Tag Archive - Colorado Dream

Creating Conflicted Antagonist Characters

In the novels we write, protagonists often steal the spotlight, but secondary characters—particularly antagonists—can add depth, conflict, and intrigue to the storyline. Regardless of the genre or setting, a well-crafted antagonist can elevate a story from good to unforgettable.

Too often antagonists or nemesis characters are stereotyped—they come across one-dimensional and superficial. When we give secondary characters inner conflict, we add so much more richness and believability to our stories.

Yes, our antagonists and nemesis characters are meant to stand in the way of the protagonist’s goals. But they can do so much more. And they need to have their own lives.

Setting the Stage with Antagonists

In my novel Colorado Dream, (a Western novel under my pen name Charlene Whitman) I put a lot into my supportive cast. My hero, Brett Hendricks, is a cowboy working on a ranch and driving cattle. I purposely created a small cast of characters around him to give a wide brush stroke of the various types that populated that milieu. Continue Reading…

Coming Up with Antagonists for Your Novel

Last week we took a brief look at secondary characters who play a supporting role in your novel—who help bring out the good qualities and personality of your protagonist. It’s common to find two or three unique characters who are allies to your hero.

But, of course, conflict is key in a novel, and you need opposition. That can come in the form of one specific antagonist or nemesis character. But it can also be a group or society or the system. If your novel is about man vs. nature, your opposition might be a tornado or an earthquake.

Regardless of your plot and type of opposition, unless your story is about a person isolated from others, you will need a supporting cast. And that usually includes antagonists.

I gave some passage examples last week from my Western novel Colorado Dream (I write under the pen name Charlene Whitman for that series). We looked at two characters who provide humor and support for my protagonist, Brett.

Here’s a moment with my two secondary antagonists—the cowboys sent to kill Brett. You’ll notice I give Phineas, who doesn’t have a large role in my story, a lot of inner conflict. This sets him up to switch sides in the climax. I left out some paragraphs to trim this down for you. Continue Reading…