It’s still Mad May on my blog, and today, I welcome Anneka Ever, a fantastic contemporary romance author, who explains why antagonists are so vital to any good story. Thank you, Anneka, for this enriching addition to Mad May!
Antagonists. They are the anti-heroes. They entertain us because they bring conflict, a vital component of most good stories.
Think about the books, television shows, and movies you consume. Now think about them without the antagonists. Game of Thrones would be pretty boring if Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen had no one opposing their goals. The Avengers face external conflict due to antagonists like Loki and Ultron, but they also deal with internal conflict due to the clashing personalities of all the superheroes. In the quieter moments of the movies, the protagonists become antagonists. That little trick maintains conflict and enriches the plot.
That’s something that happens in romance stories. We want the couple to get together, but not right away. Those little bits of conflict between them suck us into the story. Add external conflict to it with an interesting antagonist and you’ve got a good tale.
How do you make the antagonist interesting?
Writers use difference devices. I start with the physical aspects of the person. In my novel Riverswept, I rely on the traditional symbolism of light versus dark. While hero Finnley Moran is blond, full of light and warmth, antagonist Bart Martin is dark and cold, from his clothes to his attitude.
When Molly Duncan thinks of Finn, she pictures him as Helios. “Warmth radiated from him. She remembered the first time they had made love, when she had pictured him a sun god.” Bart is the opposite of Finn. The first time she meets him, he’s dressed in dark clothes: “He wore a black blazer of Italian leather, black pants, grey shirt, and expensive-looking loafers.” He gazes at her “with a dark and serious expression.”
Even the way the men move illustrates their differences. “Why would she ever crawl into bed with Bart Martin? Sure, he was handsome in his own way, but rather starchy in his bearing. Finn, on the other hand, was so laidback that he reminded Molly of a T-shirt that had been washed too often. Tattered, but comfortable.”
Near the end of the book, Bart’s wicked personality begins to manifest itself outwardly. “Behind Finn, a dark shape emerged from the water. Covered in mud, Bart looked like a monster rising up from the depths of the Burns River. He wrapped his arms around Finn’s knees and pulled. Molly tried to hold him, but she wasn’t strong enough. His hand slipped from hers and he fell backward into the river with Bart.”
The origin of the word “antagonist” includes the concept of contending for a prize. In romance the prize may be a person or, in the case of Riverswept, the prize may be the HEA (happily ever after). Whatever the case may be, the antagonist enhances the story.
Riverswept Buy Link: http://www.lsbooks.com/riverswept-p1013.php
Anneka Ever is a romance author. Her contemporary love stories are set in the mountains and small towns of Virginia. Her strong heroes and independent heroines explore their passion against the beautiful backdrop of rivers, meadows, and forests.
An award-winning poet and short story writer, Anneka brings a fresh perspective to stories of dating and relationships.
She lives in far Southwestern Virginia with her husband and three dogs.
Anneka’s website is www.AnnekaEver.com
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