Gearing up for the #AtoZchallenge again

2017-badgeThis will be my fourth year to do the A to Z blogging challenge.

For those of you who haven’t heard about it, the A to Z challenge is where bloggers post every day in April (except Sundays). Since there are usually 26 open days, they are matched with the letters of the alphabet.  So on the first day you choose a topic that begins with A, the next day B and so on.(This year there are only 25 open days so their is a letter assigned to the last Sunday.)

It is easier to stay on task and blog every day of the challenge when you come up with a theme. The first year I had no theme (but still blogged everyday). But the following year, I wrote about my normal topics on their assigned days (Monday – parenting, Wednesday – Quote of the Week, Thursday – Writing/Publishing) but picked a theme of TV shows for the other days.

Last year, I picked the theme of characters from movies, television or books. On my normal blogging days, I blogged about characteristics that fit the theme and topic. (For example on writing day, I wrote about lazy characters for the letter L)

And for this year, I am taking my theme ever a step further. I’ve gone from movies/books, to characters and now I am focusing on antagonists from books, movies and comic books. It should be fun. After all doesn’t everyone love to hate the bad guy?

You can look for my A to Z challenge posts beginning April 1st.

Developing characters recap

I have written numerous posts giving information and hopefully some insight into the realm of novel writing. As it is Spring Break here in Texas, I thought I would take a break from writing something new and recap my posts on developing characters for your novel. If you missed these or just want to re-read them, click on the “read more” link to see the rest of original post.

What’s in a Name? Picking the right name for your characters

If you are a parent, you know how much you labored over the perfect name for your child. Now imagine you need to do the same thing for over a dozen or more characters. Yikes! Read more….

Developing a realistic antagonist

bigstock_Shadow_Man_469091As I mentioned in last week’s post, I have begun working on a new novel. Luckily for me, I began developing the premises for this novel a few years ago. But one area that I didn’t really work on is the antagonist.

The antagonist, the person that will try to thwart your hero and provide conflict for your story, is one of the most important characters to develop. Most authors spend a majority of their time developing the main character. The same amount of time and effort should be devoted to creating a realistic antagonist. Read more…

Reasons your protagonist needs a sidekick

Batman has Robin. Harry Potter has Ronald Weasley. Fred has Barney, while Frodo Baggins has Samwise Gamgee. And who could forget, Han Solo and Chewbacca. Yep, we are talking about sidekicks. Read more…

How much do you need to develop minor characters? 

So you know that you need to fully develop a background and motivation for both your antagonist and protagonist and of course, their supporting cast (sidekicks, best friends, and close confidants). But how much do you need to develop minor characters?

Well, that all depends on how minor they are. Read more…

The importance of character flaws 

No one wants to read about perfect characters that always smile, act polite and eat their vegetables. No one is perfect and readers don’t expect your characters to be perfect. In other words, everyone has flaws and so should your characters. Read more…

Cats as characters in your novel 

ToshRecently, I wrote about dragons in my fantasy writing series. Today, I would like to address using cats as characters. Now, I chose cats because I am a cat-lover. But these same ideas could work just as well if you wanted to use dogs, horses or some other animal. And much of this can be used for other genres besides fantasy. Read more…

The Character Interview: Getting to know your characters

It is important to get to know your characters BEFORE you begin writing your novel. The more familiar you are with them, the better you will be able to bring them to life.

One method of developing your character is to do a character interview. You ask your character questions and answer back as if you are that character. This gives you a chance to explore some of their background from their point of view. Read more…

Now you may notice that I have not written a post about main characters. Well, that one is coming. Next month I am particpating in the A to Z Challenge (where bloggers post daily following the letters of the alphabet). For the letter M, I will be discussing main characters. Until then, I hope you enjoy this recap.

Developing a realistic antagonist

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I have begun working on a new novel. Luckily for me, I began developing the premises for this novel a few years ago. But one area that I didn’t really work on is the antagonist.

The antagonist, the person that will try to thwart your hero and provide conflict for your story, is one of the most important characters to develop. Most authors spend a majority of their time developing the main character. The same amount of time and effort should be devoted to creating a realistic antagonist.

To make your antagonist believable and not just some movie-type bad guy, you will need to develop recognizable personality traits and a well-developed background. You want your reader to empathize or at least understand where your antagonist is coming from. Your antagonist needs clearly established motives.

bigstock_Shadow_Man_469091

Ben Dar – the antagonist from SUMMONED (or at least the photo I used in the book trailer.)

Now 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. You, as the author, need to understand how they came to be like they are. Everyone has a reason for what they do. No one is evil just to be evil. It can be their quest for power, revenge, or even a mental disorder but there needs to be something the drives this character. We are the culmination of our environment, our genetics, our past, and our choices. You need to know these things about your antagonist though all of them may never actually appear in your story. (Check out this list of motivations for antagonists.)

To help create a well-rounded antagonist, consider giving him some redeeming qualities. And by this I mean something other than he likes puppies. Almost no one is evil all the time. And remember that sometimes the bad guy wins. Not every instance does the hero of the story need to thwart the villain.

Of course, your antagonist does not have to be a bad person. It can easily be someone whose ideas don’t mesh with your protagonist. It could be a business partner who wants to have a successful business no matter what the cost. Your hero may also want the business to succeed but needs to be a man of integrity. These two characters are far from enemies, but their different needs pull them in opposing directions.

And your antagonist may not be one person but a group or even just an obstacle to overcome such as the fear of speaking in front of an audience. But you simply don’t have a story without an obstacle, conflict or bad guy so be sure to create a strong antagonist, and you will have a better, more believable story.