Find my Antagonist

by Emma
(The Netherlands)

Hi! First I would like to thank you for this brilliant website. It is really a great help!

I'm having some trouble finding my Antagonist and I’m hoping you would be so kind to help me :). A brief description of my story:

A young woman struggles with picking up her life after a traumatic accident two years ago and she finds life meaningless. When she had the accident she made a choice to live in a near-death experience but now she feels that she may have made the wrong choice and she would be better off dead. So she is unhappy. Then she is asked to sing a lead role in a music event on the other part of the country by a friend of the family. At first she wants to refuse but her mother tries to persuade her because she thinks it's time for her daughter to leave the past behind and start looking to the future. This marks also my story goal / story problem: how to deal with a traumatic event in your life and to overcome it. All my other characters will have something in their past or present that was/is traumatic for them. So eventually the young woman accepts the role but only under the condition that her past remains a secret. Off course this will create problems. The
impact character is her love interest who will also help her to overcome her trauma and to conquer her fears.

I can’t seem to find out who my antagonist is. Is it the driver that causes the accident? Is it her past away best friend that prevents her from being happy because she feels guilty? Or is it the accident itself?

Hopefully you can help me. You would make me very happy if you could answer my question. Thank you in advance for all your efforts.


Answer: It sounds to me as though the young woman herself, as well as being the main character, is actually the antagonist.

The protagonist could well be the mother who has the goal of helping your main character find purpose in her life.

Consider that functions of the antagonist are to avoid the goal (external) and reconsider (internal). Certainly, the young woman is reconsidering her decision to live, and avoiding the mother's goal.

This configuration is often missed because we are used to thinking of the protagonist and main character as the same, but not all stories work that way. The antagonist can be the main character.

The love interest still works as impact character, possibly someone who can show the main character a different way of assessing or responding to the situation she finds herself in.

Best of luck.

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