Every story needs a good villain, right? Well, to be more accurate, every good story needs an antagonist. Why? It's simple. Without some sort of conflict, your story isn't even a story. Conflict is integral to a plot, and to have conflict, one must have an opposing force-- hence the need for an antagonist. Or is it villain? The difference between the two might not seem that great in some novels, but in others, it makes a world of difference. Understanding what your novel needs is key to a successful plotline. So what makes the two different?
Villains vs Antagonists.
Villain-- a villain is a character whose evil motives and actions are integral to the plot. They are quite literally bad guys.
Antagonist-- these are the characters (or elements) that are in opposition to the protagonist (the character we're all rooting for). These adversary forces may not necessarily be evil, and they may not even be living.
That said, those two classifications can be broken down even further into various types of villains and antagonists. With so much emphasis placed on other parts of the story, it may seem like a non-priority to figure out what type of antagonist you have-- isn't it enough to develop their character? It is certainly important to develop your characters (including your antagonist), but here's why it's a great idea to consider what type your antagonist is and even consider writing different types of antagonists.
So now you're ready to start thinking more about your antagonists, but where do you start? To help you out, we've compiled a master list of antagonists, complete with overviews on each type!
Overview of different types of antagonists:
Abstract antagonists The first type of antagonist we'll address is the trickiest to pin down-- abstract antagonists. These are the elements that are creating obstacles for your main character without even being another character! In that sense, they definitely are not villains-- but they can certainly still cause a lot of complications for your main character.
Human antagonists Now onto Human antagonists. Villains, you say. Yes, true villains do fall under this category. However, even within the realm of human antagonists there is lots of room for variation.
So there you have it-- a master list of all things antagonist. Not only can you use this as a reference, but perhaps it will help as a springboard for new ideas. Have we missed any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments what kind of antagonist your book has and let's discuss all things character.
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