So my new WIP has a villainous vixen. It's so gratifying to design her. I want her to be just right, so I'm taking great lengths to understand what motivates her and what her main goal is. I've talked a bit about character motivation and goals in my last few posts, so if you missed any, check them out in my archives.
Here's a little bit I've learned on crafting the antagonist from Bob Mayer's workshop:
The Antagonist: Must be someone the reader respects (fears): smart, funny, kind, skilled, interesting, different. Must seem real; flawed, layered, and have a blind spot.
The antagonist must be in trouble. People tend to forget the antagonist has
problems too. Usually, the protagonist.
Must be introduced as soon as possible, even if by proxy. This one drives people
crazy. But you can’t have an antagonist that suddenly pops in for the climactic scene.
Often, the reader meets your antagonist, but has no clue that’s their role. Or, you introduce a proxy of the antagonist, or a minion of the antagonist. Either one introduces the antagonist.
The antagonist is the person on stage in the climactic scene, fighting the
protagonist because . . . their goals conflict. The reader must believe both will lose everything if they don’t defeat the other. Their goals are difficult to achieve because of external barriers, primarily each other.
The antagonist must have strong, believable motivation for pursuing her external
and specific goal. We might not agree with what they are doing, but at least it makes sense to us, given who the antagonist is as a character.
In short, no antagonist, no story.
On a side note, I read an awesome idea on my bloggy friend, RogueMutt's post the other day and had to try it. He blogged about how he designed his characters using Mii on the Wii game. If you have a Wii, you should really try this. It was so much fun. Plus, it gives you a concrete idea of what your characters should look like--everything from the shape of their face to the arch of their eyebrows can be designed just like you want it. I love the amazing ideas I get from you guys. Such a creative lot, you are! :)
Also, still time to sign up for Erin Spock's Paint it Purple Blogfest. This time you can use as many adverbs and as much purple prose as you like. Just for kicks. Click on the pic and sign up:
So what do you think? Have you ever designed your characters on Wii? Aside from Wii, how do you craft your villains or antagonists? Any tips or suggestions to share?