Lately with my novel Healers I’ve been hitting a pretty big block: my antagonist doesn’t make sense. I was so busy fleshing out my two main characters that I forgot to empathise with my villain. Since I’m rewriting the scenes that lead to the climax, I find that his motivations are not clear at all and that I need to dig deeper.
I shared that issue on Twitter and I got really good advice. I thought that I would share them with you, in case you are facing the same problem:
Hint: he wants the same thing the protagonist wants. Their external goals may be different, but more often than not the antagonist has the same internal drive as the hero. It is what brings them together.
— Hannah Lee Jarvis (@hleejarvis) May 21, 2018
Yeah, it's not enough for characters to be merely plot-convenient. Problem is, sometimes when you give them volition, they go off plot…
— Andrea Gabriel (@Andrea_Gabriel_) May 21, 2018
Try this as a writing exercise: Imagine your hero's deeds, then list them in one column. In the second column, 'flip it' by listing the exact opposite trait for your antagonist, then give him/her a puppy to love. This can generate ideas. #amwriting #novel #sf #scifi #writer
— Ken Casey (@kencasey) May 21, 2018
Sometimes I need to think about the character's back story and then what they want or what drives them hits me just before I need to go to bed.
— Andy Kraus (@AndyK1005) May 22, 2018
In addition to that, I also searched help on Youtube, and there’s a couple of videos that really did the trick:
I’ve now almost solved my problem with the villain, but I’m always looking for more advice! What’s your unusual trick to flesh out your bad guy? Do you have a ritual that you use for making them reaaaaally evil? Don’t hesitate to share in the comments below!