It Seems My Antagonist Isn’t Good Enough

Sorry for a bit of a hiatus on the blog posts.  It’s still winter break for some, and for those of us on the East Coast, there’s been a lot of snow and a lot of snow days.  My time has been spent shoveling, reading, and shoveling some more.

But something of great magnitude happened this past week besides the unnatural amount of snow:

One of my great Beta Readers for The Sound of Color finally got back with me.  Overall, she gave me very high praise (which felt amazing).  But maybe even better, she gave me some really good insight into what the story lacked.

And what needed the most work?

My antagonist(s).  Both my Main Antag and my Sidekick Antag are characters that we THINK are good but turn out to be evil.  (*cue the menacing laughter*)

But this Beta Reader suggested that I needed to work on them a little more.  You see, I’d never really stopped to think about why my antag(s) wanted what they did.  Sure, power always looks good.  But why?  Why them?  Why would they do what they do?  And just as important, how did they get people to follow them?

In other words, my antagonists read as plot devices instead of characters.  They were an evil force instead of a warped individual.  The result was a fatal flaw in my story.

all my antagonists.jpg

In most of my favorite stories, the villain is someone with a distinct personality, a concrete set of goals, a thought-out plan, and – most importantly – strong motivation.

Part of the issue is that I never took the time to really get to know my antagonist.  I’d never given much thought to his motivation, his personality, his goals.  He pretty much showed up to cause some trouble and then disappeared again.  He wasn’t someone I know very well.

Voldemort, Loki, Darth Vader, Moriarty, the Joker, Saint Dane, President Snow – they are all people that I could describe to you better than I could describe my OWN antagonist.

So here’s to getting to know my Antag.  (I can’t say his name cause it’s a spoiler.)  To adding some scenes that show us his motivation.  To giving him more personality, more life.  To making him the hero of his own story.

If you struggle equally with writing a quality Bad Guy, let me know!  An antagonist always seems like an afterthought to me.  Or, if you’ve developed some tricks and tips to making your antag fabulous, I’d love to hear that too.

eye of sauron jif.gif

 

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When Your Mother Packs Your Lunch

I had class today.  Being the amazing person I am, I forgot to pack a lunch until thirty seconds before it was time to leave.

Being the amazing person she is, my mother packed my lunch for me!

And she packed me a Starbucks drink.

(I promise this story is related to writing.)

Anyway, she packed me a Starbucks cold coffee drink.

Being the amazing drink it is, THIS happened:

Me: *strokes bottle of coffee*

Friend 1: What are you doing

Me: Oh coffee, you are going to be my life in November.

Friend: What

Me: You know, for NaNoWriMo

Friend: What

Me: *explains NaNoWriMo*

Friend: So what’s your story going to be about?

Me: *explains the Story*

Friend: coolness

Me: yeah!  But I have to finish my first novel first

Friend: your what

Me: *explains TSOC*

Friend…

Me: *drinks coffee*

Friend: That’s really cool

Friend: Can I read it?

Friend 2 comes over.

Friend 2: I want to read it too

Me: Okay!  Let me finish editing it really quick…

Friends: okay!  Hurry up!

Me: *whispers* coffee you are magical.

THE END

And now I have two new beta readers.

(P.S. if anyone reading this is interested in being a beta reader for TSOC, click the link in the menu above.  No pressure.)

Towards Beta Readers? Eventually.

A couple weeks ago, I was telling a friend about my story for the first time.  Her response: “When can I read it?!”

Which got me thinking.

When can she read it?

I also have a writer friend who just sent me his MS.  I then promised to send him mine when it was ready.

Plus there’s family, other friends, etc, who are all sitting around just WAITING to read my book!  (That’s how I imagine them at least.)

And then there was the critique last week that basically said “Stop posting on CC and go get this published.”

But wait.  The most important thing has occurred: I was reading/ reviewing chapter 1 last week, and I got hit by this feeling.  It was the feeling of a voice whispering this is really good.  Like really, really good.

So, friends and family, the answer is Eventually.  You can read it Eventually.

I don’t know what ‘eventually’ means, but it sounds like a very, very long time.

^ One of my favorite quotes from Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

Yes, Thomas, Eventually will probably be a very long time away.

I still have to finish re-writing this blessed story, and then edit the re-writes, and then fix my story arc, and then change my characters up, and then add a scene here, and….

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

i think i can