So it's Thursday, once again, which brings about some writing thoughts that I've stumbled across over the past week.
- Heard recently that my MC (main character) is only as strong as his nemesis. I like that thought. If you think about it, the hero's that we all know and love all face very strong or dangerous villains. Harry Potter had Lord Voldemort. Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader. Batman has the Joker. The list goes on and on. Odds are whoever you view as your favorite hero also has your favorite nemesis in the same story. You need that level of danger and evil if you want your hero to rise to his level of greatness.
So with that thought, we as writers need to spend as much, if not more time on developing our antagonists as we do our protagonists. Not just name them and call them evil, develop them. Know their back story, why are they evil? What do they want to accomplish? What are their human qualities? In what ways are they relatable? In what ways are they over the top? Are the pure evil, (not as likely and believable), or do they have some good qualities that are overshadowed and dominated by an evil desire that drives all their actions? Are they redeemable? Beyond redemption? You have to know your nemesis even better than you know your hero. Your hero will have his story told, but your nemesis probably won't, at least not as well and developed as your hero.. so you need to know their motivations more because you may not be able to develop them through conflict like your MC.
Just about the only story I've read recently that I really enjoyed that didn't have a true outstanding nemesis was The Hunger Games.. and really there the antagonist was the oppression of the people, the elitist Capitol City, and the corrupt government as much as it was President Snow. And beyond that, the protagonist in the Hunger games is almost an Anti-Hero(ine) anyway.
- Motivation. Sometimes it's lacking. That's when we all need our own internal Matt Foley, otherwise we may find ourselves eating a steady diet of Government cheese and living in a van down by the river.
Matt Foley: Now young man, what do you want to do with your life?
Brian: Actually Matt, I kinda want to be a writer.
Matt Foley: Well la-dee fricking daa.. we got ourselves a writer here
Hey Dad, I can't see real good, is that Bill Shakespear
Father: Well actually Matt, Ellen and I have encouraged Brian in
Matt Foley: Dad I wish you could just shut your big YAPPER!So, excluding having Matt Foley shack up with you for a while, how do you keep yourself motivated? When it's late on Monday night and you've had a day to forget, how do you shut your big YAPPER and pound the keys for a couple of hours?