An antagonist (aka the villain) of a story can make or break it. A good antagonist can raise the stakes and create tension for the reader. A bad antagonist can make the story fall flat. Who wants to read a story where the main character gets exactly what they want without any effort or opposition?
The problem is that many writers focus on developing the main character of their story, but forget to focus on the antagonist. This leads me to today’s prompt.
Today, I want to spend time thinking about the antagonists in our stories. Who are they? Where do they come from? Why do they do the evil things they do? In order for an antagonist to be well written, they need to be as well developed as your main character. Do you know their backstory? Their likes and dislikes? What sets them off? What do they cherish most? What do they want at the end of their story?
Knowing these things can better equip you, as a writer, to defeat them in a believable way.
First, I want you to write their backstory. What happened in their past that made them the character they are today? Take as much time as you need. This information may or may not show up in your story, but it is vital to the development of your character.
Next, write a scene from the perspective of your antagonist. How do they view the world? What do they want in that scene? Who are their friends? What do they have against your protagonist? Dig deep. Find the details. Flesh out your antagonist so they feel real.
Take 10 minutes (or longer). Write. Don’t stop and don’t edit. Let your antagonist come to life.
Photo by Nick Coleman on Unsplash