what is the difference between edgy and just plain dark.

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I have a character who kills and experiments for the greater good, he doesn't relish the idea of killing. Just thinks of it as a job, but his theories are a little cruel. Does that make him edgy? He is a bit emotionless when it comes to killing, putting on a fake personality to get closer to his goal.
 

K5Rakitan

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Edgy has a purpose. Is there a message you are trying to convey with your story?
 
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Edge is like you act on negative emotions. Being dark is just an action with zero emotions.
That helps a lot, he doesn't enjoy the killing, just wants to save the helpless from the powerful.
Oh you that person who likes to be banned or something like that, well have fun. Enjoy whatever you do,
 
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CypherTails

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I have a character who kills and experiments for the greater good, he doesn't relish the idea of killing. Just thinks of it as a job, but his theories are a little cruel. Does that make him edgy? He is a bit emotionless when it comes to killing, putting on a fake personality to get closer to his goal.

Edginess comes from the glorification of the dark. It's not strictly about what your protagonist does, it's more about the tone of the story. Yes his actions matter but the overall tone of the story is much more important.

For example, let's take two knights in a horribly depressing world. One is wearing some fancy dark knight armor with spikes, black paint, gold accents, and a crimson cape that is tattered at the edges with a sword called nightmare or something.

The other is a knight wearing faded armor that looks to be cobbled together from twenty different sets of armor, one pauldron is too big and he's missing a gauntlet. His sword has no name and it's this old beat-up thing, with the top snapped off and resharpened into a point.

The difference here is the tone, the first one is some glorious anti-hero the other is some broken traumatized man that is just trying to survive with whatever he can scrounge up. One is glorified and one isn't, I feel that is the core of the difference.

I have this saying in my head for this difference, "Edgelord collect trophies, survivors collect scars"

So if you want to avoid edginess avoid glorifying the bad things in your story, show the bad in all its horrible visceral detail, and humanize those that are suffering. A mother begging at your protagonists feet for food to feed her children like a pathetic wreck is dark, but a bandit king with a harem of naked woman sitting on a throne of skulls is edgy.

Anyway, this is just my opinion, hope it helps.
 

Southdog

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Edgy = intentionally pushing up against what society considers "moral" or "good" and then completely flaunting it in the name of causing offense. An edgy character cuts people up because he can, facing no consequences for what he does, and not being questioned for it. An edgy character thinks, "I should never stop this," and plows on ahead without thinking of another option.

Dark = pushing up against what society considers "moral" or "good," and then actually weighing that particular part down. A dark character cuts people up, gets treated like a bloody vivisectionist, is treated or perceived as a butcher by his peers, and receives regular scrutiny by all. A dark character thinks "if only I could stop this," and plows on ahead because he can't bear another option.
 

K5Rakitan

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Amok

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It all hinges on implementation, but as Kilolo states, the room for differing interpretations is just that vast.

Personally, it comes down to believability: If the character's motivations are shallow and they are portrayed in a... plastic manner, that is, their actions, while psychotic/deranged/amoral, are so in a contrived manner epsecially geared toward evoking a reaction, any reaction, from the reader, that's edge.

I'd say dark is where not only the character's actions are believable, but also their motivation, whatever that might be. The author does not seek to purposely elicit shock or revulsion, yet the dark character ends up doing so more than the edgy one, for the darkness runs to the root of the psyche instead of being a shallow display of repulsiveness.

I'd compare it to being assaulted by a guy in a fur suit(edgy) vs. being chased by an alpha lion(dark).
In the former scenario I'd try for a knee to the crotch, the latter I'ma run for a tree.

Again, Kilolo is right, just my personal ramblings.
 
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