Creating an evil businessman

Discussion in 'Character Development' started by SilentWaves55, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    @SilentWaves55 You are most welcome. :)
     
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  2. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    It matters if that is how you envision these particular characters. But the tallness/shortness isn't a marker for whether they are evil or good. It's just part of their appearance. Many short people can be nasty businessmen, as well as tall ones, or beautiful ones or ugly ones or anything in between. They are short or tall depending on genetics, not personality. Of course if a person who is tall likes to dominate the shorter people around him, that's something you could use. But tall is not something a person has to be, in order to be dominant—and certainly not to be nasty.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  3. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Creating an evil businessman? What's next, a red firetruck?
     
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  4. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    Right. I was just using the height as a reference to how it fits in the real world today with how many leaders and presidents are usually very tall, which is very common in the world we live in but you're right cause there are plenty of short leaders, or with hair, bald, skinny, fat, their race, etc who could be evil. I agree that it matters on their personality traits and how they are presented which can make them the villain they are. I was just reflecting this character on my MC cause my MC is kinda tall so I figured it'd make sense for his father to be tall like him, sharing similar genetics.

    On another note, if my MC has just a little scruffy features, would it make sense for the father to look the same or could he look nothing like the MC at all? Would that question others if he's the real father?

    I have some pretty crazy, creative and wild ideas for imagining a unique style for a firetruck, so that I don't need any advise on, thank you :) but business guys i tend to be very generic in creating.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  5. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    How you envision your characters is part of the fun of creating them. So if you want a tall, ruthless businessman (I don't favour the word 'evil' or 'villain' applied to a character because it always feels like a comic book character—and can develop into a cliché) by all means, create one. And yes, if the man's physical characteristics are very different from a son, it could imply that the son is not his real son ...unless, of course, the son looks like his mother instead. However, in this day and age, anyway, there isn't any reason for the man himself to harbour doubt. Get the son a DNA test. However, a difference in looks might get bystanders speculating, that's for sure.

    As for leaders and presidents being tall ...I think you'll find that's not the case, really. A few of them are, but many are not. (George W Bush and his father certainly are not. Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon are not tall women either. Putin is a fairly short man. David Cameron was only average height, as was John Major. Alex Salmond was on the short side. Margaret Thatcher was only average height. As is the widely-respected Angela Merkel, seen by many as the de-facto leader of the western world, now that Obama is gone. And etc.) Take a gander at any photo of a bunch of world leaders assembled together, and you will see the variation in height. Trying to assign evil/good characteristics to them, based on their height, is a bit of a non-starter.

    I was very fond of President Obama, who was a reasonably tall, very fit man—with a relatively tall, attractive wife. As is Justin Trudeau, whom I also admire (with a very short, attractive wife.) Both of these men make the best of their physical appearance, without going overboard. I can't stand Donald Trump, who is also relatively tall, unfit, with a relatively tall, attractive wife. He could actually be a handsome man, if he made the most of his natural looks, got rid of the flab and pot belly, paid for a decent haircut, ditched the orange tan, developed a genuine smile instead of that pasted-on cartoony one he exhibits for the camera. A genuine smile would also lead to kindly eyes instead of cruel ones—which would also improve his persona a lot. Donald Trump, however, feels he needs a fake tan and fakey-styled hair for people to admire him. (Again, focus on what the character chooses to alter. What does this say about your character? Basic lack of confidence, despite his wealth and position of power? Worry about looking his age? Being short, with white, balding hair and wrinkles certainly doesn't seem to bother Bernie Sanders OR Bernie's supporters—so youth and good looks and tallness is not a requirement for respect. Self-deception, perhaps? ...thinking he looks better than he does? What does Mr Trump think he looks like with that horrible hairdo uplifted in the wind? Is he obsessed with appearance over substance? In others as well as himself? Hmmm....his wife actually said it herself, during an interview when she was asked if she'd been attracted to him by his wealth. Her response: "If I wasn't beautiful, do you think he'd have wanted anything to do with me?")

    I'm a little bit worried that you're trying hard to create a stereotype based on inherited physical shape and size. For a reader AND a writer, it's a lot more fun (and more realistic) to go the other way, and explore the things the character chooses to alter, and what the alterations reveal about the character. By all means, create a tall antagonist, if you want. But be wary of making tallness into a stereotype (like 'horrible business-y people and world leaders are usually tall.')
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  6. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    I'm not disagreeing with you and you are right about how height and size do not matter in terms of an intimidating boss like being short, balding old looking, etc. Thst was my mistake for misunderstanding me, in fact I may create such a short business boss character as another leader. The reason I wanted to design this one particular boss character (the MC's father) tall and such is because my MC is tall and built so I figured it would make sense for the father to be built and tall, not particularly because he's a boss leader. So that's why I'm trying to come up with ways he could have a slight resemblance to the MC who had strong, scruffy features and built.
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, nothing wrong with that reasoning at all. It makes perfect sense.

    Just out of curiosity ...IS your MC the son of the boss leader? Or does he just resemble him enough to make people wonder?
     
  8. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    I wanted this particular boss to be the father of the MC which is why I'm wondering if he should have similar resemblance to the MC. My MC is supposed to be somewhat scruffy, grizzled and hairy with strong features but that's also due to the MC not being well groomed.
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    "I am your father, Luke" is an incredibly over used trope/cliche. Also as numbers says an evil businessman isn't exactly an original character either
     
  10. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    He already would know it's his father and he wouldn't be so much evil just corrupt or has bad intentions and he'd dress more in a flashy, snazzy and casual sense. Not the typical MIB corporate suit man.
     
  11. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's your story @SilentWaves55 . Obviously bad guys often have sons, and sons often have bad fathers. I don't think it's a cliché at all. In fact, that kind of relationship is often seen in real life. Just avoid creating stereotyped characters, and their relationship will seem natural and original.
     
  12. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    Thank you. So if I really want to avoid him from being too cliche, would making him appear snazzy dressed looking with some stylish hair as opposed to the normal corporate suit look seem out of line? Especially for an old middle aged man?
     
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  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I was suggesting that the bad guy who just happens to turn out to be the MCs father in a 'shocking twist' is a cliche
     
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  14. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    I got what you meant now. Mine wouldn't be the same as they've previously met. Sorry for the confusion.

    Only thing is readers might get turned off as to why I have an older middle age business leader dressing a little bit more snazzy and dressy taste with more youthful looks as opposed to looking how a business leader especially his age would look owning a corporation.
     
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  15. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    You might want to think about how he got where he is (the father, I mean.) I mean, if he now heads a corporation and doesn't give a damn, isn't worried about keeping his business going, and isn't in any danger of being ousted from his position, he can dress any way he wants. He's rich and powerful, isn't he? He doesn't have to dress like everybody else, if he doesn't want to. However, how did he get started? Did he make his money by being flamboyant from the start, or did he work his way up a rather grim ladder, where he had to dress and pretend to think like everybody else? And now he wants to enjoy the fruits of his labour?

    What I'm suggesting here is that you think beyond the physical appearance a bit, and dig into why he makes the clothing choices he does. Let his appearance choices reveal aspects of his character. It's not so much what he dresses like as WHY he dresses that way that matters.

    The fact that his son dresses very differently is very much worth exploring as well. Are they simply very different personalities and naturally don't like the same things, or is the son concerned about being seen to be his own man, even though he secretly fears that he is, actually, just like his father—and wants to try to fool everybody into thinking he's not? Or is the son deliberately trying to annoy his father by dressing like a scruff? And if so, how does his father react to that? Does he get angry, or does he just laugh it off in a patronising way ...the kid will grow up eventually some day—I hope. And where, if anywhere, does the mother factor in here? Are the son's parents still married and still together? Or did they divorce, and his mother get stuck with very little money, having to raise a son on her own? That might explain why the son doesn't have the dress sense his father does. Whether he wants to acquire that dress sense or not is another aspect that could be important in the story. Does he admire his father and want to please him? Detest his father and want to beat him or infuriate him? Is he ambivalent towards his father?

    You don't have to tell us these things in the story directly, of course. (Or here on this thread ...this is your story, and you don't need our approval for anything.) These are the kinds of issues that we'll wonder about as we read your finished story, and will want to find out about ...so the reasons behind his appearance choices can be revealed subtly as the story moves along. But explore them yourself. Really get to know your character and what makes him tick. This will give you even more ideas, and you will find your story snapping to life ...for you, as well as for your readers.

    Why would you think readers would be turned off by the way your character dresses? They will be intrigued by the way he dresses. Because it's not what we'd expect of the owner of a corporation, we'll immediately be intrigued. Hey, this guy is different! However, it also poses a question we will want answered at some point. Why is he different from others in his position? Does HE gain or lose prestige by doing what he does? Does he care? Is he doing it deliberately to annoy his peers, or what? Does his snazzy dress sense make him look attractive, or does he end up looking like mutton dressed as lamb? Does he secretly wish he'd followed his original dream and become a fashion designer or artist of some kind? In other words ...dig into 'why.'

    I'd forget about turning off your readers by doing something unexpected. Do what you want, and make it count. The only time something unexpected will turn people off is when 'something unexpected' feels like it's been tacked on for no particular reason, and its implication never gets dealt with.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  16. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    Thank you, I appreciate it. I think I'd have him seeming a little flamboyant and not giving a damn in the beginning would suit him best when he started young in the business, as he gets older he'd be a little more serious CEO but still that decisive prick.

    I think I'm going to use a lot of the examples that were given to me here as inspiration for his design. I'm going to have to think ideas for those questions and true, I shouldn't worry to much about him seeming kind of unexpected to the readers. I just want to make sure I present it so they can continue wanting to read it.
     
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  17. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, but again, think it through. If he was flamboyant and didn't give a damn at the start, how did he manage to rise to such heights? (I don't need to know this at this point, but you do.) It's not the usual pattern, is it? Most of the grey corporate men I've been aware of did NOT start by bucking trends and being flamboyant in their personal attire. You've said yourself that this isn't ordinary in the world you're creating. So how did this guy rise so high? If he's in a creative field, that might work.

    Think Steve Jobs ...his clothing and personal appearance reflected his creative business philosophy—which wasn't what was usually expected of somebody who was the founder and CEO of a huge, profitable corporation. He projected himself as casual and comfortable and confident in his own skin, but also very up-to-date. His clothing and haircut style said: I know I'm a serious threat to the status quo, so I'll wear a T-shirt and jeans onstage if I want, because I know—and you know—that I'm way ahead of the game most other people play. I don't need a suit and tie to distract you and make you respect me. Instead, I deliver the goods AND a few surprises as well. Every time.

    Don't just tack flamboyant clothing onto your character because you think that makes him more interesting. You'll need to figure out how bucking the corporate trend in conservative dressing helped (or hindered) him getting to where he is now. It's got to make sense at that level, if you want your readers to get and stay on board, and find him believable as a character.

    As a writer, it's not so much what you do, it's why you choose to do it. What purpose do your choices serve in your story? Don't just think up something and tack it on. Follow the idea as far as you can, to create more depth to your character. That's the way to avoid cliché.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  18. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    Well my story would take place a little further into the future so that should give me more ideas to work with. In terms of how he was able to rise up, maybe the type of company he runs? Something interesting that's revolutionary like Steve Jobs had. What inspiration can I use? Something like augmented advanced body parts he created?
     
  19. dprice80

    dprice80 Member

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    Make a list of attributes businessmen have and don't have. Have: suit, slick hair, lots of money, etc. Dont have: morality, kindness, caring about people. Why are they like that? Suits are needed to fit in, money comes if they are successful. They are amoral because that's the nature of business, profit over people. If you give the businessman bad dress sense and a moral compass then you create some conflict there (other businessmen will mock him, and he might put his customers' feelings first thus jeopardising his business), as well as move away from the cliche, so I would say that is a good thing.
     
  20. dprice80

    dprice80 Member

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    Might also be interesting to start him off as essentially good, but then as his business progresses he starts to put his profits first. Lots of conflict and character development there.
     
  21. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    If you want to make him a normal successful businessman, don't have him create anything. Maybe he buys an apartment building with rent controlled units and implements policies to make the place uninhabitable until he can drive out the tenants and then drive up the rents. Or maybe he owns a private equity firm and saddles companies with debts. Or maybe he owns a health insurance company that constantly tries to screw their clients. Or maybe he owns an airline and is constantly reducing seat size so he can cram in more passengers while simultaneously hiking airfare. Or maybe he makes plants profitable by reducing safety measures and poisoning water supplies of poor communities.

    The possibilities are honestly endless.
     
  22. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    All plausible outcomes that I can work on, thanks guys.

    Now if I do decide to make this CEO father American, would it be very cliche if I made him tall with blonde hair and blue eyes?
     
  23. soupcannon

    soupcannon Active Member

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    1. noun; the act or process of locating.
    James Bond did that in Die Another Day. Here, Gustav Graves can be seen parasailing down to a meeting with the Queen (I believe) while wearing a £10,000 suit.
    [​IMG]
     
  24. Maggie May

    Maggie May New Member

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    Corruption/sleaze...you don't see it, it's not branded on their forehead. It comes from what they do, reaction to their surroundings and what they do not do. You can have the meanest, sleaziest, slime ball wearing the nicest clothes and has the warm smile, charming eyes everyone seems to like but there is something not quite right about him/her.
     
  25. SilentWaves55

    SilentWaves55 Active Member

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    That's very true, I'll try to focus more on that.
     
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