Your Antagonist

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Katallina

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In Moon Dance there are two major antagonists. The first is Ruby, the moon goddess, who is trying to find someone who can kill her son. The second is her younger brother, Avish, who agrees to the task because she tells him that she will restore his powers as a God of the Sky Realm. (He'll be an earth deity rather then the God of Famine.) Avish almost turns away from evil when he falls in love with Cait (one of my heroine's two best friends) and discovers that the orb Ruby would need to complete their arrangement is inside of Cait's body, but when she is killed he wants revenge on the person he thinks is responsible. (My heroine, Sarena.)

In my Ellithica books the over-arching Big Bad is the Shadow King and honestly I'm not far enough into the planning to know much about him except that (1) he wants to put his nephew, Jabari, on the throne rather then his own daughter. (2) he tries to marry his daughter off to a rival necromancer so she won't be in Jabari's way. and (3) when he discovers Natalia (the daughter) has fled he sends assassins to kill her. Nice guy, huh?

More close up, the books do tend to have their own villains outside of this (that seems to be a pattern with me since I tend to plot in series for whatever reason). For instance, Jabari is the villain of the first book, and I know the the inn keeper, Sydonia, is the villain in a later book. Since I'm still ironing out all the wrinkles I can't give a full list, but you get the idea. My 'personal' villains or antagonists tend to have a much more detailed scope then my big sweeping bad guys do.

I definitely agree with the 'everyone is a protagonist' philosophy. I can say this more about Ruby since I've been working on Moon Dance for so long, but she hates the fact that her son "needs" to die and she wants to give birth to a child that she can actually love. (The reason she "can't" *won't* love Kess is because his father is a God of the Underworld who tricked her and she sees Kess as an abomination because of his mixed blood.)

Anyway, really great thread idea. Very fun. :)
 

Viklit

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It works. In Kody Keplinger's Shut Out, the ultimate LI spends most of the time as an antagonist.

I haven't seen anyone do it with a villain (other than as a third side of a love triangle where you know it's just forced and not going to happen). It's a notion I've toyed with a few times. I'm just musing.

Thanks for the rec re Kody, I'll check it out.

I think a villain could become a love interest if we understood their motivations... or the main character was going through some sort of 'dark time' where they were attracted to the villain. Might work nicely for a love triangle.

Interesting to think about the difference between antagonist and villain too.
 

Jessica_312

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My story has several antagonists, come to think of it. My main antagonist, or the "Big Bad" of the story, isn't human. He's driven by greed and a feeling of superiority. He feels he's rightfully earned all the power he's been given, even though that isn't the case.

I like this thread :D
 

pencil bot

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I try to make my antagonist human, with a purpose, instead of black-and-white "mwahaha evil! destroy the world, including myself!" villains. I learnt a lot from reading articles about the non-traditional antagonists in Hayao Miyazaki's films.
 

frimble3

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It works. In Kody Keplinger's Shut Out, the ultimate LI spends most of the time as an antagonist. Kind of made their UST that much more juicy and one of the better YA relationships I've read. Probably because I like a good bit of conflict between characters.

I haven't seen anyone do it with a villain (other than as a third side of a love triangle where you know it's just forced and not going to happen). It's a notion I've toyed with a few times. Not that that's what you're doing (you're antagonist sounds like a stand up dude.) I'm just musing.
I could see the 'antagonist/protagonist falls in love with each other' if they are just two people on opposite sides of a conflict, maybe matching wits with each other over the scheming draws them together, even.
If, however, they're actually hurting each other, I can't really see that as anything but kinda squicky.
"Ooh, you tried to kill me, but now I love and trust you!" Yeah, right.
It's a whole different level from "You tried to foreclose on the ranch!"
 

CJ Knightrey

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My antagonist is a 407 year old man with the power to kill with just skin contact. To be entirely honest he isn't a 'bad guy'. He has done some really bad things, but he isn't the cookie cutter bad guy. He is a very confused (touching on delusional) but genuine person who believes the end justifies his means. I like him a lot actually, he's a very fun character to write. :)
 

Stiger05

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If, however, they're actually hurting each other, I can't really see that as anything but kinda squicky.
"Ooh, you tried to kill me, but now I love and trust you!" Yeah, right.
It's a whole different level from "You tried to foreclose on the ranch!"

But "I love you, ooh now you're trying to kill me" works though. Like Anakin and Padme. LIs turned enemies would be fantastic tension.

Of course the "I love you but you tried to kill me" worked for Buffy and Spike.

Oh, and I love the word squicky. :)
 

KateSmash

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The part I wanted to play with was the squick factor. Like the MC has her LI, who turns out to be a rotten necromancer hellbent on raising an elder god and has to harness her soul and undead corpse to do so. She loved them, they didn't really love her at all.

No way no how am I going to give such a couple a happy ending. I don't think I could live with myself.
 

Castaspella

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Also, do you feel the some YA authors feel the need to "explain" why the Antagonist is "evil/bad". I've always thought that the antagonistic forces in a YA novel are so...elementary. Why do they need to be explained, can't something simply exist because it is a force of evil, so to speak.

This is pretty much the human condition - when bad things happen, people need answers for closure or motivation or any number of things and it also applies to people who commit unspeakable acts i.e. why did they do it? How did they come to be this way? I suppose it also stems from the belief no one is born bad.

Most of my antagonists have pretty set goals and will ignore most events in the story or world in general which are irrelevant to their plans - this sometimes comes off as indifferent or "more evil" (sometimes it is one of those things and sometimes it's both of them).

As for the reasons behind having these goals, they vary from being part of secret societies with rules to uphold, personal spite from being unjustly rejected, or protecting themselves by irradicating all possible threats. Some of these have personal catalysts that set the ball rolling, but the indifferent ones just tend to be more shrewd/educated and eliminating threats/enemies is necessary and not always personal (immediately, anyway).
 

Kyra Wright

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My MC grew up in the midst of a brutal war, and at first thinks of the entire aggressive country as the enemy- king, army, and ordinary civilians alike. Eventually, after meeting some of the aforementioned civilians, she comes to understand that they've suffered as much as she has from years of war and brutality. Same with many members of the army. My MC is also plagued with immaturity and a narrow view of the world that blinds her to the reality of the situation, so that's something else to overcome.
 

Sarahbear9789

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I have two antagonist. One is always present and the MC can't really do anything about it. Well, she tries to and fails many times. The second one is part of one, but has different motivations. It is more personal, because it is the MC's sister and there are feelings of betrayal in both characters' mind.
 

Dhewco

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One of my WIPs is a story about a 13yo serial killer. He was assaulted when he was 11, his mother forced him to testify, and the perv got off on a technicality. Something in him snapped and he figured out a way to kill the man almost a year later (saving another kid from being hurt in the process). He decided to become an avenger of sorts.

Anyway, the POV shifts between him and the detective trying to catch him. I love the boy character so much that I tend to think of him as the protagonist (a la Dexter), but some of my beta readers automatically assume the detective is the protagonist.


David
 

Wind Ann Wise

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My story has 2: A real antagonist and a "sort-of" antagonist.
The real one: A werewolf hunter.
The sort-of one: His daughter, who wants nothing to do with the family business, but ends up being forced to help him anyway.
 

Mharvey

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My antagonist is Michael Morgan, age 17. His family was murdered by Titan, one of the most famous "super heroes" in Eternity City and the main character's father. By day, Michael lives a quiet life in a seminary, learning scripture. Hiding from the real world. By night, his dreams are consumed with thoughts of vengeance, but Michael is a regular human and knows vengeance can't ever happen. He's just not strong enough.

Or can it?

When his uncle introduces a new technology that can strip people of their superpowers, he begins to have his dreams during the day. Michael lures Titan into a trap and strips him of his powers. Once Titan is chained, helpless, Michael seeks answers. Instead, he finds himself acting out his dreams. Before he can stop himself, he's beaten Titan to death with a pipe. Once he's dead, Michael's lust for revenge doesn't die with him - it implodes. He goes after the Council that Titan reported to. He goes after Titan's teammates. He goes after Titan's family. Soon, he's after every super hero.

Pretty soon, Michael loses who he is, trying to fill a hole that will never be filled. He inspires his followers to execute men, women and children... becoming far worse a villain than even Titan was.
 
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frankie say relax

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The antagonist in my story is a descendant of the Oracle at Delphi (Pythia). The background is that Pythia had real powers that were stripped from her and redistributed. My antagonist believes the powers are rightfully hers, and is trying to get them back. I think explaining it (eventually) will be a key element in the story. If the reader doesn't know this information, then the character won't make any sense. It is also vital information for setting up a sequel.

I don't think there should be a pointless background story for anyone, but in situations where a little explanation is required in order to understand the villain, then it is important. For example in Disney's Aladdin, Jafar was evil, greedy and power hungry and that was enough for us. However in the story of Snow White, I think the versions which give details about Snow's interactions with the Queen before she was evil tell a far more interesting and complex story than "she wanted to be the most beautiful girl in the kingdom".

I know I went with movies on this one when this is a writer's forum, but I've got a headache today and I was drawing blanks on books that I thought everyone probably has read.
 

Nogetsune

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In one of my ideas, the protagonist of one story becomes the antagonist of another. He's interesting and I love writing him because of his evolution as a person. He goes from being a rather geeky teen to a rebel leader and then an immortal dictator who rules the entire world, and it's fun to see him change so much over time.

He has a ruthless, determined, ambitious personality and is a sort of twisted idealist who wants to make his fantasies a reality. He also, in the first part of the story before he has his worldwide empire is somebody you can relate to in many ways, including having a distinct dislike(and later outright hatred) for the rich and the politicians of his home country(America). Despite this, though, he's evil enough to actually be considered a villain protagonist in the first story. He dose some VERY evil things(including killing close friends to gain their superpowers) and as a dictator is even worse. However, in the first story, you can see his justification. In the second one, when he is the main villain he is pretty much a complete monster, but one you can understand to some extent, especially since you've had a whole story's worth of development to see how he became what he did.

My other main work has an antagonist who' far more typical, though still interesting. He's the MC's uncle and is also, more or less, insane. He's a high-ranking excutive in a megacorp that rules the world's setting, but secrectly he controls the entire company via having it's CEO/Owner under the influence of his mind control magic at all times. Like the MC, he can speak to dragons to gain magic, but unlike the MC, who knows this is a special ability he possesses, the villain believes himself to be an actual dragon, cursed with being trapped in a human body.

His ultimate goal is thus twofold, one, to become a true dragon, and two, to establish a new age of draconic rule over the world, and to do that he seeks to free the dragon whom he speeks to to gain his magic, which is a massive dragon that is imprisoned in the center of their planet. He's fairly typical as far as villains are concerned personality-wise, and even goes as far as to engage in evil laughter from time to time, but he still has an interesting enough backstory to keep him fresh and is VERY effective regarding his goals most of the time. He's a master manipulator, and that shows up in the story...a lot. He also has heavy ties to the MC's father, who's "disappearance" in the MC's youth is a major plot point.
 

CEMartin2

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I went for a really, really overthetop big bad: a millenia-old giant that can shapechange by ripping out and consuming the hearts of his victims- taking their memories, their life force and even their powers. Among his favorite forms to take- a dragon, that he uses.

As a giant, he's a six-fingered, six-toed 8 footer, with a double row of teeth.

I'm not sure of his body count in the book, possibly over a hundred, with mention of thousands in the past.
 

Sol Quince

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My Antagonist, Grace, in my novel "Sol" use to be the MC's best friend. Sol was responsible for her friends death, so Grace comes back as a "ghost" so to speak, and they conflict more then any other characters. The character that dead isn't exactly evil but I see an antagonist as a person who gives the MC a hard time and hard decisions. That is what Grace does. ;)
 

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