Antagonist Descrption Problems

by Lawson
(Texas)

In the book that I am writing the antagonist is medieval public official who is trying to take the throne because he thinks that the current king is to young and childish and thinks that he would be a better, more responsible ruler. So he kills the king, convinces the queen to commit suicide, and tries to(personally) assassinate the queen's teenaged girl before she can become queen. I am basing his looks off Judge Claude Frollo but the only other descriptions of the antagonist is: Stoic, sociopathic, sinister, vicious, cunning, and extremely intelligent. Also he is a master swordsmen and tactician. But aside from that I can't think of anymore descriptions. Any ideas?


Answer: It sounds like you've made a fine start. I tend to think about characters having three layers.

1. The External Layer.

This includes all the physical traits or sensory impressions the character exhibits--their appearance, how they move, how they speak, how they dress, how they smell, etc. It also includes their name (since that's an important way your narrator will distinguish characters).

The external layer also includes props (the items characters have with them), means of transporation (do they have a car, horse, bicycle, spaceship, etc), and their environment (what does their neighbourhood, house, office, etc. look like?).

2. The Middle Layer

I call this the middle layer because it includes aspects of a person that are not 100% inside or outside. It includes things like...

Quasi-Exterior Aspects
- relationships
- affiliations (organizations they belong to)
- typical activities (work, school, crime, etc.)
- cultural/ethnic background
- socio-economic class
- family background

Quasi-Interior Aspects
- skills a character has or lacks
- interests (or disinterests)
- education
- likes and dislikes
- beliefs (philosophical, religious, political, etc.)

3. The Interior Layer (based on Dramatica)

a) Purposes: What do they want (short-term and long-term)?
b) Methods: What are they willing or not willing to do to achieve their purposes? What's inside or outside their comfort zone? What's their typical modus operandi?
c) Motivations: How are they compelled emotionally to behave because of their basic personality or past experience?
d) Evaluations: What are their beliefs? How do they judge themselves or others?

You can use this list to create a questionnaire for any character. But after you've considered each aspect, it usually works better to write out a character's backstory. (Storylike descriptions stir the imagination better and help you find the logical connections between the different aspects.)

Comments for Antagonist Descrption Problems

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May 18, 2014
Thank You
by: Lawson

Thank you very much for commenting on my character profile. This is my first book that I am writing but I have some experience due to short stories. And I hope you know who Judge Claude Frollo is or that would be a little embarrising for me. Thank you again!

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