by Robert Schneider
(Rockport, ME)

Question: My story is about a devotee's ultimate disillusionment with the leader of a personality cult. I want the cult leader to begin as a contagonist and evolve into an antagonist. Is that workable? Initially, I want the dramatic function of the antagonist to be served by a character who tries to prevent the protagonist from joining the cult.

Answer It's a little unclear what your story goal is.

For instance, if the protagonist is a devotee whose goal is to join the cult, then the person trying to prevent him from joining would be the antagonist.

However, if the cult leader is the contagonist, it makes me wonder why he would be trying to hinder or tempt the devotee away from his goal. Wouldn't he want more followers?

On the other hand, you could make the cult leader the protagonist - with the goal of recruiting people into his cult, one of whom is the devotee.
In this case, you could make the devotee the main character (which can be separate from the protagonist) and tell the story from the devotee's point of view.

The person trying to dissuade the devotee from joining the cult would be the antagonist.

Hope that helps.

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