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Joined : 2010-11-25 Posts : 1317 Karma : 14 Age : 29 Location : New England, United States
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Subject Post 1Subject: Making of an Insane Character (Need insight on making a successful one) Sat May 31, 2014 12:40 pm
Josh Burner (aka joshscorcher or The Fiery Joker) inspired me to make something rather crazy, but apart from his "Top Fifteen Craziest Characters," I want some insights from PH Membership and Staff sort out what would be more to the idea of what makes an insane character seem so fun to play with. As a man of reason, I have lacked that necessary energy that would make the insane character work.
Feel free to go in depth and recommend me sources and links to sites to look into for more information about making a great insane character. One liners are fine in this case because insane characters are not everyone's cup of tea and some of those would like to help regardless.
Joined : 2010-07-06 Posts : 128 Karma : 1 Age : 27
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Subject Post 2Subject: Re: Making of an Insane Character (Need insight on making a successful one) Sat May 31, 2014 6:43 pm
The reason insane characters are so much fun lays in the fact that they are completely and utterly random. One moment you could be punching a guy and the next minute you are break dancing. Insane characters have absolutely no morals at all and usually do not use reason to justify their actions. They just do it. They don't care who it effects or what happens after, they do what they want for the moment instead of thinking long term into the future for the most part.
I find insane characters to be enjoyable, but if that is all you are writing it becomes sort of asinine and boring after a bit simply coming up with random bits of wit and insanity via your writings. If you don't get bored of creating these situations, then it is clearly ideal, and absolutely worth it. But those too grounded in rationality will usually find insane characters to begin to lose their edge after a bit and simply start going back to their old habits.
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Subject Post 3Subject: Re: Making of an Insane Character (Need insight on making a successful one) Sat May 31, 2014 9:05 pm
«SO YOU WANT TO MAKE A CRAZY, EH?»
I should start things off with saying I haven't watched a single minute of the video. Too inticed by other entertainment at the moment to do so. However, I can provide insight into this being that I have two of the most mentally unhinged characters on the site. (I'm looking at you, Mana and Khala.)
So when it comes to crafting an insane character, most people assume they are crazy for no reason and leave it at that. Well -- there can be fun in ambiguity, akin to the character if you all. However, if you want to make a truly compelling character, you shouldn't look ahead but behind you. A person does not awake one day and decide: "Hmmm....today I'm going to ignore all logic and go outside wearing nothing but my boxers and killing everyone I can within one mile radius with nothing but a pick axe!"
Nay. You go deeper into their origins and piece together the daunting trail of history that made them that way. Was there some sort of disease that damaged their brain? Could it have been a traumatic event? Perhaps they eventually found safety in the deranged? For example: say we make a character named "James" who has little to no empathy for the human condition. As such, he has learned to live away from others because he snaps at the drop of a hat whenever he is near another person. So much so that at night, his persona seems to shift from that of a shut-in living in the hands, to a mass serial killer who kills hordes of victims through means of arson.
We could say that during his childhood he was constantly abused by other members of his speicies. One such traumatic event could be an incident where his own schoolmates attempted to burn him alive. First, they would hunt him down like an animal in his own home. Then, these upstanding members of the human race would yank him out to an abandoned old building, tie him up and light the torch and match to send him straight into the embers of hell. From there, James, through one means or another, managed to escape the building in the nick of time and had time to reflect on the night at end.
Maybe they didn't like them, maybe they did it for kicks or perhaps they were just plain sadistic; James never understood. Yet, it is this critical moment where his mind snaps in two like a flimsy paperweight and he gains the notion that most of humanity is scum and needs to be eradicated. To protect himself from the scars and hurt associated with associating with other humans, his waking mind yearns to escape into the woods and live amongst mother nature.
But, when the light of the moon dawns, a new mask is dawned. Losing all sense of self, his mind turns to sunder and morphs personality. In his new monstrous form he has deemed himself as a force of nature to kill all humans he sees. This persona only comes out on night -- which is incidentally the same environment where he himself was nearly killed. All the while, using their own instruments of torture, James sets out to become the "Torturing Liberator" and seeks to kill as much of humanity as he can with the smoldering embers of hell. In this way his alter-ego seeks to protect before himself and the world from such cruel beings despite being a member of the race he so despises.
I could go on with this grotesque example, but I'll stop here. By now you should more than see the point of developing a truly demented character by providing a solid back story. Along with that, I recommend reading into the physiological of the human mind and researching mental illness in general. I'd also advise, that if you are going to make an "insane" character, you should have moments of balance and have varying sides to their persona.
Say, for instance, we take someone like the Joker for examination. Sure, we all know he is pretty crazy, but he isn't constantly shoving it in our faces every waking moment of his performance. He can be quite the charismatic fellow in some portrayals of his many incarnations in the Batman-Verse. And like an enigma, no one can quite understand why The Joker does things simply for the hell of it. Yet, in spite of that, if one were to truly understand his mindset they'd know he is always plotting something.
The video above is a great example of that. Sure, he loves to cause chaos and wants to have a joke or two, but nobody even guessed that he used the platform of a bomb-threat broadcasted across national television as a means to brainwash the poor souls who watch it into madness. That right there is what I am talking about when it comes to his more cunning side despite obviously being off his rocker. So despite being clinically mad, it's obvious that the joker is pretty intelligent.
Therefore, you should always give them different shades of personality to make a truly compelling "insane" character. So to conclude: not every kooky character needs to go around constantly screaming, hollering and killing people just for shits and giggles with no discernible reason as to why. If you want something to stick, make it count by providing a solid character base as you would any other character. Is Superman always calm? Is Batman always in control? Hell, are you always one emotion? No one is always one state of mind and to make a believable "insane" character, you need to mix it up a bit and provide context as to why they are that way.
Making of an Insane Character (Need insight on making a successful one)