Antagonist

by Lily
(Amsterdam)

Hi, I'm writing a story about a girl who is depressed, going to a psychologist and attempts suicide at some point. She is also involved in a relationship with a non-depressed guy, who urges her to keep going to a psychologist.


Now I'm wondering, as the girl is the protagonist, would her ultimate goal be to attempt suicide or to get better (that's her boyfriends goal and she does try)?

Without a clear goal in mind, I can't figure out who the person/institution would be who tries to keep her from achieving it (the villain, so to say).

If her goal is to kill herself, obviously the antagonist would be her boyfriend who tries to keep her from doing so.

However, if her goal is to get better (which is more likely), her boyfriend is helping her with that and is therefore more her guardian. And if this is the goal, who WOULD be the antagonist? Could it be her boss who thinks she's overreacting and won't let her take time off to get better and frequently visit a psychologist?

Thanks in advance, this site is amazing.

Answer: I suspect there are parts of the story that you haven't included in this brief description. If you haven't explored them yourself yet, it might be worthwhile to do so.

For instance, why does she want to commit suicide? What happened to her that lead to this desire?

If it is, for example, a repressed memory of some horrific event, the Story Goal might be to recover the memory. If so, suicide would be a way of preventing that goal, so the antagonist would be the part of her subconscious (standing in for her abuser) that wants her to die.

Remember that the archetypal characters represent different motivations within the storymind. Usually they are represented by different characters, but, in some stories, these motivations are all within the mind of one character.

If it's not a repressed memory, she could be running away from a conscious memory that is too painful, so the goal might be to change her attitude or her impulsive response - to heal from the event. The anatagonist still could be an abusive person who wouldn't want her to escape from his/her influence.

Or it could be there is a situation in her life that is intolerable (for instance a dysfunctional family) and the goal is to resolve that situation. The antagonist could be a family member with a vested interest in the status quo.

Lots of possibilities you can play with.

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