1. imsoemo
    Offline

    imsoemo New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    How to make a Mysterious, Dark, Brooding Man (ideas)?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by imsoemo, Jan 17, 2011.

    Hello! I'm an amateur writer and I have *most* of the idea for my next short story/'novela' down, but am all out of ideas for a significant portion.

    One key character is a mysterious, dark, brooding man and I don't typically write about his type of character. I guess I need some brainstorming help/inspirations

    So I thought it would be a good idea to ask you writers, new and veteran alike, what you would find to be mysterious, dark, seductive, captivating, curious, etc. in a man, but not creepy, cliche or ridiculous. I'm aware that this type of character is very overdone lately, which is why I'm trying to really think him through.

    Please emphasize the word *man* because this character is a man, not a boy in high school/college and he's in his late 20's. I'm not looking to remake the Edward Cullen (Twilight) or angsty teenager type.

    Here's what I've generally got down so far:
    piercing gaze (maybe?), quiet, appears to be deeply reflecting on something often.
    That's really it...like I said... I usually don't write these characters.

    I thought about making him handsome, which would help isolate him (since most people are average) and attract the heroine of the story to him, but that just seemed too...overdone once I thought about it. So should I go to the other extreme and make him ugly/diseased or disfigured-looking instead? Or would average rather do?

    I also need some ideas for what he should do that makes him all mysterious and stuff (for lack of a better word). I was thinking he could be in organized crime (Mafia type thing), an assassin, a serial killer, a hired spy/agent, a gypsy, a member of a secret society, a gang member (e.g. Hell's Angels), a member of a terrorist organization, or something like that, but I'd like ideas involving him being a member of a community because of the structure rest of the story already in place. Anymore ideas?

    And the final part...any ideas that could be his 'flaw' that will lead to his death? I was thinking perhaps he has a terminal illness, a death wish (maybe), a suicide bomb, gets the death penalty, or is being hunted by an old, scorned foe. Anymore ideas?

    Thanks to everyone for all your help and time!

    (NOTE: & also, I'm wondering if the character described would classify as a 'tragic hero' since he is tragic and although his means are dark, his ends are - at least in his mind - heroic. Must he fit rigidly with the classic characteristics of the 'tragic hero' to count?).
     
  2. Sean2112bd
    Offline

    Sean2112bd Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    You could make him an anti-hero. How about a vigilante in the 1930's-40's when gang violence was prominent? He could be after a revenge of some kind and wants to get back at a local mob boss. His flaw could be a physical impairment, maybe he's a mute and can't speak. Or it could be emotional/psychological like insomnia. As far as looks go, just describe his features and let the reader imagine what he looks like. You don't want to outright say he's handsome, we'll know based on his interactions with people and the reactions he gets from women.
     
  3. tristan.n
    Offline

    tristan.n Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    If you're trying to make him be the classy type of mysterious guy, I would emphasize his posture and what he finds humorous. In my opinion, a person who seems distant from what is going on and who only smiles rarely or out of politeness is mysterious. Generally this type of person would be considered arrogant or a little odd, but there is something about that that sparks interest (or mine, anyway). Also, I think a mysterious guy is a guy who has an expression of "I'm thinking hard about something and I want to say something, but I think I'll hold my tongue for now." lol
    As far as flaws go, maybe an illness that's not contagious, but eats away at him slowly? Then he knows he only has so much time left and strives to accomplish his goals that much more. Or he could have betrayed some people awhile ago and they'll come back for payback or something. Just throwing ideas out there
     
  4. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,965
    Likes Received:
    5,490
    I'm afraid that I would see all but "quiet" as cliches.

    I'm imagining a man who's calm, composed, and not easily ruffled. Polite and moderately friendly, not too quiet, but without making an extra effort to please people, no discomfort with silences, no need to fill silence with chatter.

    Being particularly aware of what's going on would, I think, be better than being absorbed and brooding. I also imagine measured, deliberate movement, sometimes transforming into very quick and decisive action when speed is truly necessary, as opposed to when nervousness and fear might drive another person to speed.

    Now, these may also all be cliches, but they wouldn't annoy me as much as piercing eyes and brooding. :)

    I wouldn't go with terribly handsome or ugly/disfigured; I'd make him reasonably ordinary looking, though all that unemotional unruffledness could carry through to his clothing an general appearance.

    I have trouble with him being a serial killer, Mafia, any of that, and still being a "hero" of any kind. If you wanted him to be "gray", conflicted between good and bad, the secret society, spy, something like that, should allow for that.

    ChickenFreak
     
  5. Vintage
    Offline

    Vintage Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    2
    Actually, there are several possible ways to make such a character likable. To say that a character has to be good and heroic in order to make us sympathise with him would be a shame, because you would really leave out some pretty famous characters with that approach. E.g. Tony Montana from Scarface, Darth Vader from Star Wars (Who gets redeemed in the end), Batman (Except for his non-killing policy, he's pretty darn ruthless), Deadpool, Rorschach from Watchmen, Light Yagami from Death Note and so on.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,965
    Likes Received:
    5,490
    Oh, I can _sympathize_ with, and empathize with, and be interested in, and engaged by, all sorts of evil. But a, for example, serial killer who's also a "hero" doesn't work for me, though that may come down to the exact definition of "hero". (And, yes, I have watched Dexter, and I like it. :))

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    Your character could be reserved at most times, but react strongly to certain things, for example, being upset when he sees a child being abused, to hint that there are things in his past.
     
  8. tristan.n
    Offline

    tristan.n Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    I have to agree with Vintage on this. Sometimes an atypical hero is refreshing and more relatable than the saintly do-gooder. Granted, we don't all have a borderline sociopath mindset like Rorschach, but at least we can all admit he's a badass and therefore likable. lol
     
  9. tristan.n
    Offline

    tristan.n Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    And seriously, who doesn't like Darth Vader?
     
  10. CJStarkey
    Offline

    CJStarkey Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Maybe it wouldn't be classified so much as a "flaw", but perhaps his death could be from going out of his way to saving someone else? For instance, if he goes through the entire story being a bit of a loner and brooding type and all along was harboring heroic tendencies, so to speak, which finally materialized with him sacrificing himself.
     
  11. vanarie
    Offline

    vanarie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    4
    If you want to stay away from cliche, I think you should make him dark and brooding, or at least just dark and mysterious, only on the outside.

    Have him be a completely different person around his inner circle. Show layers of his prowess by letting the reader in on how he makes this dark image for the general public while keeping his true nature hidden.

    You can give examples of him manipulating the people around them because of their own fears or misgivings.
    ala person playing into their dark image just for political purpose.

    Just a suggestion.
     
  12. vanarie
    Offline

    vanarie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    4
    Oh, and please, nothing like twilight
     
  13. imsoemo
    Offline

    imsoemo New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys, these are all good inspirations/ideas and thanks to those also telling me what not to do, that helps.
    (and Vanarie, don't worry!).
     
  14. SashaMerideth
    Offline

    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    California
    So, kind of like The Batman?
     
  15. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    "...piercing gaze (maybe?)..."

    I don't know that brooding men gaze. They tend to avoid eye contact, IMHO. At least, I do when I'm in that sort of mood.

    -Frank
     
  16. vanarie
    Offline

    vanarie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    4
    I was thinking more real life people. Some are from personal reference and others are obscure Canadian political and/or crime figures. The two kind of go hand in hand don't they?
     

Share This Page