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#1 C.H. Busby

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:15 PM

This post really makes me feel old but I need help. What would this YA market call a person who looks like Marilyn Manson and is scary, could-be-psycho-killer mean? It doesn't have to necessarily be slang, just current and fitting. Any ideas?


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#2 Amy Trueblood

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:21 PM

Usually someone who looks like this is high school is considered "Goth."


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#3 Malz

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:45 PM

Yea I'd also say Goth or punk, maybe emo.


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#4 C.H. Busby

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:56 PM

That's what I would call them. Maybe I'm not as dated as I thought. Yay!


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#5 K_Claremont

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 08:57 PM

Goth/punk is a fashion style, as well as a music genre.  You do not have to dress the fashion to like the music, and vice versa.

 

It has absolutely no bearing on whether or not someone is psychotic or mean.

 

Unless the character is trying to be mean to a person dressed goth/punk, and wants to label them that way.

 

Don't do it.  Goths/punks get enough of a bad rep from the media, and it's not even warranted.

 

EDIT:  Typo, and this...

 

Punk as a genre of music and lifestyle is generally about drawing attention to the status quo and demanding change from it.  So the idea is that the music will fight for equality, free information, not being a jerk to other people, not letting other people control you, free will, all that.  Obviously, there is punk music that is just punk in sound, but not in message, or punk in appearance, but not message, but generally, punk came out of a "damn the status quo" because the status quo was only catering to a select few.

 

The idea of "punk" is not mean or psychotic in any way.  Even Goth, with it's morbidity, does not encourage violence or reckless acts.  It is merely a poetic expression of things that we believe are a little darker in life.  That's it.


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#6 RC Lewis

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:29 PM

Absolutely what K_Claremont said.

 

The Marilyn Manson LOOK? Goth, sure. But not the be-all, end-all of Goth, even. I've known Goths with neon hair who were super-friendly. One of my best friends is Goth and the kindest, most compassionate person I know.

 

If the character acts in a way that makes others think he's potentially a homicidal psycho, I'd stick with saying that straight out. Psycho. Not right in the head. Whatever works in context.


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#7 Katie Bailey

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:56 PM

Yeah, I actually know a LOT of nice punks and goths.  Truth be told, sometimes, some of the "scariest" outcast looking people tend to be some of the most accepting.

 

However, a phrase you might want to try  would be "burnout."  It might not be exactly what you're looking for, but tacking on an adjective can form it closer to what you desire.


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#8 Malz

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 12:55 AM

I think I just got schooled lol.


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#9 Katie Bailey

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:13 AM

I think I just got schooled lol.

lol  Nahhh.  It's just a common misconception and stereotype.


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#10 C.H. Busby

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:14 AM

Me too, Malz! But that is exactly what I wanted! So I guess that means there isn't an "actual" phrase that would capture their look AND overall "evilness". But I think you all are right. I never thought of the actual real people one loose term could affect. As one of those people who doesn't dress the fashion (well, I guess at one time, I did a little) but loves the music...the last thing I want to come away looking like is a hater.

 

I think I'll stick with what I'm doing now and simply refer to them as psychos, like RC said, and just show their physical descriptions. You guys are awesome! 


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#11 Leigh Teale

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:46 AM

Yeah, coming late to the party, but I dress that way. I shopped at Hot Topic before it was cool. My hair's been everything from black to hot pink. I have multiple piercings (granted not on my face). I listen to some pretty "crazy" stuff. As a general rule I hate people.

 

BUT, my music is all about how broken the establishment is. I hate people because of how they treat me, and also I have severe anxiety and depression. I dress and modify myself the way I do because I like how it looks on me, not because I'm some sort of freak. Since I'm not a part of the religious establishment, I routinely donate a chunk of my paychecks to charity. I take in homeless animals. I work at a freaking Hallmark store.

 

I don't mind being called punk. I don't mind being called goth. I do have a problem being lumped in with those people your Momma warned you about. Really, truly, honestly, some of the most horrible and psychotic people I've ever known were the uber-rich jocks. But even then I wouldn't say all jocks were assholes. Just a particular subset of the particular ones I knew.


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#12 Amy Trueblood

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:32 AM

All excellent points, Leigh. 

 

I think when you are writing about a certain group, it's best to use caution as to how you define them.  I've worked in the entertainment industry, as well as publishing, and advertising, and have come across many different types of people, but one thing remains the same,  no matter how people dress or what music they like - they are all kind and generous people with hopes and dreams like each and every one of us.


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#13 ChaseBorlain

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:17 PM

My cousins say emo or, to keep it simple, plain creepy. I've also heard them say "psycho" in a singsongy voice about this truly terrifying teenager we saw walking down the street.

 

I see what everyone means by misconceptions and you might want to avoid doing that, unless you want your character to seem naive about acceptance of any kind of person.



#14 Thrash

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 01:28 PM

Generally, I'd stay away from using those high school clique terms in exposition, unless your narrative is in first person. In dialogue is okay, but in exposition focus on descriptors that make the person unique, rather than "classifying" them.

 

Also--perhaps consider making up a word, especially if it's one character referring to another or a group of others his/her own age.  You could get away with it because kid lingo is so regional.  When I was a teenager I was gothy, but around here we called ourselves "freaks."  It's a bit different than what the fashion turned into later. Really, I picked the subculture fashion because of JNCO jeans, the only pants you can fit a litter coke in one back pocket and a 500 page novel in the other. 



#15 C.H. Busby

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 07:07 AM

Thanks for all the great insight and advice, everyone! I am absolutely going to stay away from any particular term.


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#16 Phil Peterson

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 11:48 AM

I was very goth in highschool... defined it in my town, actually... I don't think that term is used much anymore. To remove the "cool" annotation that developed around that subculture, they now call it emo.



#17 Katie Bailey

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 01:13 AM

I was very goth in highschool... defined it in my town, actually... I don't think that term is used much anymore. To remove the "cool" annotation that developed around that subculture, they now call it emo.

I wouldn't go "emo."  They aren't really the "creepy, psychotic" sort that she's looking for.  I really think sticking to adjectives might be a better bet.


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#18 CFAmick

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 01:25 PM

You could invent your own slang specific to your characters. Maybe the creepy goth weirdo could be a "Manson," after Marilyn, Charles, or both.



#19 T1K

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:12 PM

Coming from a young person, goth, psycho, they're all fine. I wouldn't avoid slang, sometimes it adds to the story, you just need to ask yourself if it does.






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