Monday, March 28, 2011


Ever since I received a rather scathing critique from an agent about a WIP, I've been thinking about antagonists. Not because that agent has become my antagonist--
Well, maybe she has.
But that's a good thing.
Antagonists drive the story. They play the roll of forcing the main character to reach deep inside themselves to act, and they do this by inspiring conflict. Antagonists may or may not be the villains of the story. Personally, I prefer an antagonist who is not the villain. I think it makes for a more complex and interesting story.
As it is oftentimes in writing, the more the writer becomes aware of a writing challenge in her work, the more answers are offered from life. I've seen two movies in the last few months that have helped to define that protagonist-antagonist relationship. One is True Grit and the other is The King's Speech.
In True Grit, Rooster Cogburn and Mattie have an incredibly well-developed protagonist-antagonist relationship. They both are against the villain, Ned Pepper, but Mattie inspires Cogburn to change from a drunken coarse lawman to a man who would push his limits for the sake of a girl. Mattie, as the antagonist, drives the story.
The King's Speech--wow! What a story!
King George VI, or Bertie, is the protagonist, but it's the antagonist, Lionel Logue, who drives Bertie to dig deeper and therefore be victorious over the villain, his speech defect. Again, the antagonist drives the story, forcing the protagonist to meet the challenge and change.
As I'm writing my own story, I'm thinking about these well-drawn characters. My antagonist, I discovered, had potential, but needed a lot of work.
And thanks to the agent, my antagonist, I'm going to make it happen!
A great antagonist makes for a great story, don't you agree?


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Rebbie,

Conflict is essential to fiction. There has to be a strong antagonistic relationship, a ying and yang. It drives the story and draws readers to keep on reading. Your points are well-taken.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Rebbie: Hmm. Your post made me think about my current WIP. I think sometimes if the antagonist is NOT the villain, it makes for a stronger story and deeper conflict and more to resolve. Heck, anything can be the antagonist: the environment, or even the hero/heroine's own actions. Thanks for touching on this element of craft so essential to good story telling.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, Joyce and Jacqueline.

srjwebsolutions said...

We are leading responsive website designing and development company in Noida.
We are offering mobile friendly responsive website designing, website development, e-commerce website, seo service and sem services in Noida.

Responsive Website Designing Company in Noida
Website Designing Company in Noida
SEO Services in Noida
SMO Services in Noida

Genxsoft said... is online medical store pharmacy in laxmi nagar Delhi. You can Order prescription/OTC medicines online.
Cash on Delivery available. Free Home Delivery

Online Pharmacy in Delhi
Buy Online medicine in Delhi
Online Pharmacy in laxmi nagar
Buy Online medicine in laxmi nagar
Onine Medical Store in Delhi
Online Medical store in laxmi nagar
Online medicine store in delhi
online medicine store in laxmi nagar
Purchase Medicine Online
Online Pharmacy India
Online Medical Store

Unknown said...

We are uhe solid first platform for modeling newcomers to achieve there new dreams. The first to train and promote out models at our expense to avoid burden on them. Join the most popular agency if you modelling jobs in Delhi for female freshers, models, students, housewives aiming to start there modeling career. We are top modelling agency in Delhi offering modelling jobs in Delhi for upcoming female freshers or experienced models who want to join lingerie modeling agencies.

modeling agencies in Delhi
modeling agencies
modeling jobs
modeling auditions
model coordinators
modeling jobs in Delhi

Unknown said...

We are specialized in Mechanised cleaning of Underground and Overhead Water Tanks of all sizes. Door Step services across Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad.

Water tank cleaning services in Noida
Water tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Water tank cleaning services in Delhi

Drain cleaning services in Noida

Drain cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Drain cleaning services in Delhi
Pipeline Cleaning Service in Noida

Pipeline cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Pipeline cleaning services in Delhi

Tank cleaning services in Noida

Tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Tank cleaning services in Delhi

creative peptides said...

TC 14012 is an antagonist of CXCR4, which blocks CXCR4-mediated HIV infection with an IC50 value of 19.3 nM. Moreover, TC 14012 (100 µg/ml) inhibits CXCL12-induced phosphorylation of p42/44 MAPK and STAT3 in B cells from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. TC 14012