1. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Antagonists and a limitation

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sarah's scribbles, Aug 18, 2015.

    Alright so, let me try to explain this as best as I can. Entering a new field for some experiments I find myself going into a somewhat cyber punk setting though I prefer to think of it for myself as techno dystopia, I'm trying to figure out the story line and I'm beginning to wonder on a rather important part of the story, the antagonist. My main character is a hired gun, a mercenary, hired to hunt down and kill for simple coin. He is not so much a killer as much more a darkened version of the hard boiled detective idealism. Now, here is where I am having concerns.

    My question as I can't find a good way to word this, can the world itself be the antagonist of my character. For instance, the show Code Geass, or perhaps Death note, The characters are trying to set out to reshape the world for the better in their own twisted views. However, still, Code Geass has a sort of foe that represents the villain of the world, King Charles, leader of Brittainia, and Death Note had L, the worlds greatest detective and total opponent of the grand Light. Even though they were making out to reshape a corrupt world they still had a foe.

    But, can the world itself be the antagonist for my character? There isn't any kind of corrupt government in my world or some dictator. People are hanging on by scraps to survive. Or should I simply try to think harder? I find it a bit off for my character to be after a head of gov as he is not a visionary or a revolutionary and is much more a common man who has led a hard life. Perhaps he gets hired by such people, for instance Final fantasy 7 has a similar ideal of the rouge nobody joining freedom fighters and advancing for a higher cause. But still I am left to wonder, what would be a good antagonist for my character and I began to wonder if in fact the world itself, mere survival and the threat of death, could be the antagonist of my story
     
  2. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Not to familiar with the genre. So your MC is a guy that does what he has to do to survive in a cold and unforgiving world. And he is also sharing similar traits with a hard boiled detective. What is he trying to solve? You could make a lone man, an outcast if you will. Nobody cares about him no matter what happens to him ultimately. So in a way you could have the 'world' as the antagonist. He could be seen in many negative ways amongst the social ladder. This would make every step of way incredibly difficult as he interacts with the people around him. This would cause a perpetual state of fear for him as he has to cope with people trying to, kill, double cross, or simply refuse to help him. Despite my understanding of the genre. Sure you can have the 'world' as the antagonist. It just means your MC will have to be a shady guy to progress along his journey. Having to employ a variety of tactics to make his way in that type of scenario. Hope this helps. :D
     
  3. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    I think Man Vs Environment works best when the focus is something like a natural disaster or a plague story. With what you've described, it sounds like it asks for a Man Vs Man conflict. A detective is supposed to be solving a mystery or tracking down a criminal.
    That's not to say you can't have the struggle against his environment as a background conflict. It sounds like a harsh world he lives in, and it would naturally provide a lot of obstacles to his main goal of doing his mercenary detective thing.
     
  4. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    The way I see it, the antagonist doesn't just get in the way, but has goals and motives in direct opposition to those of the protagonist. It's possible for a 'force of nature' to fill the antagonist role, especially in survival stories, but it's usually a person (or at least a group that can be represented by individuals).

    IMO, to figure out who your antagonist is, you need to first answer, "What is the main goal of the plot?" (or, "In terms of the story, what is the single most important thing my protagonist is trying to achieve?"). E.g. in Death Note, Light (the protagonist) tries to carry out vigilante 'justice' (the plot goal), while L tries to stop him (the opposite of the plot goal, therefore L is the antagonist).

    From what you've written here, you've done some good world-building and character development, but maybe haven't decided what the story is actually about yet (plot). What sequence of events are you imagining? What motivations link those events together? What climax do they lead up to?

    I suppose most plots with an assassin/detective MC would revolve around a particularly difficult case, or becoming involved with the job rather than just finishing the task (i.e. character development - not so cold-hearted after all; or an opportunist who exploits the situation to personally benefit). But maybe you can imagine something better. It's up to you.
     
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  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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  6. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    I say, 'Despite popular opinion, the red berry of Solanum lycopersicum is a fruit rather than a vegetable. Characterised by a sweet-yet-tart flavour, it is an integral component of many national cuisines, perhaps most notably Italian,' you say 'tomato'.

    :p
     
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  7. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to respond even though you are not familiar with the genre. I think that that's important, though the others may be correct in having a face to the opposition.
     
  8. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Thank you for responding. Wow, I remember being taught man vs environment man vs foe and man vs self in like eighth grade. It's funny the things you forget that actually could be useful.
    Yes, I am making it a pretty harsh world in fact. I find it might be too harsh, but that's to be thought of later.
     
  9. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Yeah plot is something I find myself currently lacking and trying to work on, though other than a few instances I am not sure what the overall goal or point of the story is. I will think on this some.

    Also, thank you
     

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