I’ve been asked for clarification of a Twitter post I made earlier today. Since “clarify” and “Twitter” aren’t exactly words that mesh well, I figured I’d make use of my beleaguered blog.
First, the tweet: I have issues coming up with good antagonists. This leads to issues developing plots, which leads to issues writing stories. This annoys me.
Joe from The Podge Cast asked for examples. I have two right here on the blog. My steampunky, alternate-history, whatever you want to call it story, the one I tried to get through the Snowflake Method with, is the prime example. In that story, I have a lot of ideas for the world. I have characters that are well-rounded and have a lot of depth (at least, that’s how they are in my head). There are conflicts between the main characters, which is great, but I’m finding the problem arises when I look to outside conflicts.
The characters will tend to do what they’ve always done and avoid their problems. They’ll go their separate ways until whatever’s wrong cools down, then they’ll meet up again and start the cycle over. I need something that forces them to stick together. I’ve got a vague idea of a politician that can cause problems. The Crawlers are a threat, but humanity has survived and dealt with them for a long while, now, so they’re not an imminent danger. Pirates? Maybe? I dunno.
I get to thinking about the antagonists of my stories, and I start to peter out. I want to focus on my world and my heroes. I want to know who they are, where they come from, where they’re going, how they handle themselves in the face of adversity…. Shit.
Now, I’m no expert at this, but whether you want to write character-driven fiction or plot-driven fiction, you need some “bad guys,” you need something there to stand between your characters and their goals. I seem to have issues with that.
On the positive, though, I’m figuring out that I have issues with that. Now I know my weakness, I can start sorting it out. (Thanks, Basher.) Maybe I don’t have clear cut enough goals for my characters. Maybe I haven’t thought out an expansive enough world. Maybe I need to go through a character outline based around antagonists, rather than protagonists. Maybe I need to find a writer’s group. Maybe….
I dunno. I’m sure once I’ve got this worked out, I’ll find some new road block in my way, but it’s a start, for now.