Antagonists Are People, Too

It’s hard to have a good plot without someone to drive your protagonist forward. Often times, that someone happens to be a “bad guy.”

Someone who is not nice, someone who isn’t your protagonist’s number one fan, someone who wants the spotlight for themselves and goes about it the wrong way. There are a lot of reasons a protagonist becomes a protagonist. Often it’s something bad, but sometimes it’s not.

antagonist

Who is the antagonist?

The antagonist is a character in your novel. Often times they are the “bad guy,” the person the protagonist is trying to stop, the person the readers don’t root for.

However, you have to remember that the antagonist is just as important to the novel as your protagonist is.

There are many different types of antagonists.

  • The Psychopath
  • The Hater
  • The Power Hungry
  • The Insane
  • The Rival

There are more types of villains, of course, but those are just a few. You can tell which type of antagonist you’ve created based on their personality, their background, and their motives.

How to create an awesome antagonist

Just like your protagonist, your antagonist should have a story too. Give them a personality, give them a background story. Things that have happened to them in the past may have made them out to be who they are now.

Antagonists should…

1. Have a motive.

They need to have a motive for why they do what they do. They should be trying to accomplish something for their own benefit, acting on personal desires.

Good motivations can stem from the seven deadly sins, such as greed or envy.

2. Get in the way of the protagonist.

The antagonist’s wants are most often the opposite of the protagonist’s. They may be racing each other, they may be trying to stop each other.

Speaking of envy, some antagonists are jealous of the protagonist and that ends up being a motivation for hate.

3. Be trying to hide something or trying to gain something.

Antagonists should have secrets. They should have a deeper, internal motive for doing what they do.

In turn, they should be trying to gain something. Most antagonists do what they do purely for selfish reasons.

4. Have flaws.

No one is perfect and that includes protagonists and antagonists alike. Some people may believe the antagonist’s motives are their flaw, but there should be character traits that allows the character to stand out, that allows the antagonist to be known as the antagonist.

Remember…

Antagonists are a character in your story. They should be fleshed out just as much as the other characters in the story.

The only difference is, a villain is someone whose story hasn’t been told.

How do you write antagonists? Do you have any tips to create memorable bad guys? Let me know in the comments below!

Did you enjoy this post? Why don’t you check out Why Does Your Protagonist Matter?

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