Friday, February 24, 2012

I Feel Bad For My Antagonist...

PREPOST UPDTATE: Our performance at the Quicken Loans Arena that I talked about in Wednesday's post didn't turn out so well. We all had lots of fun but it wasn't our best run through. And I didn't make the second round of ABNA. Oh well. Better luck next time!

There comes a point in story writing that your characters take on a life of their own. But the more real they become, the more I feel bad about doing bad things to them. I mean, sure, in the end it's all for the better (well, hopefully). Because the whole point of the story is to watch them overcome. I guess they don't always end up 'overcoming' but the possibility of failure is what makes the story interesting. And that's why we have antagonists.

But I feel bad for my antagonist.

I'm pretty sure my beta readers didn't feel bad for him. And my CP hasn't met him yet. I made him pretty easy to hate (I think). But then, I'm the only one who knows his full back-story. And when you really think about it, most bad guys think they're the good guys.

I mean, wouldn't you be angry if all of your efforts to be great were overshadowed by one of the the protagonists? And then if you thought that same protagonist was going to bring the galaxy crumbling down, wouldn't getting rid of them be the right thing?

From our point of view, no. That definitely isn't the right thing. But from his? Probably.

Besides, being the antagonist is hard. No one wants to be hated. Maybe they like causing trouble but they don't want to be hated.

As I said before, there comes a point when your characters take on a life of their own. And I'm pretty sure my antagonist hates me for making him the bad guy.

There ^^ is another antagonist I feel bad for...


What do you guys think? Who's an antagonist you feel bad for? Is it silly to feel bad for the antagonist?


Have a great weekend!

--Jess

P.S.
Knights of Micro-Fiction is on Monday! Be prepared! And, votes for my Campaign Entry are still needed appreciated!

26 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I felt bad for Darth Vader, too. Especially after watching the first three movies.

Have a good weekend, Jess.

Kelley said...

I think that's great when we can write an antagonist that isn't one dimensional. That isn't 'all bad'. That in some sick way feels justified doing what they're doing.

I hope to accomplish that with a future WIP. :)

So sorry about the competition. You'll get em' next time!

Michelle Pickett said...

Yes, I have one antagonist that I do feel bad for. She has an interesting backstory, and like you mentioned I'm the only one who knows all of it. It's hard to write her story sometimes because she is "likeable" she doesn't think she's hurting anyone...but of course she is the bad "guy" so she has to be bad. :)

Michelle :)

prerna pickett said...

I know exactly where you're coming from! My antagonist's motivations don't come out until later on in the series, so most people don't get her deal, but I do. I know why she is the way she is, and it's hard not to feel bad for the things that went on in her life that changed her into the 'bad guy'.

Samantha said...

I always felt bad for Snape. I'm glad he actually ended up being a good guy :D

theaccidentalnovelist said...

First, I can't believe you are only 15. You've definitely got the jump on all us "old" writers.

I think if you feel sorry for your antagonist, that's probably a good sign. It means there's enough to him (i.e. he's 3-dimensional, not cookie cutter) to feel sorry for. I mean, at one point that bad guy was a kid, with parents, and hopes and dreams. You can only start feeling for characters once they have some substance.

If you're into flash - come join in on my 50 First Lines writing contest.

http://theaccidentalnovelist.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/writing-contest-for-fun-and-profit-okay-i-lied-about-the-profit-part/

Krista M said...

Hmm... I have to say that I wrote just a really creepy and terrible antagonist. I don't really feel sorry for him, but at the same time I do... the fact that he's so alone and kidnaps young men for company is so wrong, but I still kinda feel sorry for him.

No one wants to be hated, so very true.

Angela Brown said...

It's those complex characters, like Darth Vader, that we can't help feeling for. I have one for the dragon story I've had on hold. The antagonist really thinks he's doing the right thing, but alas, he's not.

Aldrea Alien said...

Oh yes, I feel very bad for Vader.

I also feel a little bad for my current agonist and I'm hoping, by the end of it, that the readers will as well since he isn't really a bad guy per se. But his the dark lord.

Though my last agonists were doing it for the good of their species, I didn't feel at all sympathetic for them.

McKenzie McCann said...

I rarely have a person as the antagonist. Sometimes my main character fills both the protagonist and antagonist roles.

I'm sure being the antagonist is hard, but that's why they write stories like Wicked.

Mark Murata said...

I prefer to make my antagonists self-consciously bad. That doesn't make them one-dimensional; it takes some effort to portray that mentality. And I'm sure they don't resent being hated. They're too busy feeling contempt for the good guys.

Reiko said...

I can't wait till our vacation together when I can ask you all about the antagonist in your story! Love, Grandma

Susan Francino said...

I think that if you feel bad for your antagonist, you're probably doing something right. Very right, in fact. It means you've created a bad guy who is a real, multi-demensional human being. That's *excellent*.

I just came across your blog and am now following you. Nice to meet you. :)

Catherine Stine said...

Hi Jess, sure, feel bad for your antag, as an author, it's your job to "let loose the monsters on him" as Stephan King says!
BTW, I just awarded you a Versatile Blog award and TAGGED you in a fun, short writing game. Pop over to my blog to check it out! Catherine
http://catherinestine.blogspot.com

wchaser said...

I think you get so emotionally attached to any of your characters (after all, it's our job as a writer to put the emotions into them) that you do feel bad when you make one of them the antagonist - whether that's from the very start of because of what happens to them throughout the course of the story.....

Jess said...

Nice to meet you, too! Thanks for following :)

Jess said...

Aww thanks! I'll pick it up on Monday :)

Jess said...

Yep, that's EXACTLY how I feel! I'm sad that I had to make someone the bad guy. Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story without him... Thanks for stopping by!

Jess said...

Ooh that's another good one. I feel bad for Snape, too.

Jess said...

Lol thanks :) And I'll check it out! Glad you mentioned it!

Jess said...

Well, I guess some stories have to have bad guys like that too. And there have to be bad guys we don't feel sorry for! Thanks for stopping by :)

Jess said...

Ooh to have a protagonist and antagonist as the same character is cool! That must be hard to write it that way! I know it would be hard for me :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I don't think it's silly, since villains/antagonists are rarely pure evil (Sauron from LOTR is one exception I can think of right now).

This is actually something I've been thinking about a lot lately. A project I'm outlining calls for turning the antagonist into the protagonist--and vice versa.

meradeth said...

In my mind, the best antagonists are the ones you can identify with. Otherwise, well, what's the point of hating them? Sounds like you've got a fun character taking over :)

Caryn Caldwell said...

Yes! I totally agree! You want your antagonists to have depth, and a back story, but then you risk wanting to be nice to them. And you are so right about how we all think we're the heroes in our own tales. Including antagonists. Not only in stories, but in our own lives. I think almost all of us think that we're nice people, whose actions are justified.

Misha Gericke said...

So true. One of my YA book's villains is actually someone I pity, even if he is really twisted.

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