(Favorite Disney Villain EVERZ)
Picture A) A man slouching against a brick pillar dressed in khakis and a white button up, looking smooth and suave and every other cliche he's going for. He has the sunglasses held carelessly in one hand, the hair too perfectly arranged for it to be accidental, and, most of all, the smirk. His shirt catches on the pillar and raises a fraction of an inch. Something pale flashes underneath the shirt, an fraction of a scar that must be massive, a quarter inch wide. A second later its gone.
Picture B) A young woman walks into a room with utter silence. She looks confident enough, but is obviously uneasy. Still, with her professional gear on - shorts, a flexible tank top, and at least seven different types of knife - she seems prepared. She turns toward the light, it falls on her arms. There's a pale X on one of her arms - it's faded, old, and nearly white, but whatever caused it originally must've cut deep.
What is it about scars?
Writers loves scars, surely you notice. Tons of characters have physical scars, almost every character has emotional ones. So why are they so popular?
A) Scars add that layer. Sure, they can be cliche or written in badly, but - done well - a scar is as important an element to a story as a kiss. And when kisses are often a happy relief after pages of tension, scars usually raise the stakes.
B) Scars add an element of mystery. And, while it may seem like a cheap trick at first, it really isn't. Characters that have scars remember where they got them. So should the author.
C) A scar is like a signpost. It flashes, 'Here! Look! Mystery!' and I don't think it's a bad thing. It alerts the reader to hidden dimensions in the character and, as a reader, it can be fun to puzzle out what happened.
D) Everyone has scars. Everyone. It's relatable, it's interesting, and, while fictional scars often have better back-stories, we can all imagine getting a badass scar of our own one day. (It'll be epic.)
So what about you? Do you write characters with scars? Do you think it may be a good idea to deepen one of your shallow characters with a scar?