How should I make my antagonists?

  1. Superhuman, but humanized (like how Thor's and the Hulk's powers are humanized in film, etc etc)

    1 vote(s)
  2. Superhuman, but godlike (like comics)

    1 vote(s)
  1. United

    United Member

    Nov 8, 2014
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    Suggestions on how I should create/establish my antagonists?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by United, Nov 8, 2014.

    I'm writing a sci-fi/fantasy story. My protagonist is just a normal human being. No powers or anything of the sort. My antagonists are a race of 'super-duper-humans' with extraordinary physical/magical abilities ---- basically, like 'gods'.

    My question is: if I decide to stay with this route, how should I "compensate" for such an 'unbreakable wall', i.e., the super powerful antagonist race?

    Of course, I could make my antagonist less powerful with more flaws, but I think it would be more interesting if the antagonist is an 'unbreakable wall' that the [weak] protagonist has to overcome.


    Note (just in case if you wanted to know): The superhuman race have: immensely enhanced strength, combat speed, agility, stamina, telepathy, and teleportation (long distance travel).
  2. Sleepy Aardvark

    Sleepy Aardvark New Member

    Nov 7, 2014
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    You could give them a weakness they don't know of themselves. Or make them impervious to everything but one thing, like Superman has his kryptonite.
    Or you could have your protagonist gain powers through some magical trials or something, that makes him strong enough to fight back.
    Or make the antagonists turn on each other so they basically defeat themselves.
  3. B93

    B93 Active Member

    Jul 23, 2012
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    Characters, whether protagonist or antagonist, are less interesting if they don't have both flaws and redeeming characteristics in some proportion.

    Assuming you want your protagonist to succeed in the last few pages, the antagonists have to have some flaw. It is better if that flaw isn't known from the start.
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    I disagree. To me, superhuman characters, whether protagonist or antagonist, are inherently boring.
  5. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
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    Ralph's side of the island.
    You may be going about this wrong. Are you writing an empty action story? XYZ happens, hero wins, end of story? That might be OK for a video game plot but what is the story for a reader?

    You might want to peruse or read this book: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, or see what you can glean from her blog.

    The point is, what is the story you are telling, not just what happens in the story.
  6. Darkkin

    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

    Jun 21, 2012
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    Following the footprints in the sand...
    Is anybody else hearing the echoes of a similiar thread from earlier in the week. It's the whole perfect character thing again, but with the antagonist twist instead.


    It sounds like you need to do a little more planning. In order to write your characters you need to know them. Right now you are at the ultra-ambigious stage, which translate roughly to it's a creature. You have a noun, not even a gendered noun, but a noun. There is no context, whatsoever.

    I have to agree with ChickenFreak, the whole godlike supervillian thing leaves little to no interest. Character fights the good fight, loses spectacularly. Comes back and repeats the process, over and over. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season Five springs to mind...You have no room for evolution or devolution as the case may be. And these are the antagonists, so things like emotional flaws won't fly.

    Try free writing or running a few trial scenarios to get to know your characters a little more. Getting insight into your MCs, might give you more insight into your villians. Also read through some of the threads in the Character Developement Section.

    - Darkkin, the Tedious
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  7. James Random

    James Random Member

    Nov 7, 2014
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    I find that most compensations come from some other area of the antagonist's background. In War of the Worlds, for example, the superior technology and firepower of the Martians was compensated for by biology. In other sci-fi films and stories these compensations come from the superior antagonist lacking in another area, maybe they're not as emotionally developed, or have a more primitive/self-destructive society and so on and so forth.
    BayView likes this.
  8. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I agree with James - we often see the super-creatures overpowered because of one of their own flaws. Maybe they're arrogant, so they don't take proper precautions, or they're used to fighting other creatures as powerful as they are so they don't know how to deal with a smart, quick little human, or maybe they lack creativity or something.

    I mean, this question is essentially asking us to give you the heart of your story. You have seemingly invulnerable antagonists, but somehow, I assume, the protagonists manage to overcome them. So don't worry so much about 'establishing your antagonists'... worry about how to make your whole story work!
  9. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
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    I remem
    I remember a sci-fi story where a group of humans set out to find the source planet whence we all developed, and where they expect to find a super-civilization. All along the way, there were humanoids, closely enough related that those only a couple of star systems apart could interbreed. On the journey, the rats in the bilges on the ship are exposed to radiation whilst in space, and evolve into ever-smarter rats. And when the humans reach the "source" planet, it is to discover that they are the evolved rats to this super-civilization.
  10. sunwave

    sunwave Member

    Nov 23, 2010
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    I have to agree with what other said: Usually, superpowered characaters are not very interesting.
    Only if you don't focus on the "power" part and go with "what other ways" will it be a bit better.

    Also: We can't tell you what story to write. You have to come up with your own storie(s). What fun is it to write otherwise? And if you have no fun writing, readers usually have no fun reading.

    To give you an answer to your actual question anyway:
    You could make the main character a manipulative bastard. He can set the antagonists against each other, trying to have them destroy each other and weakening their grasp on power by some kind of plot. Then setting a trap for the last few, or making allies with one or more (or pretending to make allies). Even if you can't kill them, they can kill each other, right? As long as they don't know you're plotting against them, or they can't find you, you're set.
    And of course, some WILL find out what your hero is doing and will try to stop him. How are you going to defend yourself against such power, and how do you stop him/her from alarming the rest of them about you?

    They don't have to have physical flaws is they have intellectual flaws.

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