Your Antagonist Can Be Too Antagonistic

Dear Maggie,

You recently wrote about how to create a strong hero in fiction writing, but I was wondering about the villain. Now I been writing a book about Goldilocks and the three bears, but these are were-bears, you know like werewolves, but people who can change into bears instead. Now these were-bears are really nasty creatures who just love to torment people and have been trying for a long time to get ahold of Goldilocks so they can eat her alive just to be mean. These are the kind of monsters my readers will really hate, so that should make it a better novel, right?

Your truly,

Ms. Fairy Tale


Dear Ms. Fairy Tale, 

Wrong! Making your antagonists too villainous and hateful will actually weaken your plot. (You do know what a plot is, I hope). Just as your protagonist – whom I assume to be Goldilocks in your work – should have some less than sterling qualities, your antagonist should have some characteristics that your readers can identify or even sympathize with, but just a little bit. 

Your plot actually doesn’t sound too bad, but your antagonists are just a bit too horrifying, if you know what I mean. Putting in a likeable trait or two will make them more real to your readers and, hence, more despicable in a purely human way, even though in your case they’re not altogether human. Giving your characters more realistic images will attract more attention in the long run. 

For example, you could have your were-bears – in their human form – donate a substantial portion of their ill-gotten gains to local charities. Maybe you could even throw in compulsive nail-biting. That should make things more interesting. And, in keeping with an earlier post of mine about protagonists, make Goldilocks a female impersonator who’s also a nymphomaniac.

Better yet, why don’t you donate your entire plot and all your characters to science, thereby skipping the whole messy process of writing a novel entirely?




About aakemp

I am a fiction writer and freelance writer/proofreader with excellent research abilities as well. What I offer is high quality writing done in a smooth, logically consistent and error-free manner. No fluff ever with my writing! Just intelligent, interesting copy. My novels include the young adult fantasy, "The Dragons of Atlantis" and the thriller/mystery, "Beneath the Smoke," available on Amazon's Kindle program. Also "The Dragons of Atlantis" is available on as an ebook or hard copy.
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