Real life characters help build great antagonists
This year my life has had more than it’s fill of unsavory people. For a moment I nearly lost my faith in humanity; that we are an inherently kind race. Luckily I have great and loving friends and family, so the negativity I was exposed to failed to get me upset or depressed. Like greedy vultures picking on the carcasses of the dead, those awful personalities have become great fodder for my writing.
Not only have these people made me stronger, they’ve become the bad guys in my novels. All I can say is thank you. You have strengthened my resolve and improved my writing.
So not only did I experience some personal growth, but I have attitudes, back stories, personal ticks and foibles filling an arsenal of antagonists. Honestly it has really helped my writing and added an extra dimension to character building. Provided motivation behind the unkind things people do.
Not only do personality traits come into play, but also circumstance and communication. The way people talk – or don’t talk about certain things. In hindsight these aspects are fascinating and great plot points. Living though them is a completely different matter – but this article isn’t about venting or crying ‘poor me,’ it’s about taking notice of what happens around you, to write it down.
There are also those who aren’t bad, or intentionally out to hurt someone that end up causing pain – how did it happen, how did they handle it, what happened afterwards? Questions like these help mould a more interesting character.
It wasn’t until I started asking ‘why’ in my writing that it really started to take off and develop. This doesn’t have to apply just to your antagonist, it should apply to all your cast.
Where do you get inspiration for your characters? Do they come fully formed in your head? Are they built slowly over the life or your novel, or do you loosely base it on someone you know?
… and to all those bullies, haters and cowards – thanks for the great material. I hope you find your happiness soon.
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