Antagonists Don’t Have To Be Evil–Writing Characters

One of the big things for writers to get is this: the hero is heroic, but their nemesis doesn’t have to be evil. The best way to create an antagonist is thinking of your characters as people with different agendas, not thinking one is “good” and the other is “bad.”

If your hero’s journey is facing and surviving the snow storm, that’s awesome, and I think we can all agree that nature isn’t “evil” it just is.  The snow has an agenda—to fall—and the hero has an agenda: to survive…

Or in my case, my agenda is to have a clean dog. Milo’s agenda was to roll in poop late last night. He’s not bad or evil, but he is a dog, and dogs will be dogs….stinky, stinky dogs…

In other words, sometimes the flattest writing comes because we’re making judgments on our characters: he’s good, she’s bad. To up the texture of our writing, I think it’s a better idea to forget judgment and concentrate on agenda.

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