Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Laramie Writer's Group Topic: Antagonist's Interview

Last night's Laramie's Writers Group was so much fun! As we've geared up for National Novel Writing Month, we've been discussing in-depth story, plot, and character development methods. Last night's topic was the best yet in my option, and I was so happy that it helped Margo not only with a character's motivation, but also his personality.

This Antagonist's Interview is courtesy of www.writermag.com's February 2011 Cover Story: A Pyramid Approach to Novel-Writing. Hopefully, it can help some of my fellow #NANO writers as they prepare for next month's 50K word venture.

"Antagonists are typically underwritten characters. Who wants to spend time with the bad guy? I do, because a well-written, believable and sympathetic antagonist spells the difference between a toss-away novel and a cinematic novel. Imagine you are your antagonist's biographer. Interview him or her, creating a character page from the answers.

  • What's your name? Nickname?
  • Anyone ever tell you that you look like someone famous?
  • Of all your qualities, which are you most proud of? Where do you think you acquired this talent?
  • What do people seem to like the least about you? How does it make you feel?
  • Which habit of yours would you most like to change?
  • If someone looked in your bathroom garbage right now, what would they find?
  • What scent do you enjoy the most and what does it remind you of?
  • If you could go back in time and change one day of your life, what day would it be and why?
  • What three goals do you want to accomplish int he next year? What challenges do you have to overcome to reach them?
  • Whom do you love most in this world and why?
  • What scares you?
If you can coax your antagonist into answering these questions, you'll be well on your way to creating a character readers can relate to who is nonetheless a damaged human being. This will create an incredibly interesting conflict when he or she crosses paths with your protagonist."

I'd love to see some bits of your antagonists in the comments below, so please share some if you like!

I may be a little absent (even more than usual) through November, as I too am participating in NANO, but be sure to keep an eye out for some editing advice posts in early December, as well as a few query helper giveaways just in time for the contests coming up in December, January, and February.

Stay warm and write on!


  1. Good luck on NaNo! I've done it once, but the timing hasn't worked out for me in a while. Keep the words coming!

    And I love antagonists. I just like to keep them a little mysterious. You know there's more there, but they don't share it easily.

    1. Thanks Blair! I'm hoping to have most of the novel I'm writing done, though it would be well over the 50k minimum, as it's a Young Adult novel.

      I agree with you about the bad guy. This interview is for the writer. Not every detail has to be in the story, but if the writer knows them, they will come out as well rounded, and strangely broken people!