Today's letter is the letter A! As promised when I joined the A to Z Challenge, all these posts will be about writing. Today's topic is about the antagonist.
In liturature, the antagonist is described as anyone or anything that tries to prevent the protagonist from their goals. With that said, what kind of antagonists are there?
Most articles you read say this is a person (the bad guy), but it could be anything. Some examples could include a cliff, a herd of wildabeasts, a relative with good intentions, a storm, the news, or even the protagonist themself. The point is, if it gets in the way of the protagonist's (your MC) goals, it is considered a antagonist. Easy, right!
Generally the antagonist(s) is broken down into four groups: Character, Society, Nature, and Self. For Character you'll find your antagonist in the nemisis, the friend giving bad advice, and the evil stepmother. They are very obvious examples of the antagonist and will provide the most conflict and distraction. Society is a great antagonist and follows closely with the group Self. Society also works well when writing a historical romance as women were under such social contraints compared to today. Nature is anything you would find in the wild (a fallen tree, an animal, storm, etc.) that could throw your MC for a loop. And Self is the battle within. The desire to do something other than what is needed from embarassment or the inability due to physical limitations.
Something else to consider with your antagonist is that this is not always a bad person. Think of it in regards to your main character (the protagonist) being an evil genius. Come up with a list of antagonists for him or her. The cops? A superhero? The economic recession? These all work against him/her, therefore being considered an antagonist.
The last thing I would like to leave with you for this post is this: a good antagonist will make or break a story. You want riveting and interesting? Invest in your antagonist as much as you do your protagonist. Also remember that the best antagonists (in regard to the bad guys) don't think that what they are doing is wrong. You wouldn't question the tornado for it to tell you, "Oh, I popped down here simply because I felt like screwing with this guy." Just something to think about.