Editing Tip #5

Don’t Bully the Bad Guys

pen_over_sword_by_kellyginThe more well-rounded you make your antagonist, the more believable he or she will be.

We all love to hate the bad guys but don’t forget that even Darth Vader was a cute kid before he let his fears control him.  Sure, back story is important when fully developing any character, but don’t forget about ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘between the scenes.’

Maybe your antagonist secretly helps out at animal shelters when he’s not plotting to destroy the world.  Maybe she’s a big tipper in local coffee shops, or is secretly afraid to fall in love.  Don’t just give your antagonist a few quirks though, you need to make him as whole and as tangible as your protagonist.

Find a way to weave her fears into the fabric of the story.  Look at what makes him strong, what undermines her, and how she deals with adversity.  Does your antagonist have the ability to love?  Who does he love – someone forbidden?  Delve into personality and preferences whenever possible.

Don’t take your antagonist for granted.  Pick him up, wipe his snotty nose, brush the dust off his jacket, and send him out into the world fully developed.  Your ‘Bad Guy’ should be just as believable as your ‘Good Guy’ or readers will see two-dimensional characters and holes in your story.

Happy Revising!

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Categories: Editing

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