[personal profile] rosewithallherthorns
I'm working on figuring out how to explain this. Hope it helps.

So you want to write Bill Cipher but you can't figure out how to do it?

Here's how I do it! Hopefully it'll be helpful. ( Note that I enjoy many many people's versions of Bill )

Anything is fair game for Bill as far as morality goes. Murdering babies, lying out his rectangular behind, swapping the functions of every hole in people's faces, hurting people in their most sensitive areas, breaking apart families, and so on.

He doesn't refer to himself as evil, but he does refer to himself as insane casually and somewhat frequently.

Recipe:
Bring out your inner douchebag, add drama and curiosity. Stir the pot. Add only enough maturity for a five year old. If you notice compassion boiling on the surface skim it off before it settles. People's pain is funny. People's stress is funny. Pretend things are true until they are, whether it's Bill's or how people should react to Bill, who is totally to be trusted as long as it's useful to be. Once he's done with them he'll rub that trust in their face. Any gags which require extra hands, props, voices, the bending of space-time, knowledge of completely made up things, do it.

Convenient questions:
You are Bill Cipher.
You are interacting with someone. Do they know who you are and what you do? What do you want to convince them to do, if anything? Is there a particular view of you that you want them to keep? What is your opinion of them?

Bill changes how he presents himself A LOT, depending on what he wants and who he's talking to. He can be a helpful muse or 9-to-5 villain or your new lord and master or a friendly party host or an uncaring boss. This probably changes depending on how much Time Punch he's drunk and how much patience he has at that point.

In general:
He's very dramatic and showy! He generally does something to unnerve whoever he's talking to every minute or so while he's in Deal Mode. He doesn't talk formally except in extreme circumstances. Which isn't to say he doesn't use big words!

Run whatever he's saying through the Cookie Jar Test. Would the tone sound out of place on someone wheedling for the location of a cookie jar, denying anything had been stolen from it, blaming someone else for stealing from the jar, blithely ignoring that his hand is stuck in there while talking to someone, triumphing over having eaten all the cookies, saying that no, it really won't hurt your diet at all, gloating about replacing the cookies with rocks, insulting them for thinking they could hide the jar, or something like that? It's a made up test, but in general pretend there's a cookie jar and he's either luring someone towards theirs or trying to get to it himself. He's trying to set someone in motion, or he's performing the motion himself. Or he's in Party Host Mode and just trying to say whatever he wants and show off a bit.

He's the essence of that person who gets WAY TOO CLOSE TO YOU and then pretends it's totally normal until you think well, it must be normal.
He doesn't have anything to prove or particularly care about people's opinion of him unless they're useful to him RIGHT NOW or shortly afterwards in the future.
He can also be compared to a frat boy or a used car salesman.
He plays on insecurities and weak spots, presenting himself as someone who can solve all your problems, or whatever he offers as totally awesome.
He gloats, either about how great he and his plans are going or how dumb his enemies are.

He uses misdirection a lot, especially to make people fight with themselves over the wrong thing. He shows himself running off so no one will suspect he's disguised as Soos and to create a threatening time crunch. He implies he's dealing for Mabel's puppets to create something that Dipper finds sufficiently important that he won't question that Bill actually wants something far more vital and dangerous because he's too busy struggling with his conscience and current sister issues. Making people fight the wrong battles is one of his things.
If he makes a mistake, he brushes over it briefly, never to be mentioned again. Same if other people bring it up. Or no, it wasn't a mistake, it barely counted, but not in a speech at length about it.
He's not very aware of how much other people care about each other, and he's much more likely to interpret sadness as related to others' goals or selves than the feelings of others.

He doesn't lambast himself for any failings, and he isn't self conscious or guilty about his actions or his appearance.
He insults pretty much every human he interacts with, particularly via insulting nicknames.
He's capable of being tricky and (more) subtle, such as when he pretended to be Soos, but he can also be very blunt, like his total failure to act like Dipper during his time as Bipper.
He lies. He lies a LOT. He's an unreliable narrator who talks like he's got an ace up his sleeve even when he doesn't.
He's easily bored a lot of the time. Combined with his large ego, this leads him to do things like wait and see what his enemies can do to try and stop him
Bill is motivated by his idea of fun, or by his goals (which lead to his idea of fun). Or spite, in the case of Time Baby. He doesn't like being restricted and seems to see freedom as an absolute good (for him), since it will let him crush anything he wants.

No matter how awful the he is, Bill thinks he's excellent.This includes appearance, and personality. Failure to complete goals won't result in him flagellating himself. Maybe a short, snarky comment about it at most before he redirects to the next thing.
He's got lots of eyes in depictions of himself, eyelike or triangular shapes, and other stuff. He also has some amount of mind/dreamreading ability. Put it to use, let him know all sorts of things that would be unfortunate or awkward or intriguing. If there's something he doesn't know, he'd probably a) pretend he knows it b) dismiss its importance c) agree to find it out for a price

Analysis of deals Bill made or might have made:

Tribal Shaman: he didn't know what he was doing with building the portal, and I'm not clear on what (if anything) he asked for. Put this up as ???

Henchmaniacs: Considering Bill offered Ford the chance to join them, it seems likely that he adds those who make a deal with him that he likes to his crew. This is purely speculation, though.

Ford: according to journal 3 he wanted to clock in more hours on working on the portal than he was physically able to, so he let Bill take over his body while his mind slept. Bill got even more work done than he expected, but Ford's eye also started bleeding afterwards. So he got what he wanted, but there were side effects, and he didn't know what he was asking for.

Gideon, 1: He makes every effort to give Gideon the code to the safe. So it's clear that if you wait to fulfill your side of the bargain until he's done his, he will pull through, especially if you have a specific way for this to happen filled out.

Dipper: Him smashing the laptop did reveal a clue about the owner and lead to a solution! It did not keep to the spirit of the deal even a little bit, though, between the puppet fake out and how vague it is.

Blendin Bendin: he got out of time jail, which is what he asked for. He didn't want to be possessed or bring about the apocalypse, most likely, but both the letter and spirit were fulfilled.

Mabel: She got a time bubble. It was more of a magic wish fulfillment bubble. It's not clear if she would have aged, and while it includes fakes of the people she loves (and real Waddles) I don't think it's what she really wanted. Put this down as ???, she seemed happy while she was there. Didn't know what the gizmo did and didn't ask. Didn't know it was Bill.

Gideon, 2: Gideon did get power over everyone, freedom from jail, and the key to Mabel's prison! As we don't know the actual terms of the deal we can't be sure how true he was to it, but Gideon seemed pretty happy before Dipper convinced him to fight.

Stan: would Bill have actually let Stan and the kids free? Who fucking knows. Him immediately recapturing them or setting the Henchmaniacs on them or eating the section of the Earth they're on is not implausible.


Character Interaction: 
These may have glaring errors or be interpreted in different, equally valid ways. Feel free to comment if you have something to contest or add!

Gideon:
Nicknames: living ventriloquist dummy, short stack
They strike deals when necessary. Bill makes Gideon sheriff of the wasteland, but Gideon doesn't like being anyone's second in command. Bill is amiable when he has no hold over Gideon, although he can't resist fucking with him via deer teeth, and likes humiliating him after Gideon turns on him.

Dipper:
Nicknames: Pine Tree, my old puppet

Bill sees him as a threat because he keeps looking for information that Bill has always been able to keep hidden before.

Pain is funny, but Dipper's pain especially so! Here, have Bill trying to get him to rub jalapeno peppers on his eyes.
https://www.reddit.com/r/gravityfalls/comments/315yoy/im_bill_cipher_i_know_lots_of_things_ask_me/cpyov2u/

Mabel:
Nicknames: Shooting Star
She tickled him out of the body he stole, and he probably isn't happy about that. He put her in the most devious prison he ever made, so he either thought it was funny or thought keeping her out of the way was important. Alternately, it was a way to deal with Gideon and keep to the letter of his deal on both accounts.

Stanford Pines:
Nicknames: Fordsy, IQ, Sixer, Mr. Brainiac, tough guy, smart guy, man who changed the world, Stanford Pines, friend, brainiac, "brainiacs", "you two", old man, six fingers, and kid

Seems to enjoy bragging and messing with Ford, both before and after the portal. Probably wasn't quite acting himself when Ford thought he was a good muse, but you never know. Was described as whimsical by Ford.

Stanley Pines:
Nicknames: Stan, Stanley, old man

Not a lot of interaction. Doesn't seem to view his Mindscape as particularly special when he first comes. Comments on cleanliness when he comes to it in the finale. Tries to deal for his soul in the puppet infomercial shorts

Henchmaniacs: He seems to care about what they think (putting on a show and party for them, poooossibly not poking the hornet's nest too much with the multiple face guy), but not enough to care about their pain if they smash into the barrier. Bring out your weird showman and a sense of easy authority. Bill makes the rules, and he doesn't want them dead but is fine with them trying to eat each other and gets annoyed with their incompetence if they fail to destroy an enchanted Mystery Shack. They are all fine with things like eating kids and turning people into statues. List of names: Kryptos, Pyronica, Amorphous Shape, Xanthar, Paci-Fire, 8 Ball, Teeth, Keyhole, Hectorgon.

Kryptos: We know Bill hates the symbol Kryptos according to the AMA. Does he also hate Kryptos his henchman? I assume so, but he doesn't show it during Weirdmageddon.

Fiddleford:
Bill emphasizes Fiddleford's "lack of commitment to the project" when he's trying to drive a wedge between Stanford and Bill. They never talked before Fiddleford went insane that we know. Fiddleford makes a triangle symbol around his eye in the depths of his insanity, so he might have interacted with Bill around then. Fiddleford builds a robot to fight Bill with zero comment about them having any kind of history.

Jack the Ripper: Bill knew him well enough for Jack to ask Bill not to reveal his love of clown masks. This did not stop Bill once Jack was no longer useful to him.
https://www.reddit.com/r/gravityfalls/comments/315yoy/im_bill_cipher_i_know_lots_of_things_ask_me/cpyokkj/

Time Baby:
Nicknames: OBESE BOMBASTIC DIAPER-WEARING TYRANT, 9 TRILLION TON TODDLER
He hates Time Baby. A lot.
https://www.reddit.com/r/gravityfalls/comments/315yoy/im_bill_cipher_i_know_lots_of_things_ask_me/cpyoge5/

Wendy:
Bill doesn't seem to have a high opinion of her, according to the AMA.

Gompers: According to the Reddit AMA, Bill likes him better "this way". There's various hints that Gompers wasn't always a goat and was transformed into one by a witch. During Weirdmageddon, Bill doesn't stop to look at him but does turn him giant. Maybe that was intention?

Alex Hirsch: I feel like I've heard about him joking about making a deal with Bill somewhere, but I can't dig anything up.

Fanonically:

Do whatever's fun. Try to keep things recognizable.

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rosewithallherthorns

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