By: K.M. Weiland
Recently, I stumbled across a discovery: there’s nothing like dynamic antagonists to get readers hooked to a story.
Sure, talking about evil characters can seem a little old-fashioned in today’s literature, which loves flawed protagonists and antagonists with a heart. And there are certainly a few good
novels without a real villain. But if your story is falling flat, it may
be missing an antagonistic force, something that opposes the protagonist and
his goal, and which helps move the plot along in a dynamic way.
More important, still, is this plain truth: writing about dynamic antagonists is fun. Reading about them is even more fun.
How to Draw Inspiration From Fairy Tale Antagonists
If you need more proof of the compelling, memorable nature of villains, think of the stories that have survived throughout time, passed orally from generation to generation before being written down. Fairy tales are so memorable in part because of their frightening villains. Snow White, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and the myriad other tales made famous by the Grimm Brothers, Perrault, and others, all feature villains with a simple, one-dimensional reason for acting the way they do: often it’s jealousy or–in the case of Little Red Riding Hood–hunger. In the end, though, these primal urges are not really important. The villains’ evil nature is the main
You can read more about story structure in fairy tales, as explained by Kurt Vonnegut, here. While Vonnegut examined other aspects of fairy tales as well, I find that their story structure can really be boiled down to the following.
The Fairy Tale Formula
- An innocent protagonist.
- Her all-consuming goal.
- A villain who thwarts her.
We see the fairy tale recycled in a lot of modern-day story structure.
How to Use Antagonists in the Three-Act Structure
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Read the full article HERE!
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
ways to promote your self-published book –
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- Craft Dynamic Antagonists Your Readers Will Love—in Just 3 Steps! - Helping Writers Become Authors http://ow.ly/NOPtg
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- Each vs. Both http://ow.ly/NPn2k Daily Writing Tips
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- Beta Readers: Facts, Grammar, Plot, Character and More — Fiction Notes http://ow.ly/NPobr