Question from a young writer: characters making their own decisions!

December 1, 2009 at 12:03 am

“What do you do when your antagonist and your protagonist start to get along waaaay better than they were supposed to?  They’re supposed to hate each other, but Tefached just helped Lissa on her algebra homework.  Help!! this was not supposed to happen!” ~ Kaylie, grade 8

Great question, Kaylie!

The excitement of writing characters and following them is sometimes balanced with the frustration of these same characters not doing what you want!
I have a few suggestions for you:

  1. Maybe the antagonist has ulterior motives; he/she is “helping” to get close to the protagonist to really come in for the “kill.” You know what they say “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!”
  2. Perhaps the antagonist has a soft spot, as every villain should. This may be that awkward scene where the protag makes a fool of herself and rejects the help the antag. is offering, which she may later regret out of guilt or riling up the antag. for revenge?
  3. Your characters may be trying to tell you something: maybe you have the antagonist wrong? Maybe there’s a stronger antagonist lurking around the corner?
  4. Or maybe the characters are meant to be buddies, but not until some pivotal scenes happen. In this case, work backwards and see how they ended up here, getting along. Save the scene you’ve written for the end…

Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

Do you have a writing question? Send it to me in an email and you may see it posted here ! mjcwriter”at”comcast”dot”net


Entry filed under: Advice, Question of the Week. Tags: , , .

Announcing…a book club for WRITERS! A (late) NaNo Round Up…

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