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How do you introduce your antagonist?

Discussion in 'Character Development' started by The Scarred Servant, May 11, 2017.

  1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have him show up unannounced and stare wordlessly at my female protag like she's something the cat dragged in.

    His mistake.
     
  2. The Scarred Servant

    The Scarred Servant Member

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    That sounds pretty funny. I now just imagine her trying to get him to talk, but he just keeps on staring.
     
  3. UnderTheMoon

    UnderTheMoon New Member

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    My three antagonists are introduced in Chapter 1, all sitting together in a room made of flesh and gnawing on human bones - I'd say it's quite a subtle introduction but you can all have your say on that ;)
     
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  4. Anna100

    Anna100 Active Member

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    They human? Sounds interesting. :p
     
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  5. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

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    I have my MC serve my antag a plate of hors d'oeuvres.

    Is that weird?
     
  6. EstherMayRose

    EstherMayRose Active Member

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    I don't actually introduce my main antag until the climax. He sends in a guy to work at the school my protag's just arrived at, where he earns her trust, then sends in a girl to be in her form. When she stops sending him info, he sends in another. He then sends henchmen to bring her to him, and tells her all about his political movement, inviting her to join and telling her about her evil father who wants to cling to the old, sordid ways and thinks handing out donations every now and then is enough to be remembered as a good guy. There's something about him that frightens her, especially since she's been feeling uneasy all year, and one moment I really like is when she sees the badges everyone's wearing and wonders where she's seen that symbol before. The answer? Everywhere. She's. Ever. Been. They kept moving house to get away from them, but all along they were just one step behind them.
     
  7. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    My antagonist is introduced early on as an unnamed companion to the someone who starts out as the antagonist himself, but becomes something very different. The antagonist is identified later, and appears to be just your ordinary scumball scoundrel, but then begins his journey into psychopathy.
     
  8. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Contributing Member Contributor

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    In a word; slowly.

    I think it's important to ramp up the antagonists antagonism. They need to slowly become more menacing as the plot continues so that they reach their maximum degree of nemesism just as we hit the climax.

    The bad guy need to always be very slightly better than the good guy, even as the good guy gets better the bad guy goes up a notch and good guy can't quite overcome him. But finally the good guy take the bad guy to their limit, and the good guy's best is better than the bad guys best, and in the final confrontation the good guy overcomes, barely, the bad guys machinations. If the bad guy is too powerful then it seems stupid for the good guy to try and makes us wonder why the bad guy didn't just stamp on him. If the bad guy is a static level of menace then it makes them seem two dimensional. When you make the bad guy react to the good guy and come up with an answer that sends the good guy back to the drawing board it makes him look like a serious player but not omniscient. He sees that the good guy is a threat to him and has to answer that; which makes him seem clever and implacable (since he won), threatening but not unbeatable.

    This is pro wrestling story telling. The heels win lots, they cheat, they injure people, but the good guy comes back from the bruises and, in time, takes the bad guy to their limit and overcomes them and does it in such a way that it creates the maximum triump. The audience need to always believe that the heels might win, then need to see the face coming from behind, then overtaking the heel, then beating him. You can learn all you need to know about story telling from pro-wrestling.

    The point is; bring an antagonist into view slowly. Let us see them as a normal person, then as an annoyance, then finally as a nemesis. Build them up the same way you would an MC, slowly reveal their true motivations, let them become more evil as the plot continues. You only finally see them for the horrible villain they are at the final moment. It's only at the last that a good antagonist is curbstomping old ladies, you know?
     
  9. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributing Member

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    I hardly ever use antagonists as in the big bad, but in my current novel I have an interesting antagonist I'd say.

    I just introduced him in the prologue which is a part of the story that happens later on. It's the biggest part of the story and probably the only 'action' part of the story. If I happen to find a decent book cover artist, I'll have to get em to make the cover represent that part so people could look at it and think it's some kind of action packed game of thrones styled book;)
     

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