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You see them all the time in movies, comics and books. Dark Heroes. It is a trend that has grown strong over the past few years especially. Characters like The Crow, Blade, and Mel Gibson's Character in "Payback" are all good examples of Dark Heroes.

Is this an over used cliche? It certainly can be. But a Dark Hero can also bring life to a story or bring real tension to a situation. 4-Color characters have had their run, maybe it's time for some good Dark Heroes.

I'm often accused of being too dark. The world I write most of my comic style work in its extremely dark and bleak. What better setting is there to show the color and humanity of characters and stories than the contrast of a dark world? Allow me to offer some advice about writing dark characters.

1. Avoid cliche's. I know, sounds funny on this topic. I mean, don't make them quiet loner types with a trench coat and a cigar. Dress them up, give them some unique features.

2. Give them a real background. Why are they so dark? What happened to them? This is a major factor in creating a realistic dark character, hero or villain. What made them this way?

3. Give them a goal. If a person has such a dark place in their past, how has it affected them? What do they want to do about it? Avoid things like "Revenge". Give them a real goal. Don't rule out revenge, just don't use it as a singular motivation.

4. Give them a personality. Just because they may have dark morales doesn't mean they can't be charming. Ted Bundy was charming, but he was a serial killer.

5. Give them something to believe in. Nothing drives a character like their beliefs, or even lack of beliefs. Even thieves have a code. Maybe your character doesn't believe in killing innocents, or doesn't have the stomach for violence.

6. Round out your character. Give them a history, family, and personality traits. This is always good advice when building a strong character. Maybe your character is fat, or short. Maybe he/she has a lisp or a limp. Maybe they are afraid of heights or snakes. All these things add to the selling of your character. If your character isn't believable ( even in a fantastic setting ) the story will fail.

Christopher Crowe
Editor - Lit.Org


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Chrispian H. Burks
Lit.Org Owner / Founder
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