For the A to Z Challenge, I have chosen the theme of antagonists.
On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.
Typically when one thinks of the antagonist of a story – especially a fantasy novel – one thinks of the person as being a bad person – perhaps even evil. Yes, today the letter E is about Evil.
Not every antagonist is evil or even bad for that matter. Antagonists are simply the characters in the book that stand in the way of the protagonist. (And they don’t have to be a person at all, but that is a topic for another post.)
And sometimes your antagonist is evil. But to make them evil just to be evil is not realistic – not to mention lazy on the part of the author. Everyone has a reason for what they do. Something had to cause the person to pick their evil path. It can be their quest for power, revenge, or even a mental disorder but there needs to be something the drives your antagonist. We are the culmination of our environment, our genetics, our past, and our choices.
Often our villain does not believe he is in the wrong. He feels justified by his choices. And even though his mind and reasoning can be twisted, he does everything with a reason.
And as an author, it is up to you to understand what made your antagonist the way he is. You need to spend time developing the background that made him the villain he is today. Your reader may not empathize with your antagonist, but they should understand his (or her) motives.
While his actions may be evil, to create a well-rounded, believable antagonist, you should consider giving him a redeeming quality (or two). And by this I mean something other than he likes puppies. Almost no one is evil all the time.
And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…
A is for Apocalypse
B is for Bad Boys (parenting)
C is for Cruella de Vil
D is for Darth Vader (Quote)
D is for To Die for Cake (Recipe)