Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Antagonist POVs

I'm close to the end of Hawks & Rams and I already know that I'm going to need to put it down and think for a while before I get into good enough shape to call it a first draft. (For me, first draft = first draft that I'm willing to show to anybody.)

One of the things I need to think about is my antagonist. I've had a habit, for some time, of my antagonists being organizations rather than individuals. In Disciple, it's a whole empire -- though one person does emerge to take point, eventually. In my science fiction novels, the "enemy" is also nonspecific. One of them is a heist, in essence, so the characters are up against a system rather than a person.

But in Hawks & Rams the antagonist is, most definitely, one person. And because I tend to under-write my first drafts, on my to-fix list is a proper introduction of the antagonist. I need to be sure the reader is clear on:
  • Why he must be dealt with
  • What he's capable of
  • His motivations
Because antagonists are characters, just like any other. The tricky part will be getting this across through the interactions he has with my two POV characters.

There's a certain tradition of using the antagonist as a POV character... which works if you want the antagonist to be sympathetic and the story's dealing in shades of grey rather than clear lines of good and bad.

I've been leery of doing that myself because -- heh, this is kinda funny -- long ago I read The Shining, which includes the dad-who-goes-crazy as a POV character. Thing was, by the end of the book I thought his wife was a bitch and his kid was a brat and when he picked up an axe I was glad.

Yeah, the ending was a disappointment for me. I wasn't a very sympathetic character myself, as a teenager.

I doubt there's much chance readers would be upset by what happens to the antagonist in Hawks & Rams, admittedly. Maybe I should consider including him as a POV character. What are your experiences with antagonist POVs?

1 comment:

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

Antagonist POV is really good for only one thing: to show that the antagonist is not really evil but simply wants something that is at odds with the protagonist. If you want that from your writing, I say go for it. However, if you do, I suggest doing it the way that Faulkner handles POV in Absalom, Absalom.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...