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.
TWO TIPS FOR CREATING A BELIEVABLE ANTAGONIST
First, treat your antagonist like your protagonist and know the answers to these five questions:
- What does the antagonist want or need?
- Does he or she get it?
- Who are the antagonist’s allies?
- Who are the antagonist’s enemies?
- 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.