1. b.faulkner89
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    b.faulkner89 Member

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    Adding an antagonist into the story

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by b.faulkner89, Feb 16, 2010.

    So, I'm wanting to add one of the antagonists into my story, but I haven't made any reference to him so far, and you won't know exactly who he is until a bit further along. I dont want to info-dump either. I'm just wanting to hear some thoughts on whether this would annoy you as a reader, having a character dropped into that everone seems to know, but you havent heard of yet.

    Thanks :)
     
  2. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    Well the antagonist represents the major opposing force of conflict that the protagonist has to face. If your writing a story you should know what your conflicts are. Where is the protagonist in this conflict? What are they trying to achieve? How does the antagonist work into this? If you can answer these questions it should become clear how to work him into the story.

    Perhaps the protagonist doesn't need to have met him before. He doesn't need to know him. Maybe start a new chapter in the point of view of the antagonist, build him up from there and then switch back to the protagonists point of view. Just a thought.

    The big question is: How do these the two of these opposing forces world's collide? What brings them together? What are their motivations that drive them apart while propelling the story forward? In there lies your answer.
     
  3. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    I like new characters being introduced in novels. If novels were the same old, same old, they would be boring (at least to me). Think of how many times we've seen bell hops, maids, and janitors introduced at whim.

    This is a simple solution by making him "have gone away on a vacation, and everyone have been SO glad he was gone" or something of the like. Or perhaps if your story allows for it just getting out of jail or rehab.

    My antagonist is a drug user who has a huge conflict with the main character. He was introduced in the third chapter.

    As long as you're not trying to introduce him in the end of the book, when you should be closing things down, you are fine. You could even draw him into the end of the book, as long as he helps with the ending.
     
  4. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    Well, I like mystery and suspense as far as holding on to my characters until the right moment. That being said, don't write your villain like a jack in the box. (Ya know, pop goes the weasel?) If you spring him on the reader too suddenly it might seem a little random and out of place.
     
  5. cboatsman
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    cboatsman Senior Member

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    Mystery and suspense are appropriate for this. Readers want to be left in it, and they want to wonder for a chapter or two before given the full description. If you introduce your antagonist and tell us everything about him all in just a couple paragraphs then you just removed any mystery or suspense you may have had.

    A book I recently read took 3 chapters to fully introduce the antagonist to the point where the reader knew exactly why he was there and the entire time I was left in suspense waiting to find out more.

    DvnMrtn made a good suggestion for the introduction as well. Carefully done, switching your perspective for a chapter can be quite effective and also interesting for the reader.

    Caleb
     
  6. fandango
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    fandango Member

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    I'd agree with InkDream and other previous comments. If he suddenly came out of no where with no reference to him previously it may seem out of place. But a few hints and vague references to him in the first couple of chapters could really provide interest to your readers. Ultimately it's all going to be about context, what's the purpose of the first couple of chapters and how does he relate to the protagonist?
     
  7. jlauren
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    jlauren Senior Member

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    A really great way to introduce your antagonist without the reader actually meeting him is to have your other characters mention him. Is he an enemy to more than one character? Does he have a reputation? Have others heard of him, but never actually seen him? You can bring out their hatred/fear/disgust through what they say or know about him. That way, your enemy is working without actually showing his face. It would add real mystery to the story.

    Then, when it's appropriate to 'reveal' him to the reader, it will have greater effect because you've built suspense and expectation from the beginning. The reader has heard he was evil, and now they can actually see that. Just a thought :)
     
  8. Delphinus
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    Delphinus Senior Member

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    What sort of conflicts has your protagonist run into up to this point? Have they conceivably been caused by a human hand? Why not your antagonist's?
     
  9. Dakho
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    Dakho New Member

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    If you were to add a character far into a story, I would imagine it should be done so carefully. Slow and steady, I say. Before inserting this character, his presence should be hinted at, leading up to the final reveal. Everyone loves mystery.

    Also, make sure that his presence is logical and believable. Readers (or viewers, or listeners) often have a hard time accepting that some unknown force has been pulling the strings in every event throughout the story thus far. Even when it makes sense, adding in something so sudden and changing can often displease one's audience.
     
  10. coldu
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    coldu Member

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    Generally the key character would be exposed to the influnces of the antagnoist (if antagonist here is understood to mean the bad guy) before the key character encounters him physically. in my story the character's lifestyle is effected by the antagonist's actions and this has an adverse affect on her life but she does not come face to face with him until about a third way through the story.
     

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