What Makes a Powerful Antagonist?

There has been an influx of underdeveloped antagonists in our current society. Between TV, movies, books, and (the main culprit) video games, villain characters have become inhuman and unrealistic. The reason behind this shift is the overwhelming increase in violence and a need to justify it. If the enemy is faceless, nameless and has a generic motive it makes it easy to side with the hero and (if you’re playing a video game) kill without remorse.

But there are some stellar villains out there. One of the most impactful antagonists as of recent is Thanos! While I wouldn’t put him in my top 10 best villains, people have really been impacted by his character type. He’d be very stereotypical if it weren’t for the fact that we sympathize with his goal.Empire_March_Cover_IW_6_Textless.png

The villain needs to be a fleshed out person with a past that makes sense for them but if we (the reader) can’t logically or emotionally connect with the reasoning behind the crime, the villain falls short. When writing your antagonist you should be able to think about the whole novel from his point of view. All the steps he takes should make sense in that order. And most importantly, if the book was written from his point of view, the villain would be the hero.

Do you see this trait on any of your favorite antagonists? What other traits do you think are important? Please start a conversation in the comments below. If you liked this article you might also enjoy All Main Characters Have This Trait



What I’m reading right now:

Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice

Novelist’s Boot Camp: 101 Ways to Take Your Book From Boring to Bestseller

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