Late post again, but that's because I'm trying to catch up on my sleep. I'm so far behind that by the time I get off work, I'm dead on my feet. So I didn't set an alarm today and slept for as long as my body let me. I'm hoping a few days of that and I'll be caught up on my sleep.
Anyway, today's post is On Creating an Antagonist.
What is an Antagonist?
Simply put, the antagonist is the character that opposes your "Hero(es)."
Dictionary.com says "a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competeswith another; opponent; adversary."
Pretty much what I said.
Do I Have to Have an Antagonist?
Not necessarily. It depends on the book you are writing.
Most romance novels, I've heard, don't have antagonists. Normally it's the situation/misunderstandings/etc that provide the force against which your characters are fighting.
Heck, even in my NaNoWriMo novel, Tainted, I don't have what would be thought of as an antagonist. Well, maybe. I'm not sure. I have... four(?) different storylines happening all at once. But they are all interconnected. The character I view as the antagonist is chasing two others, he is in turn being chased, and the two chasing him are also being chased. So who is the antagonist? Well, it depends on whose point of view you prefer.
Anyway, short answer, no, you don't have to have an antagonist.
Should I have an Antagonist?
Again, it depends on the story.
I would suggest it. In most stories, the antagonist is what the heroes are fighting against. If there's no one working against them, the protagonists are not in a hurry. If there's no antagonist, there's no suspense. Books without suspense, are like... an action movie with no action.
You Said You Were Going to Tell Us How To Create An Antagonist.
Chill, chill, I'm getting there.
So first, your antagonist needs a reason for what he does.
He has to have something he's working towards just like the protagonists do. And IT HAS TO MAKE SENSE.
No one does something simply to be evil. (Unless you are Doofenshmirtz.)
Some of them are looking for redemption. Some are looking for love. Some forgiveness. Some want power, or money, or fame.
In Mortality, my antagonists are looking for Invulnerability. The opposite of my Protagonists. (There's a twist in that, but I don't do spoilers.)
So now that you have a reason. Childhood. Why does he do the things he does? What does he want redemption for? What does he want to be forgiven for? Why does he want power, money, or fame?
Take Flynn Rider, from Tangled. He was an orphan, who wanted to become rich, like a character in a story. So he became a thief. (Okay, technically he wasn't an antagonist, but that reason works.)
Or we can look at the actual antagonist in Tangled. Mother Gothel. She wanted to be young forever. So she kidnapped Rapunzel and hid her away. (By the way, if you haven't watched that movie yet, you need to. It's awesome.)
Now, how does he rationalize what he does? Does he kick puppies? Why does he not think that the things he does are evil/bad?
In Mortality, Damien thinks he deserves to rule. That's how he rationalizes everything he does. He deserves it.
It could be as simple as that.
From the Author
I hope this helped you figure out your Antagonist.
At some point I hope to create a thread about creating a Protagonist at some point.
Have a good day!