It’s been a while!
We all spend so much time crafting a perfect main character that sometimes we forget about the other guy. I’m talking about the bad guy, the thorn in our main character’s side.
Now, to really see what your amazing main character can do, you need an equally amazing antagonist. No character, even ones that exist as pure stream of consciousness, exists in a vacuum. Something or someone bothers them, the degree to which it’s a bother is up to the story you want to tell.
Lets look at some examples:
Who is this?
“She slides through the door with a gust of cold and locks the door behind her and I see her fingers trail across the polished steel—tip of each finger the same color as her lips. Funny orange. Like the tip of a soldering iron. Color so hot or so cold if she touches you with it you can’t tell which.”
Look busy folks, that is nurse Ratched, Big Nurse to the rest of us. She is one of my favorite antagonists from literature. I hope you can see that the same rules apply to an antagonist as they do to your protagonist. Big Nurses’ nails are what define her physically, so Keasey really lets us see them, they are a “funny orange color. Like the tip of a soldering iron.” Notice that Keasey could have easily described those nails as red, but they are a “funny orange.”And what are those hands doing, but locking the door behind her. The locking of doors behind her pretty much sums up her character.
Let’s look at another example.
“Voldemort looked away from Harry and began examining his own body. His hands were like large, pale spiders; his long white fingers caressed his own chest, his arms, his face; the red eyes, whose pupils were slits, like a cat’s, gleamed still more brightly through the darkness.”
I’m just going to give this one to you. Yes, it is Voldemort from Harry Potter. Again, Rowling has focused our attention on a few key details: his hands and eyes. We also see a lot about Voldemort’s character in the fact that he turned away from his arch nemesis to look at himself in the mirror.
So, just remember that when you are writing your antagonists, to write them with the same amount of love that you write your main character!