him and look him up online. If I'm out, I'd get a huge cork panel and organize everything to cause him the utmost tragedy before taking him out of his misery. If I'm still in the jailhouse, I'd have smuggle the information for me and some tape to make everything clear on one of the wall, and manage the operation from within the cell. If he's a big gangster, they can easily buy the guards in letting him have a private cell with reception and a cell phone, or to transfer to one of those private prisons.
     
  13. Quetzalcoatl
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    Quetzalcoatl New Member

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    Writers have treated the theme of obsession to realistically frightening heights... You could read a few, to get a better idea of the concept. If you're short in time, though, you could read specifically about the characters in question.

    Humbert Humbert from Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
    Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
    Victor Frankenstein from Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
    Javert from Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

    ...If you don't have time, though, I strongly recommend you make some to read these great pieces of literature. :p
     
  14. JennyM
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    JennyM Member

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    I think your character can go as crackers and as far as your imagination can take him. I don't believe there is a limit to how far a human can sink - but then again, do you think you could access that deep dark place where the mind of the killer resides. I don't think a sane person can reach those depths, unless you are Stephen King of course lol.

    Good shout Quetzsalcoatl
     
  15. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    In fiction anything is possible. I do not believe that you can just "go crazy." You have to have the predilection long before that.

    Now, if the guy is OCD it will manifest itelf in other ways. He might wear a certain "lucky jacket" before he whacks somebody. Or there's a scene where he beats the crap out of a bartender who failed to order his preferred top shelf whiskey.

    But just 'perfection' is a slim quirk. For example, you can come to my house, run your hand on the bottom of the cases of my Harleys and find no road grime. My boots are always polished. Things that might rust are always oiled and adjusted. It's a not a quirk, I used to be a mechanic in the early 1970s.

    But if I found a dull knife in the butcher block I wouldn't howl at the moon, I'd just sharpen it.

    There should be some bizarre pathology in your story early on to show a slow decline.
     
  16. La_Donna
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    La_Donna Member

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    I agree with Quetzalcoatl

    I think you have to come up with a reason for this obsession. It's kind of like in Les Miserables (as an example) Javert is obsessed with tracking down Jean Valjean because Javert believes obsessively in the law and because Jean Valjean broke his parole he becomes determined to hunt him down because he broke that Law. Javert eventually commits suicide after Valjean saves his life because he cannot reconcile that Valjean is both a criminal who needs to be punished and a good man who saved his life. But the important part of this is the reason Javert is obsessed with the law in the first place. He is born in a gaol, in impoverished circumstance a family of criminals. Javert hates his humble origins and his poverty and the fact that he is ostracised by society because of his origins, and becomes a policeman to escape this position. Therefore, he becomes obsessed with the law because he is hates everything it goes against, mainly because he hates himself and his own origins.

    Therefore, there will be absolutely no reason why Mr Jay will go mad if he has no reason to cling to this person who got away. Maybe as a child he was made to feel like he wasn't good enough (I know this sounds really cheesy but he was abandoned by his parents or had a cruel father or something) so he always has to get his target. I think you can hint this background earlier on in the story, maybe by mentioning it conversation while threatening the protagonist. Then, and only then, when this is established, you could then do a POV from him or something.

    Otherwise, however evil you make him, however unlikeable, and however many "mad" things you get him to do, he will not seem real and will seem thoroughly "written". Often, the best and most realistic villains are those that have something sympathetic about them, as it helps to make them tormented.

    I hope that helped!
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A key characteristic of obsession is that it recognizes no boundaries.
     
  18. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    This one is actually something I toyed with alot, I like this. Because when it got down to it other than his obsession with his reputation and his own self absorption there's was no real reason behind his attitude. Like why did he become so self centered?

    Currently I actually reworked the storyline to where he gets a chance at revenge through a Mercenary group called the Birds of Prey when they need him for a "deed", however, I still want to point out this guy is going nuts from his failure so I'm still fiddling around with that as well
     
  19. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Sociopath would be the better description for a hit man. Now, can one go deep in psychosis, paranoia or Schizophrenia? Nothing to prevent the first two, but keep in mind if you go in the direction of Bipolar or Schizophrenia that those are conditions people are born with. While they might be diagnosed until either early or late in life makes little difference.
     
  20. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    As said, obsession knows no bounds - it will carry into insanity, murder and/or suicide if unrestrained. In stories that have a supernatural element, the obsession may continue beyond the grave. I imagine to be consistent, the obsessive hitman will have to complete that 'missing' hit in his otherwise perfect record.

    If he's not able to complete this task, he may become delusional, playing out the last hit on different people (killing them successfully, becoming an UNPAID serial killer), reproducing the circumstances exactly, driven by his subconscious to find peace by completing the hit. The further he goes down this road, the harder it would be to break through the illusions and confront him with reality.

    Have you thought about the background someone would have to develop this character trait? I imagine he was not close to his parents, who may have been very pushy academically - he was disappointed not to get 10/10 on tests, and perhaps was sent to a boarding school. Or a single parent, probably the mother, with a condition like OCD who struggled to get close to her son, and he threw himself into perfectionist ways to cope.
     
  21. Jahangir Khan
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    Obsession doesn't know limits or boundaries it can make the man do anything to get to the target.
     
  22. summerrain
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    summerrain Member

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    obsession

    Late post, but nevertheless.
    As far as 'obsession' being related to OCD or any number of emotional or chemical manifestations, I'm sure it could fit in there somewhere, whether harmless or harmful.

    I remember the character "Paul Kersey" in the movies "Death wish" (1,2,3) (4?)(played by the oh so talented Charles Bronson), in where he developed an obsession to find the monsters who'd raped his daughter, then raped and killed his wife, as they innocently waited for the 'delivery man' to bring their groceries to their home from the supermarket, they had together just shopped at. It was a grisley and bloody scene.

    He then became a vilgilante of sorts, discovering what had happened to his wife and daughter. Never having killed anyone before, this incident set him off into a murderous rage, and almost drove him mad with his efforts to locate these thrill seeking killers. Craving more revenge, he went out at night just to kill anyone he deemed to be an evil person, or threat to society- feeling justified afterwards. The city was on overload with senseless killings. He was obsessed, because of this life changing event, and after the creeps were found an 'dealt with' by Paul, he eventually put his gun away by the last of these episodes, and continued on in his life. Obsession conquered.
    Obsessions can be put to rest, possibly. I said 'possibly'.
     
  23. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I would strongly suggest researching the psychology of stalkers. This really seems up that alley. Stalkers become consumed with the object of their obsession and unless they are stopped it will never end well.
     

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