Writing antagonists

Firstly, please, please, please avoid this major writing mistake. Please do not make your antagonists easy to defeat. Your protagonists shouldn’t be able to outsmart them and make it home back for dinner. Your antagonist needs to be antagonising! Your antagonist should be a worthy adversary, not someone who’s easy to defeat!

Of course, the protagonist ultimately has to defeat the antagonist, but can you please not make it so easy? Thank you.

If you want to make your antagonist some bumbling idiot, then maybe you can put them close to the protagonist and no one will suspect them until much later on, like Professor Quill in Harry Potter.

Tip! Give your antagonist strengths and flaws.

Give your antagonist a back story

Their motivations shouldn’t be thin. Why do they do what they do? Are they just pure evil or have they had a painful back story? How did they become bad? Have they had a traumatic past?

Give your antagonist a goal

Why are they causing chaos? What do they want? Revenge? Power? Wealth? Destruction?

Your antagonist may also feel like they’re doing the right thing. They’re the hero in their story. In their mind, they may think that they’re doing what needs to be done and their means are justified.

Put yourself in the antagonist’s place.

What do you fear the most? Why do you want to stand in the way between the hero/es and their goals? What do you want the most and why? What are your motivations?

Antagonist motivation ideas:

  • They do evil things because they’re scared
  • They want power (and money)
  • They want to avenge the death of a loved one
  • They’re just bored (like Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes)
  • They want to gain acceptance
  • They believe they’re a hero
  • They long for revenge
  • Their traumatic backstory led them to the dark side
  • They longed for kindness and the dark side gave them that
  • They want to impress their peers

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Please like, share and drop a comment below!

Stay safe,

Published by H.R Phoenix, Author

H.R Phoenix is the creator of Penable. She likes to inspire people to write and is an author, editor, proofreader and illustrator. She is currently working on her mystery/thriller debut novel. When she's not working on a short story or writing awesome Penable Posts, she enjoys spending time painting, reading or hanging out with her two cute kittens...

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