Thursday, December 4, 2014

Guest Blogger Scott Rhodes: What Makes Your Antagonist Interesting?

I've written about the antagonist before, but this is a
subject that can not be talked about enough. The antagonist is every bit
as important as the main character.

In some ways, the antagonist may even be more important. Your main
character cannot become sympathetic without an opposing force. The
antagonist is more than just a bad guy who tries to stop the good guy. A
good antagonist actually pushes the protagonist to action. The bad guys
gives the good guy a reason to behave like a good guy.

Because he is so important, your antagonist has to be every bit as real,
every bit as well-rounded, as the protagonist. So how do you do this?

The Antagonist is Evil

No. The good antagonist is not evil. OK, he could be, but not for the
mere sake of being evil. The antagonist truly believes he is the good
guy. Everything he does has a reason, and to him, those reasons are
Right. They are Correct. They are Good.

Few characters are as flat and dull as the arch-villain who is evil just
because being evil is evil. People aren't like that. Even people with a
warped sense of reality (and here's a little secret: we all have a warped sense of reality, shaped by our own histories and imperfect perceptions), do things for a reason.

There are truly evil actions, and your bad guy might do some of them.
But we humans have an almost unending supply of rationalizations for our
actions. If we're honest, we recognize that sometimes the way we
rationalize our actions is often, at best, flawed, and at worst, just
plain delusional.

Just like you want your good guy to have flaws, you need your antagonist
to have positive characteristics. In some stories, the reader might
even start to wonder just which character is the good guy and which is
the bad guy. The line doesn't have to be a thick one.

Read the full post at Utah Children's Writers: What Makes Your Antagonist Interesting?

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