They’re working against our main characters at every opportunity, trying to make sure they don’t reach their goals.
My antagonists sometimes even like to kill people. I have others that discourage my protagonists, send them off on tangents, or divert their focus.
They keep stories from getting too pat by creating conflict and standing between our protagonist and their goals.
What makes a good bad guy?
Attitude—These folks are usually brash, not shy. Intelligence—No idiots need apply. Opposing Goals—They don’t share the protagonist’s worldview.
Drive—They’re not ones to just drop their vendetta ten pages into the book. No, they’re going to try to get the best of our protagonist, or trip him up, through most of the novel.
Deviousness—They might lie or cheat--or kill--to reach their goal.
Limited contact with the protagonist—I could be persuaded otherwise for the right circumstances….but it’s awfully fun to have the antagonist be a person of mystery. An ominous force working against our main character.
And…ultimately? It’s someone who makes mistakes.—Unless we want our protagonist to fail, or have a less-than-happy ending, our protagonist should be able to trump our antagonist by the end of the novel.
Got a good bad guy? What makes the bad guy so good?
Hope y’all will drop by tomorrow..my guest will be Charlotte Bowen from the Fictionette blog, with an interesting post on the research side of the writing process with her post on “Historical Research.”
And—it’s Super Bowl time! I don’t care for football, but I do like some of the things that make up the party. Pop by the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for my look at beer. :)