This week, Alida, Robert, and Kathryn talk about villains you can’t vanquish: How do you handle a villain that can’t wear a hat, black or otherwise? When your story calls for a force instead of a figure, what does that mean for your plot? For your character? What do you need to be aware of when writing a bad event or circumstance, instead of a bad guy? Are there genre-specific antagonistic forces?










If your story doesn’t have a bad guy, what do you have? How can you use stories about nature or society to craft a non-personified antagonist? Do you have to have characters involved? And are these external, or internal forces? What effect does this have on your story? And how can you keep a reader interested?

What we talked about:

If you don’t have a “bad guy” then what are you left with? (0:25)

How can you use man against nature as an antagonist? (1:09)

Are antagonists genre specific? (2:40)

How do we get the force on the page? (5:15)

Does your antagonist have to have a person involved? (7:50)

Antagonistic Forces are external events, or internal explorations. (9:50)

Make sure you have both external and internal conflict. (11:30)

Have opposition, even if it isn’t evil! (12:20)

How conceptual can you get? (17:05)

How is your character changing as a result of this conflict? (21:08)




Things we mentioned:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 
George Orwell 
Aldous Huxley 
Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah 
Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger 
Apollo 13 
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 
The Stranger by Albert Camus 

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 023: 3D Villians
SWRT 026: Writing Villians

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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