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My Not So Evil Master Plan to Create A Compelling Antagonist

Why is "the bad" guy so fascinating?

By Jasmine AguilarPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
My Not So Evil Master Plan to Create A Compelling Antagonist
Photo by Nicholas Kwok on Unsplash

The process of creating and developing characters in a story is one of my favorite things about writing fiction. The sorts of characters that one can create are filled with endless possibilities. One of the characters that I have always found a thrill to create is the antagonist.

The antagonist or villain plays an important role in the story. What would a story be without the antagonist? Their role is to provide conflict to the protagonist. Whatever goal the protagonist has, the antagonist has their own goal as well — do everything in their power to stop the antagonist from succeeding and reaching their goal.

In some cases, the antagonist might also serve as the role of the rival to the protagonist. For instance, the antagonist might have the same goal as the protagonist. However, only one of these characters can achieve this desired goal. This idea alone should fire up some strong conflict as the reader is left choosing sides. Are they cheering for the protagonist or the antagonist?

When one thinks of the antagonist, the bad guy or villain immediately comes to mind. However, it should be noted that not all antagonists have to be villainous and possess evil and malicious intentions. An antagonist can most definitely provide conflict and deter the plans of the protagonist without the need to be evil.

By Chris Buckwald on Unsplash

I’ve always been fascinated by the antagonist. As a reader, I am intrigued by stories with an antagonist that is both compelling and believable. As a writer, I enjoy diving into my unlimited imagination to create a believable and intriguing antagonist. Now, I know I’m not the only one that loves and finds the antagonist so fascinating. But why? Why are we so intrigued by the "bad guy"?

The role of the antagonist is to provide conflict to the protagonist, right? When one thinks of the terms protagonist and antagonist, good versus evil might come to mind (again, not all antagonists are villainous). So in that regard, it is a conflict of the classic good versus evil. Who will succeed? We are often kept at the edge of our seats until the very end as we observe the conflicting forces of good versus evil unfold in the story.

Another reason why people are so fascinated by the antagonist is that in a way, they see a part of themselves in the antagonist. Within such a character, a reader sees their own flaws, insecurities, and immoralities. The antagonist in a story shows us that people are imperfect. To add to this, the more relatable a character is, the more likeable they become. Just as we find a relatable and believable protagonist more likeable, the same can apply for the antagonist. Have you ever found yourself secretly cheering for the antagonist in a novel or movie. I know I have.

Another reason why people find the antagonist so fascinating involves the sort of antagonist that we can consider the villain. There are times in which we are drawn to a cold, calculating, and intelligent villain with a brilliant master plan. We admire their passion as they do everything they can to make sure their plan follows through. Sometimes we even hope they succeed.

I’ve been spending some time focusing on the antagonist of my story. As with my other characters I have created thus far, my antagonist is slowly taking shape. His articulate, smart, and conniving personality is starting to come into focus but I still have plenty of work to do to make him believable. His role is to make my protagonist very uncomfortable and to pressure him into doing something conflicting.

While I sincerely love creating the antagonist or “bad guy” of a story, creating such a character can definitely be a challenge. I want to give my antagonist ill intentions that they are passionate about (I’m still developing their reasons).Yet at the same time, I want to make this character likeable but more importantly, believable. Or just maybe they will become that sort of character that people “love to hate”. Who knows? My master plan is starting to unfold — create a compelling, believable and even likeable antagonist.

One of the best ways a writer can develop an intriguing and believable antagonist is to take the time to envision them. Ask their character questions. Put them in hypothetical scenarios. One such hypothetical scenario I found a bit intriguing is to imagine that the protagonist and antagonist of your story are stuck together in an elevator. How do the characters react? What happens, if anything?

Do you find the antagonist or villain of a story fascinating? Any particular characters? How so?

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About the Creator

Jasmine Aguilar

Fascinated by pop culture and its effect on society... movies, music, books.. and pretty much anything super cool and intriguing.

Oh yeah! I'm writing my first novel - a sci-fi!

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