[Writing Prompt] Bring On the Antagonists

I know, I know, I included villains and antagonists in yesterday’s prompt, but today we’re focusing on them.

The Prompt

Pick An Antagonist Type

If you’ve been following along with the prompts this week, you’ll already have worked on a flawed main character and a targeted secondary character. That secondary character may even have been an antagonist (a villain). So why am I talking about them again?

It’s one of those venn diagram things. All villains are antagonists, but not all antagonists are villains.

Antagonists’ CheatSheet

The antagonistic force in any story is the thing that is stopping the main character for getting what s/he wants or needs. While it might be Count Olaf terrorizing the Beaudelaire children, the antagonistic force might just as easily be Holden Caulfield’s crippling cynicism. Or maybe it’s Norman Bates’ mother.

Start with your main character. What do they want? What can stand in their way?

  • Internal personality flaws?
  • Something from their past?
  • A person?
  • A physical object? (though usually this generates an internal or external struggle)

Make sure that everything you write about your antagonist illustrates something about its relationship to your main character. We don’t have room, in a short story, for sub-plots.

Kristen Lamb has some excellent posts on this topic, if you need a little more reading.


And when you have written your story, log in and post your success in The Victory Dance group or simply comment on this post and let the congrats come flying in.