Writing Tip # 18 – Don’t Shortchange Your Antagonist!

I love writing. I love teaching. I love teaching writing. I love listening to writers talk about their manuscripts. I love problem solving with writers. I love the delicacy and boldness of writing. These tips are things I’ve learned over the years that have held me in good stead and kept me going through the hard dry times. I hope they help you.

And hey, they are only a minute long. Click here.

Tracey Baptiste teaches a marvelous workshop on creating a three-dimensional antagonist. Seek her out. She give lots and lots of prompts and questions to build a substantive antagonist. What I call creating a good bad guy. Or a bad guy who is complicated, conflicted, interesting. I mean who wants a predictable, one dimensional bad guy? It so much more interesting to have a bad guy with a backstory and a story arc that sets them in conflict with your main character. For instance, if you have a controlling parent in conflict with a teen or middle grade protagonist. Look deeper. Why are they controlling? Are they operating out of fear? Why? Do they know something the main character doesn’t? Make your antagonist as interesting as your main character. It will be a much richer story.