3 - The Relatable Antagonist

3 - The Relatable Antagonist

A Lesson by Meeks

Sometimes the worst part about the bad guy is that... they are so much like us.


This one is kind of hard to explain. A bad guy could also be hated because he is similar to ourselves.

Yes, yes. I know that you don't throw stuff at the hero, don't plan to take over the world, or steal someone's boyfriend. I fully trust that my readers do none of those things on a daily basis, and will be nowhere near as evil as the antagonist they'll create.
But still...
You have to make the turning-evil part look almost accidental, as if the person decided in the very last moment, "hey, when I grow up I'm going to be a bad guy!" And his decision has to be somewhat justifiable... Oh jeez, this is hard to explain...

The antagonist should be caught in a situation where everybody would be somewhat angry, or at least unhappy. Let's say your character just failed a math quiz. And he knows it. So he meets with a buddy to take the pressure off, and accidentally steals his girlfriend. He doesn't care, or he doesn't notice, but he just became the bad guy. But on the other hand, who wouldn't do the exact same in his position?

A good example of a relatable antagonist is Commodus, in Ridley Scott's "Gladiator".

EXCERSIZE: Set a timer for ten minutes. Write about a time when you think you might've become an antagonist in someone else's story. Why? Your reactions where based on what previous event/circumstance?

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Added on December 1, 2015
Last Updated on December 1, 2015

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Hey guys! I'm a sixteen year old writer trying desperately to make something publish-worthy. In the meantime, I hand out useful critiques and comments. Currently trying to work on something diffe..