KM Weiland has a fantastic post on How to Plot a Book: Start with the Antagonist. I urge you to read it. It will set off all sorts of light bulbs in your creative mind.
The gist of her post is simple (although don’t be fooled by its simplicity):
We think of the protagonist as being the point of the story. But he’s actually not. The antagonist is the point.
That’s right. Your story is not about your hero, it’s about your villain.
So really, if you want to write a story that readers cannot put down, you need to infuse it with conflict. And to do that, you need a really good Antagonist.
KM Weiland has five great questions you should ask yourself (and you should read what she has to say about these question because this post is chock-full of insights):
- Who is your Antagonist?
- What does your Antagonist want?
- Why does your Antagonist want what he wants?
- What is your Antagonist’s plan for getting what he wants?
- What is the Thematic Significance of your Antagonist’s goal?
Do not underestimate the power of these questions or how your story will be shaped by the answers. Keep in mind that an Antagonist is not always a bad guy nor is it always a person.
An Antagonist is a force that drives conflict.
And depending on the nature of your story, you may have up to five different types of Antagonist forces:
Head on over to Helping Writers Become Authors for details and more insights.
Karla Valenti writes books about and for children. She also offers professional manuscript critique and editing services. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter.