To make your protagonist stronger, build your antagonist!

In my last post, I mentioned an interest in the movie, “Rudy.” It taught me a lot about the battle of the underdog: to fight, persevere and overcome. In many ways when we are creating our stories (novels, fictive pieces) this is one of the challenges that we face, unless we can distance ourselves, so that the protagonist doesn’t appear disjointed or unsavory.

In an attempt to remedy that situation, it would be wise to build your antagonist.

Make your hero stronger by giving him/her goals to achieve and insurmountable obstacles to overcome. After all stories center around conflict and readers are in it to experience tension and suspense. So, give them salable fiction with two worthy opponents.

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Captain Jack Sparrow and Blackbeard. Lex Luthor and Superman. Batman and The Joker. Let us see people who are up to the challenge. Give us someone to root for, people who have something at stake.

Since the basics of storytelling is often highlighted as all stories have three acts. Therefore, you get your hero up a tree, throw rocks at the hero and get the hero out of the tree. Remember though that one character isn’t necessarily righteous and the other wicked. To craft a balanced story, figure out what makes your characters tick and then use what you know to enrich your story, especially your two main characters.

Lastly, when in doubt play around with the scene or the characters. If something is wrong you will feel it but in case you don’t either let it rest and go back to it, or get an unbiased reader.

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