•Edgy Character Design•

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Wolf and Star's picture
Wolf and Star
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 03/14/2014

Hey guys! If you didn't already know I am writing a short story (spanning only a few chapters) and I am currently at the character design stage. I have the plot drafted and most of the main characters. One particular character I feel the urge to give him an edge. I have nothing against edgy characters, they are actually really fun to write, but most of the edgy characters are just exac.uted poorly. I don't want him to fall into the over used "parents died at a young age, now I hate my life" type. Do you guys have any advice of how to make a solid, original, enjoyable but edgy and scarcastic character? Thank you.


Welcome To My Signature

"You know, I'm cursed with morals. I was raised a certain way. I wish I wasn't. I wish I was raised by wolves." -Carson Daly

In Game Name (IGN): Nyghtingale

Friend Code: Not Accepting


(By Arrow)






 Art was done by Fireflash

Nyghtingale is my in-game character. She takes on my own personality because... she is literally me. During quests, Nyghtingale loves to muck around and try to break the system by utilizing glitches- just for laughs, but she always produces reliable results. She is a fair Viking and she never uses glitches for her own personal gain. Some of my profile info will be listed below:.............



In Game Name:  Nyghtingale..............

Friend Code: Not Accepting...................

Clan: The Phantom Lords......................

Trophy Count (About): 8,500...............



















 Art was done by DuskDayBreak

She prefers to be called Lynx . She hates her real name. Lynx is bold and loud. She is like Luna Lovegood in the sense that she is rather... odd. Loud, shameless and spontaneous (not to mention immature). Lynx enjoys being flashy, showing off her skills. Once she sets her mind to something, she is naturally good at it. The problem is that she loses focus easy and doesn't like setting herself to standards. She craves adventure and can grow bored easily. Lynx love to talk... a lot. Often times, you cannot get her to shut up about this and that. Combined with her ADHD, it is extremely difficult to keep track of her conversations. She is particularly fast on her feet but has low stamina levels. She is strong and tall for her age. Lynx is stubborn and laid-back most of the time. She does not like to follow orders. Some of her skills include: being double jointed, the ability to be able to climb almost any surface, very good at mimicking animal sounds and is EXTREMELY good at sneaking around. However, there is a side to Lynx that she does not show very often. She is very lazy and selfish at times.



..Art was done by Chameishida

Lyra is more a kick-butt-now, ask-questions-later type of gal. She is brash and ruthless, quick to resort to physical violence to solve issues... and she is good at it. Really good. She is not a woman of many words, preferring to speak through her actions than words. Of course, if you get her mad, be prepared for the worst verbal... and physical lashing of your life. Lyra is hot-headed and slightly cocky about her fighting prowess, although it is justifiable. Lyra likes to keep to herself, preferring to quietly read a book or beat up some practice dummies than actual human interaction. As a result, she can come off as edgy and mysterious... and she likes it that way. She is a serious cynic and comes across as standoffish and brooding. Not that she really cares. Darker topics interest her and are sometimes the only way to get her make an actual conversation, beyond 1-worded sentences. Again, she likes to communicate through actions, not words. She has less academic smarts across find more street smarts. She is an amazing rider with a need for speed and showing up the competition.






 Art was done by DuskDayBreak

One of Claudia s most defining traits is her cold and sarcastic attitude towards everything that breathes. Her sarcasm is different, though. It is much more subtle and soft-spoken. Typically, she poses her insults as a compliment, that after careful consideration, turn out to be insults. She delivers them coolly, directly and apathetically with a calm and collected demeanor, giving no indication in her voice or face that she is, in fact, being sarcastic. She is brutal when giving someone a verbal lashing, not because she raises her voice or her fists, simply because her insults are sophisticated, shrewd and complex. She is the type of girl who does not have to do much to stand apart from the crowd. However, Claudia is no way an extrovert, the reason why she puts herself in social situations is purely one of two reasons, the first one being is that she wants to go people watching. Where she sits in some corner and watches people, how they react and their social cues. She just observes them, untangles their motives and finds their interests. The second reason is that she wants to show up the competition, along with being stubborn, Claudia is a show-off. Just, not in the physical sense. Claudia, at her core, is an intellectual, preferring to beat her foes either brain as opposed to brawn. Of course, she is willing to get in a tussle, if absolutely necessary. She finds it beneath her. Claudia is highly observant. She pays extreme attention to detail, nothing escapes her keen eye and flawless memory. Due to her observant nature, she can glean a crazy amount of information about a person simply by looking at them. She is pretty much a walking encyclopedia, filled with tins of random and oddly relevant facts for any given situation. However, with her great intelligence, comes great social anxiety. Claudia buried this under layers of brashness but, this insecurity can be sorted out by the way she avoids social and emotional get-togethers entirely. It is not often that another emotion aside from apathy spreads across her facial features. She hates any kind of affectionate contact with another human being, be it a hug or a simple handshake. Due to her inability to express her emotions, Claudia finds herself at a lack of friends. She usually plays this off as her not wanting any friends but sometimes, when a dragon is your only friend, you can get lonely. The result, she makes a lot of enemies. Usually because of her showoff-ness and unforgiving attitude, and sarcasm.







Aeryn Night

 Art was done by Tosilohi

No one knows who Aeryn is. Not truly. They only know the persona she puts forth for them. This is why Aeryn is such a difficult character to write for and describe. She has multiple different personalities and will switch through them at the flip of a light. In a sense, it is quite similar to the multifaceted personality disorder, only, Aeryn recognizes her many personas. She chooses not to show anyone her true colors due to some insecurities. She switches personalities to shield herself from emotional damage as well as hiding away any insecurities. She starts off as a blank canvas every time she meets someone new. She observes them, analyzes them. She untangles their motives, figures out their personality, what they like, what they don’t like, then she tailors herself to become the person they would like (or hate, depending on how she wants to be perceived) the most. Her distressed youth explains why she feels she needs to conform, as well as shine, in every situation. With Aeryn, you never know if her reactions are genuine or just part of her charade. Her real personality is unpleasant to say the best. She is highly judgemental. She looks down on those around her. She is very apathetic towards others and everything she does has some ulterior motive. She is a queen at manipulation. Nearly everyone word that she utters is sugar coated in some way. She has the world wrapped around her fingers. Aeryn is very skilled when it comes to reading both people and animals. This is because, in her youth, she would sit in some corner and watch. Observe how people react, body language and their social cues. She views it as going to a zoo to watch funny animals. Yes, that is how lowly she thinks of everyone else. Not that you could tell.

















Gail Cirek

 Art was done by Katarile

Gail is adorable. She is short, cute and very softspoken. A lot of people think she is innocent, will try to protect her. Gail does not like attracting much attention as people have a tendency to stare. She is very insecure about her face (since it is severely deformed on the left side) and does her best to conceal it. She gets very annoyed if someone asks about it. However, with this silence comes the ability to listen. She observes the world around her and is able to spot even the tiniest of details. This silent brilliance has made her a stellar judge of character. She reads body language very well and has a certain flare of stubbornness about her. Still, she is very dark. Generally, when she speaks, most people cannot hear what she says, which is probably a good thing because what she does say is usually pretty dark or gory. She often says random and slightly disturbing things and speaks extremely softly anyone can barely hear her. Gail seems to be pretty timid but is generally ruthless. She is a bit of a pyromaniac.














...............................................................................................................................Edits were done by Rebell and Cocopuppy









........................................................................................................................Edit was done by Archer................  ..................................................................................

Wutend Bonfire
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 08/25/2014
Warning: Mention of Domestic Violence, Bipolar, and others

Quick note: I make mention of some pretty nasty and real-life problems here, so if you think you might be distressed by some of them, quickly skim before reading it properly so you can skip anything. I do subtitle each general thing, but just in case.


Family Issues

Keeping with the typical theme of parental problems, an easy way to include some classic Edge is turning into the direct problem. Not getting rid of them, not ki.lling them off, but let's say... abusive parents. It could be either, even an aunt or uncle, that are the main source of the characters touchiness. The abuse could be portrayed in a few ways; verbal, physical, or emotional. For verbal, that would be insults, degrading, and many other nasty things. Physical is self-explanitory. Beating, starving, isolating, etc.. Emotional is a more manipulative way, when the parent may have speals of violence, then 'apologize' to the victim, or guilt them into thinking that they are the problem. Acting nice in public but are horrid in privacy, generally making it look and feel like they are innocent and the victim is to blame for it, or are simply being paranoid and reading too much into the situation.


Mental Health

Something I haven't seen used much is mental disorders or diseases- things that are not caused from an outside source or can't be blamed on any one thing. Something that could add depth to the character could be Bipolar disorder- when you have periods or high energy and esteem, confidence and a general feel-good attitude which are followed by dips of severe depression, exhaustion and a lack of interest in anything. This could be useful for a character in having chapters of high-energy, and slowers ones in the low end.

There's also just all-round depression. You could attempt to explain the state of being it creates and how that affects the characters choices, and their coping mechamisms as well as perhaps finding others with similar conditions.

Something also interesting to write is anxiety- using anxious and contraditive thoughts to break up the text in weird and almost intrusive ways could easily add some justified edge.


Hidden Phobia

The character could have a phobia of a thing or concept that would seem silly to others so have learned to hide it. They haven't 'gotten over it' yet, and likely never will, but they have managed to suppress a primal fear of something when around others. The coping mechanisms used to do that may give off the feeling of edginess.


Failed Career

Perhaps they tried to do something else with their lives, but couldn't quite find the support to continue in it. Something they were passionate about for a long time was suddenly outshone and degraded by another person, injuring their confidence and causing them to abandon their work and skill in it. Any and all things related to that now make them moody and bitter, but there will always be that underlying desire to return to it.


Youth Trauma

As a child, many things deemed harmless as an adult are absolutely terrifying to them. Maybe a rat got into their room one time while the parents were away, or the door was accidently locked and they were trapped in a room for a few hours, fearing the worst. Neighbours who were reclusive and kept to themselves held much mystery around them, and stories are made up to fill in the gaps- quiet old men become retired monsters and murderers, the couple with the angry dog are suddenly kidnappers lying in wait. These fears become engraved into their personality, and stay as a built-in discomfort when around things or people that remind them of it.


Unexplainable Memory

Something mysterious happened to them, be it a weird dream that slowly morphed into a harrowing memory, a delerium-warped experience that contain hallucinated beasts or events, or even something that was entirely real, but just seems so strange that it can't be. Those images haunt them constantly, ever-present in the backs of their minds and never goes away. When asked how they feel about death, they say that it will be welcomed- for they can finally stop remembering those images and feelings for good.


Close Call

Dancing with Death is never reccomened, and those who escape its jaws never walk away with all of their mind. A near-death experience, either as a child or in recent years, could remind them how frail and brief life is. (Similar to youth trauma?)



Simple and pure, pettiness drives them to do some pretty dark stuff without much stimulus. Oh, I wouldn't dare push you off the edge of this cliff, would I? Say that again on the way down. People said they looked so sweet and innocent as a child, bound to become a picture-perfect member of society- look at me now, mum. Look at me now.


Migrated to new account: ZestyDragonWing

HypergoofTheFriendlyBerserker's picture
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/10/2015
Wiggles the whispering death ate my subject

I feel like I should give a warning adding on to what the person above me said. Don't do a mental disorder unless you know it REALLY well otherwise you will make your readers cringe. Mental disorders are a touchy subject and are often done wrong in edgy characters. Often they are used as just an interesting quirk when really they are a lot more then that. They are complex issues and while they can impress a reader if done right they can ruin a story if done wrong. Please do not use a mental disorder as just a little quirk or something and DON'T make them psychotic just to make them psychotic. This is such a common mistake in the edgy characters that many people who see a mental disorder in your edgy character description will automatically assume the worst and be turned away from your story.



If you're going the mental disorder route do your research or don't even bother going that route.



Bumbles the candy loving Lazersight Vesperwing who likes to stalk me for my food.

Adopted from goldenfury360 who made the species.

Lineart done by NightmareRebuff




 Flint the over curious gluespit.

Adopted from chameishida.


Chelsy, the least frightening indominus rex there ever was. Color shifting joke charicter extrodinare. Art by TosiLohi.

WhispertheWolf's picture
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 03/13/2015
Tips...Don't Know If They're Helpful, But I Tried

My apologies for not leaving advice currently, but I am traveling. However, I'll be happy to give advice as soon as I get the chance, so I'm tracking for now. Hope to get back to you tonight.


Edit: Well, it's been a few days, but I did get back here.


Now I won't give any suggestions on types of backstories to use, as you seem to be covered there, but I will give some writing advice:


(I'm going to use the pronoun "him" for this, but this goes for a character of either gender.)


1. Make a character that's a product of your story. You're looking at this as a character-building exercise, but every character ever made is the product of a story. The mindset works best when you make characters for stories rather than making stories for characters, and with dark characters, this is especially true. Edgy characters don't just "happen." Some experience made them what they are. Rather than writing an edgy character, focus on writing a dark and troubling story of which your character is a product of that scenario.  It's true that the "dead parents" scenario is overused, but the real problem with it is that losing your parents can be traumatic at a young age but not to the point of turning your mind. I've known people who lost parents, and it was awful, but after mourning, they moved on and appeared quite normal for the most part. Other things have to happen to make this truly scarring to the point of turning one into an "edgy character." The relatives the character gets left with are horrible to him. He has no home after his parents are killed and has to fend for himself in a cruel world. He watched them get murdered. Something has to bring the trauma to a personality-affecting level.


And the story can't be overly dark either unless you understand what you are writing about. As Hypergoof pointed out, things can really go wrong if you write about mental disorders without knowing much about what it's like and how it affects with people's lives, and this is true for any traumatic or life-changing experience you're writing about.


I'll use a real life example to show what I mean.


I personally am very aware of the topic of parental verbal abuse and gaslighting. This is something I've had first-hand experience with and have estranged myself from a parent because of it, and I can tell when a writer - normally fanfiction writer - is attempting to write about the emotional turmoil of dealing with such a parent without actually ever having to experienced it or talked with someone who has. They don't know what it feels like to wonder if you're losing your mind, to hear hateful words play back in your head in flashback on a daily basis when you utter certain phrases, to guard every word with someone you're supposed to love and trust because you never know when the other shoe will drop, to feel like your choking on panic when your phone rings, to feel angry and frustrated yet hollow and guilty all at once. Now clearly my situation was probably rather mild compared to the types of situations that would turn an edgy character to true edginess - I did have safe zones and turned out to be more of a happy but nervous dork that over-explains everything rather than an angsty and sarcastic edgelord - but writing about any traumatic experience, no matter how big or small, is much the same. These are the sort of personal things - the thoughts and feelings - you need to know about traumatic situations. These are the details that will make your character's emotions feel real, palatable, and relatable, reaching people who've never had these types of experiences and connecting with those who have.


Now you don't necessarily need to "write what you know." By that, I mean you don't need to stick to first-hand experiences; in fact, when it comes to dark backstories, I'm always relieved to hear there's no personal experience involved. But when you do pick a topic to write about, you do need to research it. What is it truly like to have a crippling phobia? What is it like to suffer a terrible loss? Or be tormented by terrible images of moments you can't remember? Or have such-and-such mental disorder? Read books, ask people who are willing to talk, listen to YouTube videos. With the Internet and Google existing in our day-and-age, there's plenty of ways to find first-hand stories of all sorts of experiences to get you an idea of how people would be effected by these experiences. Don't be afraid to write it, but do be sure to research it first.


Beyond that, just make sure the story makes sense and is realistic to your character's universe.


2. Make sure your edgy character has redeeming qualities and "happy" things. This piece of advice is assuming your character is a protagonist we're supposed to root for. (For an antagonist, this isn't necessary, but humanizing them is still recommended.) Here's the thing; edgy characters can get annoying. Why? Angst is basically whining. Really. We all have it, we all do it, and it's not a bad thing. There are experiences in life worth being broody and whiny about. And some people have a lot of these experiences, and their life sucks, and they've earned the right to be broody and whiny. It's not to be frowned upon. But if done excessively for every single second, it just sounds like a whiny little child who can never get their way. Your edgy character is going to be edgy and angsty for the majority of the time, but he needs to be allowed to have things that make him happy and do and say things now and then that make people like him and have some sort of heroic trait that makes us want to see him succeed and overcome those inner demons that have him so dang tortured. At the very least, give him a break from the darkness now and then so both he and the audience have a chance to breathe. (This also tends to be why edgy characters tend to be side heroes to the main "happy, starry-eyed" hero or have a comic relief sidekick. Those techniques can help, so feel free to use them, but don't use them as a crutch.)


Honestly, you mentioned sarcastic, and that already is a great trait to help with this. Sarcasm and irony are methods of humor used to poke fun at troubling situations and are generally coping mechanisms when used excessively. Just be sure your character does do something else to make others like him, too; constant sarcasm at other characters' expense is not necessarily endearing if not balanced out.


3. Make him talented at something plot-relevant. If the audience is going to put up with edgy, troubled dude being edgy and troubled, it helps to have a reason to admire him as our protagonist. It gives us a reason to believe the character can accomplish their goal. This is a good technique to use for any character - not necessary, depending on the story, but certainly helpful - but this is particularly useful with edgy characters because they generally need to have some sort of growth in the story since they are the way they are due to something troubling, and this talent that helps solve the conflict may tie them to something bigger than their initial motivation, allowing an avenue for character growth. Speaking of which...


4. Give him a clear motivation. Characters run on character motivation. Having a character motivated to make something happen - whether it's saving the world, finding your self-identity, or just making it to a meeting on time - is important for any plot-driven story and most character-driven stories. Audiences remember and connect to characters that have a clear motivation because they understand exactly why he does what he does. (This is part of the appeal of villains and also why sports' movies have an appeal; you know the characters have an exact goal that you can identify and so can follow the arch easily.) But this is particularly true of an edgy character. A character who is dark and edgy is going to be a highly motivated character because anyone that intensity usually comes with a coping mechanism: having some sort of fixation. The fixation doesn't need to be to an unhealthy degree, but it does need to be something that gives the character a sense of purpose. If the character has no clear motivation except "lived their life," they have been able to get over whatever would have turned them dark in the first place, and if they don't know what to do with their life, they probably weren't too troubled to begin with. And if they have little motivation even after a dark event without having completely gotten over it, they've probably already given up. Whether their motivation is revenge, achieving a certain accomplishment, serving someone else, or simply surviving, a tortured soul who is still going strong has some sort of clear motivation to keep them going, and in a story, it's generally related to the final arch of the plot. If nothing else, it usually gets their foot in the door. Edgy characters are often seen as strong and powerful because their strong motivation allows them to drive the plot rather than having the plot drag them along.


5. Make the character relatable. This goes without saying, I know, but I do want to elaborate on this. Obviously all protagonists we are supposed to sympathize with are supposed to be relatable, but here's the thing; with dark characters, sometimes they're so damaged that we have trouble connecting to them. The point of knowing what it's like to experience their trauma and giving them a motivation is to make them feel like they could be us. You want the audience to feel that, maybe, just maybe, under the right circumstances, they could have ended up like this character. And if they can triumph over their demons, maybe we can to.


That's why edgy characters are fun. We understand their pain, and we see them struggle with it as we do, but we also seem them push through it (and sometimes look cool while doing it) and it gives us hope. Or we see them succumb to it and are forced to reflect on the demons within us all. But we must see ourselves in this character to get this reaction. Really, the best advice is not to focus on writing an edgy character but just focus on writing a good, solid character in general...a good, solid character that is really cool and went through a lot of crap.


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Wolf and Star's picture
Wolf and Star
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 03/14/2014
A wild post appeared!!!

Hmm, thank you for the advice.

Marg The Loony's picture
Marg The Loony
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 12/13/2015
~Princess Gwen Forever~

Sorry, this isn't advice, but when you start writing, could you give me a heads up? I'd like to check out what you write. :3

Wolf and Star's picture
Wolf and Star
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 03/14/2014
A wild post appeared!!!

Uh. Pffffft, no pressure me. Uh... Sure?