Antagonist Angst

Coming to the point now in my story, about 125 pages in, where I need to step up my antagonist. And this part is delicate because I don’t know how much to give away, how many clues to drop.

Still have not received that book in the mail, so I’m going on instinct, but also thought I’d try something Barbara Samuel talks about in Step #5 of Plotting for the Extremely Right Brained.

A lot about antagonists can be conveyed through theme and story values, so I’m going to try the McKee diagram she uses, but instead of a box with four squares and fancy terms like “negation of the negation” I’ll do a simplier version.

One way to get the antagonist into the story with foreshadowing, and to strengthen his presence in general, is to think about theme and story value and then follow that to its opposite. So if your story is about friendship, tracing that value from positive to negative would be friendship-dislike-hatred-and there’s one more step, which Samuel admits is the most difficult. What is worse than hatred? Hatred disguised as friendship.

That was pretty easy, but my story’s theme isn’t friendship, so my positive to negative values are still to be discovered. First I have to figure out what my theme is…


  1. I was thinking the same thing the last few days – I need an antagonist. I did not want to yet want to immerse myself into the details creating the third scene without at least having some idea of the antagonist. I always have difficulty creating a credible antagonist. Like the ending, the antagonist drives the plot. But with the antagonist, the story cannot wait; the antagonist must arrive soon or the plot will deadlock.


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