1. Eva Vane

    Eva Vane New Member

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    Balancing two types of antagonists with different conflicts within one story

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Eva Vane, Feb 4, 2018.

    I'm currently revising my first ever complete draft and have started questioning everything. In the end, I think it will be for the better. It does raise some questions I'm struggling to answer though.

    I've realized my protagonist has two antagonists:
    1) The obvious one - a long-standing foe, who has always had a very different agenda for the world than my protagonist has
    2) his (former) brothers-in-arms, the Council: he starts off fighting with them against the long-standing antagonist. As his world view changes through his internal conflict, his main struggle is with them.

    The first two plot points are triggered by the conflict with the long-standing antagonist. The third plot point and climax are driven by the conflict with the Council.

    How do I avoid the pitfall of having the long-standing antagonist fall flat once the conflict with the Council becomes more prominent (which is currently happening)? Is there anything else I need to watch out for when you have two types of antagonists with different sources of conflict?

    Or maybe the question should be: am I making things way too complex and should I simplify?
     
  2. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    When the council issue becomes more prominent, where does the foe stand? Have they been defeated? Are they still gaining power?
    I think making sure that you're just not forgetting they exist would be enough (ex: mentioning them, maybe including a scene where the MC is talking to someone about them)
    Yes, having two antagonists makes the story more complex, but I don't think it would be too complex until you have antagonists running rampant, which wouldn't happen with two. I think you should stay where you are and just make sure to mention the long standing foe every once in a while. If you can think of other ways to add them into it, even in a small way, I'd do that too.
     
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  3. soupcannon

    soupcannon Active Member

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    Well, what is the long-standing antagonist up to while the conflict between the protagonist and the Council heats up? If you keep track of what the antagonist is doing, keep that person's plot going, you should be okay. If you drop the character altogether without completing their story (his or her alternate agenda for the world), your readers may have problems with that. Just remember that this character continues to exist and continues to work toward their goal while the Council begins to fight with the main character, and if you occasionally drop in with the villain or show what the effects of his or her actions are having in the background, you can maintain continuity.
     
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  4. Eva Vane

    Eva Vane New Member

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    Thank you for your insights, GlitterRain and soupcannon!

    Having slept on it, I think you pointed out one of the issues, soupcannon - there is a loose thread of that plot line by the end of the book. I'm going to reread my draft just focusing on this antagonist and the ongoing conflict and will figure out how to tie it up in the end.
     

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