1. J. Johnston
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    J. Johnston Member

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    Is it alright, to have a non-living main villain?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by J. Johnston, Jan 20, 2016.

    Hello writerly folk,

    Just enquiring, as the main antagonists in my novel are jointly a) society's treatment+stigmatisation of the protagonist as well as b) a decease figure, that started the MC's decline, and still haunts his thoughts (MC is traumatised by this person's memory, and even alters behaviour quite drastically in response).

    Just asking, as the importance of a living foil to one's protagonist is always emphasised, and I can't help but worry I'm at a disadvantage to have my character battling more so against expectation and trauma, than with an actual breathing person.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Electralight
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    Electralight Member

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    I'm a little bit confused, but are you saying that the main antagonist is someone who died and now haunts the MC (as well as how society sees the MC)?
    If so, I think that would be very interesting. New ideas are always a welcome change from the cliché story lines. You just need to make sure that you explain it well, so it doesn't confuse the readers.
     
  3. J. Johnston
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    J. Johnston Member

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    Hi, thanks for the response! The antagonist is responsible for a dark event in my MC'c childhood (antag' also DIES at said event). The villain's memory haunts the MC, who often visualises the villain as still speaking to him, taunting and goading him to at times acting out in rage. A bit like Dexter's dad, or the Green Goblin to Harry (first Spider-man trilogy). MC fights to distinguish himself from this guy, and the labels society has attached to himself.
     
  4. Illandrius
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    Illandrius Member

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    I think that works quite well. One of the main plot lines of a story can be Man vs Society and also Man vs Man. From what I am reading he is in both of these issues. And the main antagonist is living, not physically of course, however, his memory is alive and is affecting the protagonists life.

    This sounds interesting and like it would be a great story.

    Good Luck!!
     
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  5. Electralight
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    Electralight Member

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    Ahh, I see. That is very interesting! I think that sound like a great idea!
     
  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    As I think it the argument goes, there are three kinds of battles for a character to have.
    Man vs Nature
    Man vs Man
    Man vs Self

    The point of a villain or in this case an antagonist(there is a bit of a difference) is that they provide a challenge for the hero to deal with or overcome.

    Man vs Nature often wouldn't have a villain in the sense of a actual figure fighting against them. It could just be the challenge of surviving the ocean for that matter. Which the stigma you mentioned sounds like a fair example of this.


    And Man vs Self sounds like the traumatization of memories.

    So I think your ideas are perfectly fine. :)
     
  7. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I would read something like that. It caught my attention from the get go.
    A book where the MC is haunted by their own past has serious potential.
     
  8. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    I would call it the inner conflict, the antagonist is not a person but something that the mc has to deal with to regain balance/previous 'normal' state etc... The thing here is to be able to show this conflict as there will be no antagonist to physically harm the hero, he is his own enemy in a way.

    The stigmatisation you mention (as the source of the other antagonist) could be the outer antagonist he has to deal with. So, I think this would be an awesome thing to do in a story, you have two threads to spin. Now the hard part is to get it down on paper :) good luck with that! Would be interesting to see your work.
     
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  9. Illandrius
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    Illandrius Member

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    Thank you!! I couldn't think of those lol. :)
     
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