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How to write a novel | antagonism


If you have been following my story, you will know it’s about Nick, who went travelling in a camper van, after his parents were killed in a car accident. He met Lily, an American and formed a love-hate relationship. He is now  working as an assistant gardener for Terrance Knight, the Lord of the Manor.

Nick is our protagonist and Terrance Knight is the antagonist. Terrance is the bad guy in our story and although I don’t to portray him as an axe murder or serial killer; I do want him to come across as a character the readers will love to hate. I can built a character profile for him. He is rich, arrogant, immoral, insecure and he likes chasing Lily. Now I have to come up with behaviour that will not only make the reader hate him, but also make them admire him a little. Going for a dissonant reaction from the readers, having them in two minds about Terrance will make it far more interesting. He is tall, dark and handsome. He’s educated, wealthy and well-bred. He has good manners, knows how to behave and is acceptable in polite society. He will however do anything to get his own way, he is narcissistic and loves himself way too much. He appears to be attractive to Lily, but can she keep forgiving and ignoring his unacceptable and sexist behaviour? 

We need a ante climax for the story. I’ve decided that the climax will be when Nick and Lily finally get together. What event could lead up to that? I am thinking that perhaps Terrance could do something that is just too much for Lily to accept. The straw that broke the camel’s back after a long string of other incidents and remarks. We can build the tension and maybe the reader’s frustration. I would like the reader to be cheering when Lily finally chooses Nick. We don’t need Terrance to do something dramatic like burn Nick’s camper van down, that wouldn’t be too plausible anyway. If he continues to behave inappropriately, make suggestive remarks to Lily and generally behave badly at every opportunity; then we can have an incident that becomes an ante climax.

What do you think would tip the balance for Lily? What would be going too far? Maybe, Terrance would have too much to drink and his ‘real’ character would reveal itself? That incident could then have Lily, running to Nick for comfort and that would cement their relationship.  The scene where Terrance goes too far with his amorous advances towards Lily, would be the ante climax and so that would need a lot of attention.

Often when you’re writing fiction or anything else for that matter, some sections need repeated editing. This scene is important and so every sentence must be just right. We have to describe the scene and set the mood. The reader has to be able to imagine Terrance and Lily having dinner and the tension building for Lily as Terrance gets more and more inebriated.

We have to imagine what would be going through Lily’s mind as the situation worsened. The description of her anxiety and discomfort must resonate with the reader. We want the reader to sympathise and hope that she will run to Nick. What might happen when Lily knocks on the door of Nick’s camper van with tears in her eyes?

Please comment, if you have any thoughts about how the story is developing or how it might develop. Don’t forget there are more articles on the home page.

3 responses

  1. Pingback: A week of nostalgia « Mike10613's Blog

  2. Pingback: How to write a novel | Ideas « Mike10613's Blog

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    28, December 2013 at 5:00 pm

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