08 January 2013

The Power of Antagonists

In Prompt #3 of The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing, you're asked to develop a new character, one that will serve as an antagonist to your protagonist in your novel, memoir, screenplay.

Keep in mind, however, not all stories rely on a person(s) to serve as an antagonist(s). This point is driven home in the memoir Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Nearly every single person Cheryl comes in contact along the Pacific Crest Trail is supportive and friendly and helpful and mostly kind (with the dramatic exception of the 2 hunters she is confronted by). The antagonists Cheryl has to deal with and overcome are the weather and conditions along the trail, her too-small boots, lack of money, overloaded backpack, bears and raccoons, and her own fear as she journey's towards healing. These antagonists of nature and society, her beliefs and circumstances deepen and expand the readers' understanding of the protagonist as she is challenged and forced to deal with her own personal demons. Even without antagonists in the form of other characters, the author is able to infuse the story with excitement, tension, conflict, suspense and curiosity with the use of these other sorts of antagonists.

Or, using another favorite memoir of mine (please do not get the wrong idea that these ideas apply only to memoirs because I am using two memoir examples. they work for all novels and screenplays, too), Shreve Stockton is thwarted by a coyote in the Daily Coyote.

Use whatever you can to trip up the protagonist on her way toward her goal and make them count.

If you're following along and wish to comment or ask questions, please use Twitter and be sure to include @plotwhisperer and #pwprompt to catch my attention.

The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing gives you the inspiration and motivation you need to finish every one of your writing projects. This book guides you through each stage of the writing process, from constructing compelling characters to establishing an unforgettable ending. The book also helps you get into the habit of writing creatively every day, with brand-new imaginative prompts for how to write a novel, memoir, screenplay with a plot. 

Join me here everyday as together we write our stories from page one and through all the prompts to the very end.

To familiarize yourself with the basic plot terms used here and in the PW Book of Prompts:
1) Watch the plot playlists on the Plot Whisperer Youtube channel.
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Fill out the exercises in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
4) Visit:
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