Author Topic: How evil is too evil?  (Read 11657 times)

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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How evil is too evil?
« on: January 29, 2009, 03:33:54 PM »

It has always been a challange for me to write believable evil characters.

I've had some that were not easy to like, some that were down right mean, and I've killed a few off from time to time.

But a character that is really evil has been beyond me . . . until now I believe.

In my current work in progress, this man begins life much like any other yourng man of his day and time. But something happened that twisted his thinking, making his outlook on life in general and his life in particular, change almost over night.

As a result of his change of outlook, he commits a crime and gets away with it. Later he figures if he can do it once, he can do it again. Again, he gets away scott free.

This feeds into his selfish and egocentric personina, making him feel nothing can touch him and that he is entitled to do anything he wants.

All this has lead to him being evil through and through. Other than at the time of his youth, there is no good in him.

The reason I'm sharing all this is to ask: Have I gone too far into the dark side to allow him to be a believable character?

Should I give him a dog that he can pet and love at least, as much as he is able to love anyone or anything other than himself?
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GondorianPrincess

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2009, 03:40:44 PM »
Go to

www.crimlibrary.org

Look up the serial killers and other people such as that. Jack the Ripper, The Green River Killer, BTK, there are some evil people. I like to read such stuff and I love to watch police documentaries too. I know a lot about murder and the different things that people have done. None of them are too originl, I don't think that most people can come up with an original way to kill someone. It's usually a knock to the head, a knife, gun or poison.

Anyway. From what you have described, your character could easily become BTK or Jack the Ripper if he had the mind set too. Most Serial Killers have a huge ego and they write to the police and news papers to get attention. Its the 'you can't catch me' syndrome. But, in the end they do get caught.Not Ripper. But that was the earliest Serial Killer case known and the technology to capture the man had not yet been invented. Of course, you must also take in the account of Sweeney Todd. If he was a real man, he might have been the earliest serial killer besides the Ripper, but no one can say for certain.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 03:48:07 PM »
I would say, what is his purpose in the story? Is he there for the reader to hate completely or will he fight his way back from the dark side.

If he is to be hated, have him kill the dog and push old ladies into the gutter too.
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GondorianPrincess

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009, 03:50:04 PM »
hahahahaha!

I heard someplace that a writer must never kill off the dog/puppy. That would make a lot of people grab up their torches and kill the character for you! *lol*

(I haven't done it)
*watches out for torch and pitchfolked armed mobb*

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 03:53:41 PM »
Thanks Nilo and Skip, you have eased my concious about this man.

And Skip, no, he will not see the light and change his ways. I don't think he is capable of doing that.  For that reason I believe should he get a dog, the dog would have the good sense to head for the hills, leaving nothing more than a pile s**t behind to show he had ever been there.

 
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The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

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I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline thatLous

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009, 03:57:31 PM »
I have fun writing about evil characters! They're always at least a protagonist or a secondary character to most of my stories, and the conclusion that I basically got from my evil little brainchildren are that they just want to have fun :) Jeff Lindsay showed his character, Dexter Morgan, with an uncontrollable monster inside him; the 'Dark Passenger' he calls it, a need to fill a hole inside and make him... I dunno. Feel?

In my opinion, some people deal with their monsters by doing normal things, like write about them or paint it on a canvas; draw it somewhere, do something daring like those motorcycle daredevils, beat someone up just for the hell of it... these guys deal with it another way. For them, it has a purpose, no matter how small or ridiculous or complicated... it may not be something that we'd understand, but when did we ever understand every individual's most personal agendas?

I love that website! The first time I found it, I devoured it wholeheartedly. A wonderful archive of the most amazing (and baffling)  historical accounts ever to have happened on this earth, and psychological studies, too :)

What's your favorite article there, Nilonimir? My personal fave's Marquis de Sade and, you know, all the cannibals there, like Ed Gein...

Other than that website, there are wonderful books that somewhat delve into the killer's mind - Portrait of a Killer by Patricia Cornwell, Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books, American Psycho by Ellis, Silence of the Lambs et al by Harrison... they all make me feel squiggly inside.

... why are you walking away from me?

Offline eric

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 04:00:41 PM »
Aw, Nil--I want the pirate back!  It's so you!  No comment, Louie ... heh heh ...

GondorianPrincess

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 04:03:38 PM »
*lol*
I love pirates, the romanticised ones, I'll put it back if I can find the vatar again. *lol*

My favorite on the crime library site is "Sweeney Todd". When the movie came out the Christmas before last I had not the chance to see it because no one wanted to go to it with me. So, I got the soundtrack and looked up any historical facts that I could about Sweeney Todd. Some believe he is fiction for a Penny Dreadful story, but, there is a slight historical account that alludes to Sweeney Todd being a real man and doing what he did for money and not revenge. THe musical changed the Barber's intentions for killing to revenge instead of pure greed.


Offline ma100

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2009, 04:04:48 PM »
I think what you are doing is the same as me with my character Alice. Trying to give them other dimensions. I am finding it hard cos I can't stand the b***h in my story, but I have to find something good about her or something that made her change into what she is. I have changed her name to something I like to try and influence my brain. ;D

GondorianPrincess

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2009, 04:08:34 PM »
I like the name Sweeney, I would use it if I could get away with it! *lol*
My BF loves evil characters. There isn't one that she doen't like/wants to marry! *lol*

Offline thatLous

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2009, 04:12:40 PM »
Anyways, I'm on the ground now. Erm... sorry for getting way over my head ;D

Now - there's this one killer that I remember, I forgot his name, that officials thought his madness began with falling hard on his head too many times when he was young, which had literally broken his mind. Some of these guys eventually come to these dark thoughts because of the brutal environment they've been brought up in, and their minds were already damaged. Some of them were pathological liers (something dominant in the frontal lobe I think?) who felt no guilt in telling a false story. Perfect for making up alibis.

Basically, they already have it in them. Extreme narcissism; a strong egotistical attitude; an unhealthy obsessive nature (one that even drove a mother to killer her children just to be together with her true love, and another to killer her lover's wife because of her obsession). They can't become killers unless something is already there, I think... what's your opinion on this? In a sense, we all have our dark sides... but, erm, I'd rather not dwell on that further.

Your character - he'd be drunk with excitement. The thing that used to hide within the shadows of his humanity was let out once, and he liked it. There's no turning back for him.

The pet should be there for a reason. I do believe in a gray area... he might be doing all these bad things because he believes in a twisted, higher goodness? He might be doing it for God!

There's another particular thing that I remember reading - a 'do's' and 'dont's' of some sort: the writer was depicting a hardened assassin, and out of the blue the character looks at his mother's picture on the bathroom mirror. He reminisces - almost too much. If you want to show humanity in your character, it must be something from within his nature already...
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 05:11:45 PM by ThatLouie »

Offline thatLous

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2009, 04:14:00 PM »
Aw, Nil--I want the pirate back!  It's so you!  No comment, Louie ... heh heh ...

 ;D I get overexcited sometimes... *cough*



Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2009, 04:27:43 PM »
Thank you ThatLouie, you've given me so good information to mull over.

I'm doing two things at once right now, editing the earlier parts of the novel and working on finishing up the ending.  Only doing it that way because I need a break from one or the other at times, but keep being drawn back into the story -can't stay away too long without withdrawal pains.
MWC Charity Publications.
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The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

GondorianPrincess

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2009, 04:29:20 PM »
Louie, I'm the same! *lol*

I have heard that there are three things that could be the signs that someone may turn into a SK.

Extreme bedwetting

Killing little animals, torturing too...

an extreme ego...

I don't beleive any of these, not even the bedwetting. I think the bedwetting is weird and shouldn't be included in this. SOciety does not condone such behavior and people have to explain it and so....bedwetting...sure, lets go with that!

*rolls eyes*

SK's also kill for the sheer enjoyment of it. They kill people because they can and they have gotten away with it at other times. Sometimes they also go back to the scene of the crime and watch as their crime is discovered. And since no one saw their murder, who can say that it was them?

SK's are also normal, everyday people. They don't wear a black hat or have beady eyes to say that they are a bad person adn will kill you if they ever got the urge to do so. Another thing about these people (I say that becuase Women can also be SK's) is that the urge to kill is there for a while, when they have sated that hunger, it will usually go away. But, it comes back again.

SK's also have a pattern to their kills. The norm is the victims of the same race as the SK. But, there have been some who kill other victims of other races as well. Some kill only women and other boys/men (Like what's his face who found out he was gay and he killed other of his sexual orientation).

Sometimes, its the patterns that are important and can lead to the SK. Or a victim who survived and attack and can later identify the person.

Offline thatLous

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Re: How evil is too evil?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2009, 04:42:53 PM »
We must remember that they're still human too :) Their minds are just as complex - you may be asking yourself why you're OCD over a couple of strange things... you may as well ask them why they're obsessed with blood.

Elizabeth Bathory has an obvious reason why ;D

The bedwetting bit is weird, though, but I guess that it has an explanation for it? See - these behaviors, if we look at it generally, aren't all that unnatural. Some people can be extremely narcissistic, and they channel it through making themselves more beautiful or something. Who knows what completely causes this? I think that human beings are too complex to completely understand...

Quote
SK's are also normal, everyday people. They don't wear a black hat or have beady eyes to say that they are a bad person adn will kill you if they ever got the urge to do so. Another thing about these people (I say that becuase Women can also be SK's) is that the urge to kill is there for a while, when they have sated that hunger, it will usually go away. But, it comes back again.


There was this belief once, back in Jack the Ripper's days, when they actually had a checklist of how killers were supposed to look like :D Anthropometry, I believe; measurements of the human body (mentioned in Patricia Cornwell's Portrait of a Killer book). Jeff Lindsay's Dexter shows so much about masks at this point :) Dexter Morgan 'pretends' to be human...