Write Better Fiction: The Antagonist

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Self Critique Your Novel


Today on Write Better Fiction we’ll cover the Antagonist. Write Better Fiction is a process to help you critique your own manuscript and give yourself feedback. This will help you improve your novel, so you’re ready to submit it to an editor. Check the bottom of this post for links to previous Write Better Fiction articles.

This is similar to last week’s post except you are looking at when your antagonist shows up in your novel instead of the protagonist.

The antagonist should show up early and be visible throughout the novel. This doesn’t mean they can’t disappear for a while, but controlling the appearances will give you power to create the most tension.

The antagonist may or may not have the point of view in any scene. That’s a choice for you to make. In the thriller genre you may be pitting your protagonist against the antagonist, so you’ll want to give both point of view scenes.

In a mystery, you may choose NOT to write any scenes from your antagonist’s point of view so you don’t have to give away inner thoughts.

The goal of this column is to have you look at how early the antagonist arrives in your novel, how many scenes he/she appear in, and most importantly, is he/she in the climax scene.

Same as last week, sort the spreadsheet by the antagonist column. Are you giving your antagonist enough time for the reader to be surprised but not blindsided that he/she is the villain?

Your challenge this week is to count the number of scenes your antagonist is in. Does this seem balanced compared to the number of scenes your protagonist is in?

Previous blog posts on Write Better Fiction:

  • Number 1 Question to ask yourself about PLOT
  • Number 1 Question to ask yourself about CHARACTER
  • Number 1 Questions to ask yourself about SETTING.
  • ACTION in a scene
  • NAME of a scene
  • GOAL of point of view character

I critiqued DESCENT and BLAZE using the techniques I’m sharing in Write Better Fiction, and I believe this helped me sign with a publisher.

Please me know in the comments below if you agree with the advice on counting scenes for your antagonist? Does the genre impact if the antagonist has a point of view scene?

Thanks for reading…


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