From the Antagonist's viewpoint

by Adam
(St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada)

Question: In my story the Protagonist becomes the leader of one group while the Antagonist becomes the leader of an opposing group. With this in mind, wouldn't the Antagonist have a variety of support characters within their organization just as the Protagonist does?

Few villains see THEMSELVES as the bad guy. In fact, in my story the Antagonist believes they will save the world if they defeat the Protagonist and the Story Goal. Doesn't it stand to reason the Antagonist will also have a Guardian, Contagonist, Sidekick, Skeptic and so on? Even if their "on screen" presence is greatly diminished in comparison to the Protagonist's support characters, shouldn't they still exist and have their affect upon the Antagonist?

Answer: You're absolutely correct that a Sidekick, Guardian, etc. can be allied with the Antagonist. The definitions of these archetypes says nothing about whose side they are on. A Sidekick can support any character. A Guardian can help anyone. All that matters (in terms of creating balance) is that all the motivations are represented in the cast.

However, it is not necessary for both the Protagonist and the Antagonist to be surrounded by a complete set of the other character archetypes. In fact, it may be redundant for there to be more than one of each archetype in the entire cast--just as it would be unnecessary for there to be two Protagonists.

It is also true that a villain does not see himself as the villain. However, you raise a key point here.

If you are telling the story from two points of view, sometimes the Protagonist's and sometimes the Antagonist's, then each of these characters will be the main character of his own story. Whenever you are writing from one character's point of view, you are putting them into the role of the main character and creating a separate story for that character.

You may not develop each story fully. For instance, while the hero's story may have all four throughlines fleshed out, the villain's may only have one or two. In some stories, we only get partial throughlines for the secondary POV characters--maybe just a scene or two from his point of view. Very often, they share an overall throughline.

However, within his own story, the villain could certainly be the protagonist. His story could have its own story goal, and different characters may take on the archetypal functions.

It's rather like how in Star Wars, when R2D2 and C3P0 are alone, R2 becomes the main character and takes on the Protagonist role. C3P0 then becomes the Skeptic. But when the story switches to Luke's point of view, the droids become co-Sidekicks.

It's entirely up to you how much you want to develop a secondary story, and you are also at liberty to stay with your hero's point of view, just have one main character and one developed story. Really, it depends how much you want your reader to empathize with the villain.

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