August 29, 2012

Did Your Antagonist Act Ugly Enough?


A Working Profile of the Ultimate Antagonist.

   So who did you pick to be the worst enemy of your hero, today? What does he look like, and what did he do today to ruin your Protagonists life? Did it work...at least for an hour or a day?
   Did someone notice or care that your Antagonist was acting ugly? Did he make someone sick to their stomachs or angry enough to run out and buy a gun or sling shot?
   Did your Antagonist's facial expressions give him away or did he stay cool and look calm? How did he dress for the occassion in all black, all white, or Fuscia?
   Just how deceptive is your Antagonist? Is s/he awful or bad enough to chew nails? Does he  make you want to spit, or cringe in disgust. Is your Antagonist clever and gnawingly nauseating? Did they ever use subliminal tapes, chant or meditate. Is visualization a part of their ritual. Does he practice the traditions of men, Greek mythology or love
living in a science fiction world. Does s/he play games?
  How about pleasant and agreeable for a change of pace. Does your Antagonist have a loving family to a fault - who adores him or her and are blind to their faults? Were they the first born, middle, or youngest sibling. Was s/he adopted or did his/her parents die when s/he was very young? Is the Antagonist in your book closer to their dad or mother? Did they ever go to Bible school or do they call it Sunday school?
   What about his/her hygiene? If your Antagonist's mind  dirty? What about her teeth, or his nails, or her hair, or his thoughts. Is your Antagonist gainfully employed, wealthy, a hustler or a player that lives for the moment? Is it necessary for him to rule the world or just a certain part of it?
   Does your Antagonist like to cook or eat dirt. Is your Antagonist into generic foods, holistic healthy or does s/he like hot house tomatoes. Does your Antagonists bite their nails or cut their own hair? Does your Antagonist believe in God or Satan?
  Did you say that was too much information? If that's how you feel than maybe that's why your Antagonist doesn't work in your story.
  Don't compromise a good story...profile your Antagonist and get to know him better than he knows himself. Then you might be able to tell him what to do or say next. And you might just write a classic about someone acting ugly.
   Author Ayn Rand took two - three years to write the "Fountainhead", just so she could flesh out her characters profiles. If that's too much to ask, Oh well!
   All I can say is just stand back, than, and say nothing. And don't be too judgemental or critical when your Antagonist doesn't perform the way you intended him or her to.

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Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

July 08, 2012

Conviction and Character Development

Does your character have conviction?       Which one?
   By definition, Conviction means your characters have an opinion and belief that is firmly and uniquely held by each one. Their convictions drive their motives and their actions.
   Convictions are sincere and passionate. They make, cause, or force your characters (both the Antagonist and the Protagonist) to move or act in a certain way and with cer-tain-ty. If two different characters act and move on their firmly held beliefs or opinions, then you have conflict, especially if your main characters convictions (beliefs) are in opposition to one another. Conviction causes movement or action and is a single force that can drive the book, movie, or play forward. Conviction must be on going from one scene or one chapter to another and does not require a change in the characters view point... especially the Antagonist. Usually with strong convictions as the driving force, the scenes in your book, movie, or play will grow stronger, and more dramatic. And, the doggedness with which your character holds his/her convictions will make it so.
   If the character does change or alter his/her convictions it should always move further into the belief system and not backwards into doubt. It should be enhanced or more intense, and it should cause the Hero a great deal of concern, worry and challenging fear.
   In the majority of cases it is the Antagonist who maintains his convictions till the living end. The antagonist is so entrenched in his convictions he is willing to die in order to carry them out. Therefore, his convictions tend to be fanatical, unnerving, and extremely evil.... worldconquering evil. Believe it or not, that is exactly what you want from the Antagonistic characters. The writer wants them to be firmly entrenched and dug in to their belief or position - moving and acting on it with a vengeance. Blinded, if you will, by thei time frame and mission.
   Did you see the movie "Taken".  Every one of the characters was entrenched in their beliefs including the Protag who committed evil acts that seemed justified, considering the circumstances.
    Let the protagonist grow and have doubts, if he wants to, or if he must be humane, but the Antagonist should always be allowed to do it his way without any interference from the writer or the “goody - two - shoes“, Protag - if he leans that way, or a higher power. After all, Antagonists tend to be on the road to a destruction of somekind.
Let the Protagonist worry about leaning lessons in life and growing to be a better person. That’s our Protags job...learning the lessons in life...come what may. But the job and actions (by definition), we want our Antagonists to be involved in are witless and wisdom-less and certainly not riddled with doubt and angst.
   Let the Protagonist use honorable, friendly, persuasion to get someone to accept or believe in his views and opinions, because - to be perfectly honest - the Antagonist has already heard all of them, and he is still on the road toward his destructive mission - come hell or high water. Who knows, maybe after he’s done everything he’s big enough to do, than maybe the Antagonist will change his unsound beliefs or convictions to make it more palatable, but it will never be in harmony with the hero ...it simply can’t be. He wouldn’t be the Antagonist.

Writers are getting  more creative in character development, because I see more Protags doing the unthinkable and not looking back, or ruminating on it. Good idea.

Besides, if someone ever reformed the Joker, or Lex Luther they’d probably be a bore.

Write Stuff-Write Now,
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Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2012 A division of GACM Inc.

March 31, 2012

The Antagonist With Redeeming Qualities

   From now on when I flesh out the profile of my Antagonist I've decided to add a personality trait you don't see mentioned much - "Redeeming Qualities".  Most antagonists don't have them, redeeming qualities that is. Some of us watch movies and read books and see redeeming qualities in them, but we usually play pass them because we're suppose to to be rooting for the hero (protagonist). There's also the fact that Antagonists in a story are usually too busy trying to "Rule The World" or too busy Destroying The World  for us to care about them.
   Antagonists are also, usually, flawed in their ambitions, thoughts and deeds and they're also destructive. They don't embrace noble causes and are not people pleasing, friendly souls. They usually want to do away with everyone or anyone they can't control  and stomp them into the ground -  like Bullies.
   Does your Antagonist have redeeming qualities that you would like to reveal to your reader or viewing audiences?
  I watched  My Cousin Vinnie on cable last night, and I got a real kick out of the fact that the Alabama judge, in the trial, was the true antagonist in the conflict. He followed the Rules Of Procedure and the Rules of Conduct of a lawyer or judge, but he ignored the facts of the case - based on his own prejudice for Yankees up North - especially the four  NY Yankees from Brooklyn - and so did every Alabama witness who testified against the two defendants in the case. Imagine secretly holding a grudge since 1776  based on the outcome of the Civil War and using it in a trial in the year 2011. It's that laughable as long as you're not standing trial for murder - unfortunately they were.
    All the witnesses deliberately perjured themselves or fabricated the truth with false facts, in order to prosecute two young men. A judge, a little old Black Lady (senile),  and an expert witness who didn't know squat about cars.  I found myself repeatedly looking for the judges redeeming qualities, because he looked like someones nice, friendly grandpa. He claimed he believed in respecting the court system and appropriate dress in the courtroom and was immaculate in his appearance, but he was flawed in his judicial judgement and character.
   But, so were the defendants and their shyster lawyer, Cousin Vinnie. In fact the shyster lawyer was practicing law based on a lie.
   However, because the shyster lawyer (Joe Pesci) was street smart, (something audiences tend to like), and  because his defendants were innocent,  he became the HERO
   That's right folks, the street smart attorney became the Protagonist - hero - all of a sudden. That's the kind of conflict and surprises  I like. When there's a lot of flaws on both sides of the fence, but honesty or justice or a semblance of the two,  prevails, and then honesty and justice becomes the real heros in the story.

Please let me know if you have ever seen a movie or read a book in which the Antagonist's view appealed to you more than the Hero's based on sound judgement or whatever.

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Tattle Tells is a registered TM
Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow is  Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

February 16, 2012

WRITESTUFF-WRITENOW: The TATTLE TELLS: THE ANTAGONIST: A PERSON, PLACE OR THING?

WRITESTUFF-WRITENOW: The TATTLE TELLS: THE ANTAGONIST: A PERSON, PLACE OR THING?: THE ANTAGONIST IS IT A PERSON, PLACE, OR THING? What do you think of when you hear the word Antagonist? Is s/he strong, weak or neutral...

Book Reviewer Disclaimer:Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge.The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255.WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

WRITESTUFF-WRITENOW: The TATTLE TELLS: THE ANTAGONIST: A PERSON, PLACE OR THING?#links

WRITESTUFF-WRITENOW: The TATTLE TELLS: THE ANTAGONIST: A PERSON, PLACE OR THING?#links

Book Reviewer Disclaimer:Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge.The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255.WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

WRITESTUFF-WRITENOW: The TATTLE TELLS: THE ANTAGONIST: A PERSON, PLACE OR THING?#links

WRITESTUFF-WRITENOW: The TATTLE TELLS: THE ANTAGONIST: A PERSON, PLACE OR THING?#links

Book Reviewer Disclaimer:Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge.The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255.WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

THE ANTAGONIST: A PERSON, PLACE OR THING?

THE ANTAGONIST

IS IT A PERSON, PLACE, OR THING?


What do you think of when you hear the word Antagonist? Is s/he strong, weak or neutral?
      I always think of a formidable foe, ONE who antagonizes their opponent so badly that you wish they were dead…or at least so far away from you, you never encounter them ever again. Someone like Satan comes to mind. Someone or something that blocks you from doing what you want to do. Satan is the main Antagonist of EVERY Christian in the world, and he‘s invisible - a spirit being and powerful.
        No one could have thought Satan up. He is unthinkable in his actions and deeds, and the basis of all the evil that writers, and storytellers from century to century think up and instill in their characters creation  and development. He harbors no regrets and in the movie, The Devils Advocate, Satan professed to be 'a fan of man'. The Joker….The Predator, The Terminator, The Wolf at grandma’s house, The Scarlet Letter - A, The Lottery, Drugs and Alcohol, Your Brain on drugs and alcohol, Your Family, You.
     All of these people, places and things have the potential to be strong Antagonists. We need to know them as well as we know the Hero (protagonist), so that what they do and what we watch them do  is believable to us and works in the creation of your stories world.  Like Satan works in the creation of our world. He literally tried to destroy it by ridding it of humans.
      Have you ever thought of an antagonist as a Drug or a drug like Neutralizing Agent that neutralizes the effect of a substance on the body. You know what, I like the definition of an Antagonist being a drug, because the neutralizing effect can be both positive and negative  - depending on your frame of mind or perspective. Which means that all antagonists that oppose or conflict with your protags plans don’t necessarily have to be bad or negative, like satan. Some antagonists can be good for you. As long as It creates conflict, and it propels, moves and drives the story along.

     The Antagonist might be your subconscious, for instance. It warns you of the consequences and impending dangers of your actions, and tries to neutralize your desire to act on a thing that may be harmful or toxic, or it can drive you crazy with conflict. In storytelling, the protagonist needs conflict which is usually in the form of another person, but a drug or a conscience... a strong minded conscience- encountering your work or actions - can be just as impelling and  just the right character-source for your piece. Something conspiring AGAINST your plan and that counters it - is all you really need. Then you flesh it out. It doesn't have to have eyes or hands, but it should have teeth... that bite...story wise.
     How strong is your Antagonist? Does s/he have any redeeming qualities? Do you plot your Antagonist out and profile them just as carefully as you do your main character and Hero? Should you? I say yes, because in the character development stage of a story, the Hero is only as powerful and commanding as the Anti Hero…or Antagonist.
    Be it a disease, a nagging cough from a virile-virus or an ugly villain with a ponytail. Knowing the ins and outs of the Antagonist, and how s/he are in opposition to the Hero or main character is crucial to the development of your plot,  structure,  and the protags ability to counteract the conflict. It also makes for a fascinating read.

In summary:
Q.  What do all Antagonists in the movies and in books tend to have in common?
A.  In the majority of cases_ its an evil person. Do something different! Don’t get hung up on all Antagonists being only  persons. Create IT  no matter what form it takes, (animate or inanimate).  Execute IT- on your protagonist... with a vengeance.

Write stuff-Write now.

A. McKain


Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow, Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2012 A division of GACM Inc..