My Trouble With Antagonists

Dreaming up all sorts of characters and worlds, I often find myself wanting to devise conflicts and obstacles for the characters to overcome, and I suppose kind of sadly, the first place I drift towards is character antagonists; I think, what kind of “villain” might there be?  Villains aren’t bad as an element of writing inherently, but I’ve experienced enough media to know that they can be as damaging to the story as the protagonist at times.

The character and the type of obstacle or conflict they are meant to resolve should play a big part in how a story is written(generalization, so take as you will), and with that in mind, creating an antagonist or conflict that either doesn’t reinforce the character or even detracts from it is something to be aware of.  Not all obstacles need to be characters, and not all antagonists need to be characters exactly either.  While “Evil” for “Evil”‘s sake is most often sign of lacking creative effort, the concept of a “Force of Nature” entity is not invalid and can be used well despite lending to a more one-dimensional character in most senses.

I don’t want to write lazy or sloppy villains, and I don’t want to always write stories that center on traditional conflict, protagonist versus antagonist.  As I start to work towards a story though, I do often write the word “Conflict” in my notes as a line to fill in writing the story for the character I’m creating.  I think “Goal” might be a better word for me to start writing, and then building from that.  Conflict could play a part, but I think coming from before that decision might be helpful.  The process of creating conflict and antagonists is something that I struggle with, and takes a lot of time.  I struggle to find meaningful motivations for antagonists or conflicts that reinforce the story I’m trying to tell, and it can take a long time before I start to consider these things finalized.

Write the story you want to write, and whatever is your vision, make that happen.  I can’t tell you how to imagine and dream.  I can tell you that the stories and characters that stick with me the most often had “villains” and “conflicts” that were understandable(not even necessarily relate-able), and reinforced the themes and goals of the story.  I guess that’s all I have to say for now, this little spiel came about because I was reflecting on a lot of my writings and realized that I need to broaden my perspective to achieve what I hope to.

Trot On Everypony,

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