“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.”
Simply put, the antagonist is the bad guy in our story. But the antagonist isn’t always a person. It can be an animal, the weather, or even friends and family. The antagonist is what or whoever stands between what the hero wants or needs. It makes the hero dig down, deep inside, and see just what he, or she, is made of.
The thing about antagonists though, they been to be just as tough and smart as the hero. He has to be just as determined. A bad guy that doesn’t challenge the hero isn’t going to keep the reader’s attention. Remember, we want our reader to bond with our hero and struggle with him. If we have a wimpy antagonist, it’s no fun for the reader.
I once read something to the effect that the bad guy believes he’s the hero in the story. He believes whatever he’s doing is right and for the good. So, when you are crafting your antagonist, whether it’s a person or thing, be sure to challenge your hero. Push him to his limits and have him struggle to overcome.
You’ll be glad you did.
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
I’m not so sure Mr. King is correct, but I’m not going to argue with him either. I will say that most times adverbs are not needed. Someone once said “Adverbs are the lazy writer’s friends.” and while I’d not go that far, I’d say they were friends of the beginning writer. Before we go on, just what is an adverb?
An adverb is a word that describes the verb. You can usually spot an adverb by its ‘ly’ attached to its end. Some common adverbs are loudly, quietly, softly, quickly, hurriedly, lately, rapidly, fortunately, badly, carefully, and so many others. Naturally there are adverbs without a ‘ly’ such as fast, always, never, sometimes, and even here or there.
And while there are times when adverbs are needed, many times, especially in beginner writers, they are used wrong. For example:
The girl ran quickly. Well, if she’s running, she’s probably going fast. Why not show us?
The girl raced. The girl sprinted. The girl scurried. Each of these words shows us a different action from the girl and gives the reader a better picture.
Another one I’ve often seen is something like this. The man yelled loudly. Of course, he did. Yells by nature are loud. Or, “She whispered quietly’” Again, quietly isn’t needed because is she’s whispering, it’s quiet.
By getting rid of adverbs, we strengthen our writing. And give our readers a better reading experience.
Tomorrow – Beats vs Tags