Pronunciation Guide

Friday, January 17, 2014

Of words and antagonists and redemption and other fun stuff

I had hoped I’d be better at doing this consistently. Oops. Sorry. There are probably only two of you that even see this anymore. Blah.

Well, I have been writing a lot – though not as much as I’d like to be. I am doing JanNo; so far, I have about 32,800 words. Which, for being only about halfway through the month, is good. I have figured out a lot of back-story stuff – things I’ve been needing for YEARS. Yes. Yes, indeed.

But it is coming together!

…I wish I could be deep. Not feeling very deep lately; been kind of consumed with just…figuring stuff out. In the story, in life in general…and so on.

Um…yeah, mostly stuff has been technical. Plotting, tweaking, discovering things about my characters. I have done a bit in book two, though I’ve probably done just about as much in back-story stuff.

One thing I’m sort of struggling with is…

Okay, I have two girls. One is my main girl; the other is her friend, “Eve”. They have similar pasts, though not similar at the same time. I have written about Eve in this post and this one.

Originally, the man (“Des”) involved in Eve’s past was going to be killed. It never settled well with me, but I saw no other options. Then I began to realize that that option didn’t really even make sense, and I made it so he’d live. I loved this – but it also scares me. Des doesn’t really come into the story – but there is a part of me that desperately wants him to. Because there is something there, some story to be told.

He needs a chance at redemption; and I want to offer it to him.

The thing is this: One big plot point involves a man (“Fave”) from my main girl’s past. A man who was terribly bad, who then seemingly changes. It goes through this whole thing of redemption and forgiveness and trust – and I love it.

And I don’t want to repeat myself with Des and Eve.
But the struggle is that, in many ways, Des feels worse than Fave.
Fave’s actions – while horrible – are mostly general.
Des’s actions are very personal, especially when reading the back-stories, and seeing Eve talk about what happened.

Sometimes I wonder if I chose the right narrator.
Sometimes I wonder if I chose the right storyline.
Sometimes I wonder who the heck my antagonist even is.

Because I read all of these things that say you have to have an antagonist, and it’s best if it’s a person (not a group or a life condition; both of which are in the story), it’s best if that person is just as thought-out and detailed as the protagonist…

UGH. alskdfjalekrjglaejaelrkjlkj aklsjflk!!

By the way, before I continue, some definitions here, so we’re all on the same page:
**Protagonist – the main character, the one who tells the story or the one the story is about, the leading character.
**Antagonist – the character who most opposes the protagonist, the adversary, doesn’t have to be evil but is typically viewed as the villain.

One key element to making a good antagonist is to give them motivation; and to have it so that, if the roles were reversed, the antagonist could even be the protagonist. They are the protagonist of their own story.

I feel like my antagonist changes from book to book. (And a lot of the time, the antagonist is my main girl herself.) Maybe that is normal, or even good. I don’t know.

But anyway, in the first part of book one, the main antagonist is the woman; secondary antagonists are the men. And while we don’t know her reasoning, she does have a reason; she’s not just evil for the sake of evil. (I don’t know if I even know HOW to write a character like that.) The men really aren’t evil either (well, a few of them are); they were all bad, but as I wrote it, I fell more and more in love with the H-guys in general – which includes the inn-men. As it stands now, there is really only one H-guy (in the entire regime of H-guys) that I truly dislike. …But I digress.

In the latter part of book one, I suppose the antagonist is the half-breed group. At least, it seems – from my girl’s point of view – to be that way.

Book two, it’s the woman again, the inn…and then the d-guys. And of course, still herself.

Books three and four – um, Fave?

I don’t know. I don’t know how to look at him as the antagonist; but in many ways, he is. …Actually, the more I think about it, he definitely is. The antagonist doesn’t have to be evil; they are simply the one who most stands in the way of the protagonist’s goal.

My main girl’s goal is to survive, to heal; to find a place where she can be free, and forget about what happened to her. To make it through the darkness. She wants to live, to move on – and in small ways, she is starting to do that.

And then Fave shows up, and brings it all back.

And yes, if the roles were reversed, and I was writing from Fave’s point of view – my main girl would be his antagonist. Because he, too, is trying to move on; trying to redeem himself from his past; trying to make up for the things he cannot make up for. And just when he starts finding a new goal, a new reason that he is still alive – bam, she’s back, and with it comes everything he’s trying to move away from.

(Oh, and did I ever mention that they kind of HAVE to be around each other? Neither can leave, and neither has anywhere else to go even if they did leave. There is really no option but to try to deal with the stuff between them.)

…So, that settles that, I suppose.

But still, with Des and Eve – I don’t know. But there is something there. I can’t explain it yet, can’t detail it.

Basically, in contrast:

~Fave has been bad pretty much his whole life. He just never realized it; he thought he was good. He thought he was really good, one of the best. He was brainwashed from birth, and grew into a fanatic. A zealot. As close to a Pharisee as one can get in this world (which is essentially without religion). The last time he was truly good or innocent was when he was a young boy, before he really understood anything. But as good as he thinks he is, he is actually awful. Not just in what he does to my main girl – but in other things I can’t explain. He is the reason children have been slaughtered. The blood of innocents stains his hands – and stained him long before he ever set foot in my main girl’s life.

~Des, however, was good. Though he was part of the same H-guy regime as Fave, he had beliefs that eventually went against their beliefs. And in that moment, he took a stand that ANYONE reading the story would see as noble. He was GOOD; I’m telling you. Really, really good. Willing to lose everything for what was right. (And not just what he saw as right; but what is truly right.) Where innocent blood stains Fave’s hands and he found nothing wrong with it, Des refused to spill that blood. But that decision, that stand, changed everything in his life – and darkness settled in. Shame took over – and twisted him. So he went from really good…to really bad.

And just like with Fave, everything in me aches to bring Des back to good. To turn a trafficker into a rescuer; an abuser into a healer. To turn a horrible person into a redeemed person. To save him.

I just want to save him. It’s why I couldn’t kill him – because I knew that he could be saved, if he just had the chance to accept it. If he could just be shown that even he can be forgiven. That he’s not a lost cause.

I don’t know. I might be weird.
But I think forgiveness is powerful.
And I just want to see bad people turn good.

It is the reason I am writing this story.


  1. It seems like an interesting idea about antagonist. Not everybody can have a redemption.

  2. Which idea exactly is interesting? Ha! I am rather confused as to what you mean!

  3. That your hero can be the antagonist from Fav's point of view is interesting. You do need an outright antagonist who don't have any redemption.

    1. Ah, gotcha. It was an interesting concept for me too! I like it a lot!

      I do sort of have an unredeemed antagonist --- the woman. She actually dies unredeemed. (Shocking for me!) There are a few others too.

      ...Why does there have to be an outright, unredeemed antagonist? I guess, for me...I have never really cared hugely for stories/movies where it is a series and it is this constant thing with one person. (And that person is often bad almost for the sake of being bad, or just because the story needs a villain.)

      I like the antagonist changing from book to book. And despite the fantasy-ness, I am trying to make this as realistic as possible. And I really like the redeemed antagonist thing. (As long as there are others who aren't redeemed.) I don't want this to be a, "Then all of the bad guys turned good and everyone lived happily ever after" thing --- but I also want to give the bad characters a chance to become good, you know? Because that is life --- bad people don't always die/stay bad.

      I think the hardest thing for me is having good people turn bad. BUT...that is kind of how all of my "bad guys" are --- they didn't start out bad, but they made choices, or things happened...

      Anyway! =) Thanks for reading/commenting!