Antagonist Birthday Book

My title is the first three words on my “tag cloud” widget or whatever scene word one uses to describe such a thing. It’s beast.

I’ve spent a lot of time studying the tropes of an antagonist, and somewhere in the recent past realized I can’t make a good antagonist to save my life. I can make an incredible zealot dedicated to opposite goals from the protagonist. I can make an army of them mechanically acting to a set of action/reaction.

But to write someone that exists only to be evil, or only to aggravate the MC eludes me. I’d assume it’d boil down to a psychological issue, or a defense mechanism (like a pathological liar), but I haven’t yet been able to drop into that mindset. Either the bad guy is a force of nature or he’s entirely redeemable and not nearly “bad” enough.

Some of my favorite books have had antagonists that were simply in the way of the protagonist. Like Ender’s Game. While the threat was the buggers, or whatever they called them, and the safety of humanity was at stake, Ender fought off several bullies and bucked a system some guy upstairs broke to break him. It was awesome. Ender literally fought the system, which is cool. Yet some of the antagonizers were the bullies that tried to force him down.

Yet that’s not entirely my point of this post. I want, desperately, to write a good antagonist MC. I’ve written Discordant Protagonists (my Urban Fantasy, for one: a cry to the darkness of all things literary to please birth an antagonist out of the Dresden-esque fantasy soup… nope), and I’ve written Sarcastic Protagonists that get into a lot of trouble and redeem themselves.

But antagonists as MC? I don’t know if it’s in me. Satirical, system-changing vigilantes? I’d love to. I really would. Some brooding figure so mired in his own unhappiness he ignores all the warning signs of a healthy, logical individual? Yes, please.

I don’t think I have enough disgruntled, misdirected anger for that. Maybe if I work hard enough I’ll start to hate.

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