1. Elena Schmetterling
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    Elena Schmetterling Member

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    Good General Story Goal, Struggling with Antagonist Goals

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Elena Schmetterling, Jul 6, 2015.

    Hello everyone,

    I've been trying to plan this story for a week, but have spent most of the time pondering over the goal and motive of the antagonist, which once I have will easily allow everything else to fall into place. The story is about how a man works his way up through society in order to bring it down from the inside, to the extent that the community would crumble if he were to leave them. The main point is how he does this, and showing how the previously prominent and looked-up to characters in that society develop into little sheep behind this newcomer. For this reason, I've been stuck on thinking of the antagonist's goal. Since the general idea is him gaining power, his aim needs to be something else. It can't be too drastic, like wiping everyone out, since that would take attention away from what I'm trying to illustrate. Or am I being too harsh?

    Furthermore, I have no idea which voice to use. It needs to be clear what the antagonist is doing to gain this respect, so it'd be biased from the view of the protagonist...

    Thanks x
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure this is something anyone else can really answer for you - it's kind of central to the creation of your story, isn't it? You know your character - what does he care about? Why would he do something like this?

    Anything anyone else will suggest will just be vague guesses - you're the one who can make the precise answer.
     
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  3. Elena Schmetterling
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    Elena Schmetterling Member

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    I understand, but it's leaving me in a catch-22 - I'd be able to develop the character further if I knew his end goal so I could ask why anyone would want that, etc. But as you say, I've got to build up the character to find possible aims. Do you have any ways I could get around this?
     
  4. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    My reading says the antagonist's goal is the same as the protagonist's.

    ETA: it's also pretty amazing to me - no doubt naively - that people describe very similar premises that have occurred to me for novels over the years.

    Viva l'execution!
     
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  5. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Maybe try developing him outside of his purpose in the plot. Who was he before the events of the story? What kind of life shapes a person into being capable of doing what he's done?

    Also, just to mention, a week isn't very long to've been planning something, honestly. Keep chipping at it and I'm sure you'll figure it out.
     
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  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could try to start writing and see if the process makes his motivation clearer to you. You could try to find other characters/historic people who have done things similar to him and try to figure out why they did it. You could work with one of the millions of character development sheets people have developed. You could do a Myers-Briggs test for your character and see if the conclusions trigger anything. Lots of possibilities - have fun with them!
     
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  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/ & 3/ You've already given him his goal, to bring down society from the inside. The big question is why would he do that?

    Alan Sugar didn't work his way up through society to bring it down, he worked his way up to get to the top.

    Leon Trotsky might have worked his way up in order to bring it down, but he felt that destroying it from the outside was a more effective strategy.

    2/ I assume you mean the way that your MC moulds the prominent characters into sheep.

    4/ "Like wiping everyone out..." makes it sound like a Batman villain.

    5/So you're writing this from the POV of a protagonist, who is observing the progress of an antagonist who's working his way up through society? Do you actually mean "voice"? If it's a protagonist who's being relegated to a sheep by the antagonist, it'd probably be a rather whiny one, complaining about this jumped-up johnny.

    So, to the OP...you probably want your MC to be a somewhat damaged character, who needs to acquire power to compensate for his feelings of inadequacy after his under-privileged childhood, when the other kids used to laugh at his trainers because they weren't Nike/Adidas/whatever.
     
  8. Elena Schmetterling
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    Elena Schmetterling Member

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    Great - Stalin came up, and I can see why. Doing a character sheet will force me to fill in the gaps for the antagonist's character, which will help.

    That also reminds me that I need to work out how. Probably that'll make things clearer too. I'm trying to stay away from the "poor childhood" thing; it seems overused, and often for comical purposes (in children's films). For number 5, I actually meant if I were to write it from the protagonist's view it would be biased, so I was leaning against doing so. The protagonist's aim is to stop the antagonist from achieving t


    Thanks for all of the responses.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
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