Thursday, December 30, 2021

Protagonists and Antagonists

 

Characters are the beating heart of a story, with the protagonist as the most vital component of that organ. Here are a collection of posts we've written about protagonists and antagonists.

 



One Method of Creating Characters in Fiction

Pat Stoltey

Friday, April 23, 2010

One Method of Creating Characters in Fiction

I once heard mystery author Diane Mott Davidson speak at a convention. She said her fictional victims were often based on annoying people she met in real life.

[Read more]

 



Busted!—Janet Fitch caught championing an unlikable protagonist

Kathryn Craft

Friday, April 1, 2011

Busted!—Janet Fitch caught championing an unlikable protagonist

Unlikeable protagonists are commonplace these days. Why? Maybe writers took the advice that their characters should be flawed and ran away with it. Or maybe, with so many of the educated middle class out of work, losing their homes, or in over their heads in credit card debt, we writers are looking for a new kind of hero. Someone even worse off, who found the strength to make a difference.

To make that work you must get your reader to bond with this character. How do you do that?

[Read more]

 



Hearing Voices: The Sound of Kindness

Dani Greer

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hearing Voices: The Sound of Kindness

Writers of thrillers and police procedurals often research first-hand what their characters might do by going on “ride-alongs” with policemen or listening in on official dispatchers. I doubt, however, that most authors spend 16 hours a day over the course of a week observing a major crisis. That’s where I had an epiphany that could well work its way into some future story. Not only did I get all the fast-paced plot as this tense real-life story unfolded, I got to hear and know the characters.

[Read more]

 



Building Character

Shon Bacon

Monday, March 8, 2010

Building Character

Throughout the course of a story, your character [main character(s)] will undergo change(s), and it is through his/her features and traits (the things that make up the character) and his/her actions and speech that will illustrate the change(s) for the reader.

The first thing to ask yourself is: Who are my main characters? These characters will be “round” and “dynamic”, meaning these characters are complex, realistic. These are the character we care deeply about – we want to see them succeed (or fail if they are despicable characters…or change if they are despicable characters). There is a depth to their personalities that is reflective to how we live in the real world.

[Read more]

 



Putting Yourself into Your Book

The late Helen Ginger

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Putting Yourself into Your Book

Everyone knows that if you write fiction, then you write fiction. You don't put yourself into your book. And, yet, most of us do just that. We put ourselves into our books.

Think of the lawyers who write legal thrillers. They put bits and pieces of themselves in their book. They write from their experience and knowledge. What they know goes into the story. They may even base their protagonist on themselves or on friends or acquaintances.

I'm an ex-mermaid who wrote a book, Angel Sometimes, with a protagonist who is a mermaid.

[Read more]

 


 

Interpersonal Characterisation

Elle Carter Neal

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interpersonal Characterisation


Think of the last book you read or movie you watched that made you reach for the tissue box (if only metaphorically, perhaps). Can you remember the exact scene that required you to deal with some dust in your eye? Was it a dramatic action scene, or was it a reaction scene?

I’ll use the movie The Champ as an example. A character dies in a dramatic action scene, but it is not the death scene that has the audience weeping. The actual lump-in-the-throat moment occurs... 
[Read more]

 
 


 

Combining Characters

Kathryn Craft 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Combining Characters

Fiction writers must sometimes combine two characters into one, said BRP editor Helen Ginger in a recent post.

That was such a juicy little aside to her main point that I couldn’t let it rest. Why might an editor suggest you combine characters?

Here’s my take on it:

Characters aren’t really people.

[Read more]

 


 

Antagonist Conflict Scenes

Diana Hurwitz

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Antagonist Conflict Scenes

Antagonist Conflict scenes introduce us to the antagonist or antagonistic forces. This is your verbal camera focused on stage right.

These scenes test the protagonist’s and antagonist’s knowledge, ingenuity, and strength. They are battles of will and wit.

These scenes zero in on the conflict between the two opposing characters. Other characters may be present, but the focus is on...

[Read more]

 


 

When's the Last Time You Took Your Antagonist on a Date?

Shon Bacon

Monday, October 14, 2013

When's the Last Time You Took Your Antagonist on a Date?

About a month ago, I came across the following quote online by screenwriter, comedian, film producer, and comic book writer John Rogers:

You don't really understand an antagonist until you understand why he's a protagonist in his own version of the world.

I found the quote intriguing. Not to say we discard antagonists, but often in writing, especially in that developmental stage of a story where we're trying to get the bones of it down, we think about our main character, the protagonist. We write an elaborate backstory for this "good guy" or "gal" and flesh the character out into a living, breathing person complete with yearning and laden with obstacles and burdens.

[Read more]

 


 

Choosing Your Antagonist

Diana Hurwitz

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Choosing Your Antagonist


If you have an antagonist, it should be someone the reader loves to hate. It will be more interesting if he has some redeeming feature or at least feels he has just cause for his behavior. Amoral monsters, used frequently in horror, are less interesting. Personal stakes, even for the antagonist, make the tension higher.

In most genres, this character or entity has a goal that is the opposite of the protagonist’s goal. If the protagonist wants to uncover a mystery, the antagonist must be...

[Read more]


1 comment :

  1. I especially love the article about taking my antagonist on a date. Hmm. Since he's a woman user and a woman hater, I'm not sure it would be a meal that sits well in the stomach. Actually, all the articles listed are well worth a serious read. Great topic choice, Elle.

    ReplyDelete

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