Vlog #4: How to Create a Believable Antagonist

by Laura Michelle Thomas


How do you create an antagonist that is believable? That’s a great question when you consider the only reason you have an antagonist is to create obstacles for your protagonist, build conflict and create page-turning tension in your story. While it’s true that a simple stock character can perform that same role in your story, we all know that great stories have complex believable antagonists.


First, treat your antagonist like your protagonist and know the answers to these five questions:

  1. What does the antagonist want or need?
  2. Does he or she get it?
  3. Who are the antagonist’s allies?
  4. Who are the antagonist’s enemies?
  5. Does the antagonist grow or change in the story?

The second thing you can do is write the antagonist’s backstory which you can infuse through his or her speech and actions. But before you throw your entire bad guy’s backstory into your main narrative, remember that backstory is like an iceberg. You only need to show the reader the peaks of the backstory, not all of it.


Laura Michelle Thomas

About Laura Michelle Thomas

Laura Michelle Thomas is a novelist, freelance writer, writing mentor, and the owner of Laura Thomas Communications. She is the creator and administrator of the Junior Authors Contests and Junior Authors Conferences. Laura is publisher and senior editor of jaBlog! and is dedicated to fostering the development of young writers worldwide.

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