Thursday, April 3, 2008

Antagonism or Antagonist?

Theresa of Editorrent has been doing a series of posts on her blog about the origin and development of protagonists and antagonists. At its beginning, in Greek drama, the protagonist was simply the Main Character. And the antagonist was the thing that opposed the main character.

And the thing is, maybe the antagonist is a character, and maybe not. Maybe the antagonist is different characters at different times. Maybe the protagonist gets a turn at being the antagonist. Maybe the antagonist is something intangible like the weather, not a character at all.
And I've been thinking about this idea. Especially about the one where the antagonist is different characters at different times.

I've had some editors tell me that stories should have three characters. The hero, the heroine and the villain. But wow, isn't this limiting?

In a romance, the hero and the heroine often act as antagonists for each other, driving the other on to change. Sometimes there's another villain, especially if there's another plot, as there would be in a fantasy romance or romantic fantasy. I like the idea, though, of floating the antagonist role around.

I actually haven't thought about this long enough for a real blog post. But I do find it very interesting, especially at the developing-the-story phase of writing. So. There it is.

1 comment:

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Oh my! Only three main characters! I think I generally have about three, but there are some secondary characters who kinda have main character pretentions. -C