Sunday, April 10, 2011

Badass Scars

Something I'm sick of seeing in any story is a character with a wicked badass scar, which is typically on their face. If the character is meant to be a rugged, roguish hero, it'll be on a cheek so that it's noticaeble enough to make them rugged but not enough to impede on their good looks. If the character is a villain, expect it to be longer, possibly the entire length of the face. Probably it'll cover one eye and there's about a 50/50 chance that that eye is some weird color.

Okay, not a badass. Evil though.
I guess that's the best position to show right away that your character is seriously bad news--it doesn't serve much of a purpose to have your ragged, war-torn character that way if clothing is obstructing the view--but, damn, haven't we had enough already. I guess it's fine for comics, such as Dr. McNinja: when you have a limited amount of text and 90% of info has to come through visuals, you have to make the maximum amount of impact in the shortest amount of space. I hate reading about it in literature though. Given that space constraints are far less in a good novel, you don't need to apply these things like badges.

It's funny how quickly you can identify the traits of a scarred character. The eye thing means they're an awesome fighter (because characters like this can typically survive and kick ass even without full use of their senses). If it's across the chest they likely survived some mortal wound that should have killed them, and likely have a survivor story. Burn scars across 50% or more of the body? Villain. Something to do with mentally linking severe burns to hell, and hell to evil, I'm guessing. On a hand, or say, a forehead, said scar is likely going to be shaped like a thing and will probably be part of a prophecy or just act as positive identification for the character. Harry Potter is probably the best recent example of this. Also the most hilarious because, frankly, his makes him seem like a complete puss. "Ow! My tiny lightning bolt-shaped scar hurts!" Jesus, man up.

 Sometimes this is awesome.
You're not going to find a lone scar across anyone's arm or leg unless it fit's that requirement. More likely is that if a character is going to be wounded on a limb, it's probably missing and has been replaced by something more awesome. If it's a fantasy setting, expect a hook, or a sword. Possibly a chainsaw if you're going more into steampunk territory. The closer you get to more modern day the more likely you're going to see a gun.

I think that should I ever choose to add a defining wound to a character's past, I'm going to make it something that hasn't been done before. Maybe a missing nose. No, better yet, just one nostril completely gone. Never seen that before.

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