Dear Reader Who Writes,
As is my habit, allow me to present myself and my credentials for offering this wealth of writing wisdom. I am none other than the Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV. My seminal work of science-fantasy “Fatswhistle and Buchtooth”, once peaked to achieve the coveted Best Seller status of one millionth on Amazon – although I recently withdrew it from publication to allow other, lesser, literature an opportunity to ascend the firmament of popular appeal. But do not weep and rend your garments, oh deprived ones, this is merely a temporary arrangement.
Those who have been my most assiduous students in recent times will be aware that my parents are not on the best of terms. Not that this is anything untoward, of course, but my father is in paradise – Bali? Bahrain? Something sunny and starting with B anyway – and as such has become for my mother the archetypal antagonist. Oh if I had but a fraction of a penny for every sentence she has started with the immortal alliteration: “Your fucking father…” I would have saved enough for a deposit on my own home long since. Sadly, I can not profit from it in that way, but I can – and do – use the antagonism to fuel the formation of my own antagonists.
How To Write A Book – Lesson 18: The Write Antagonist.
Oh no, Mr Farquhar Metheringham IV, sir! I can hear your little voices cheeping in chorus, did you not already tell us how to do this? Did you not say they are just bad people and no more needs to be said of them than that? I say, well remembered my dear RWW. I did indeed say that was the summum bonum of the ideal antagonist. But, this is not speaking of the insignificant issues of personality, motive or malignancy. This, dear pupils, is a matter of physical characteristics – so when we first meet your antagonist we know from the off that is who it must be. So sit up, pay attention and make notes!
- Ugly Mug – ugliness is, of course, the first sign of evil. Make sure your antagonist has a hideous visage.
- Age – wrinkled age is evil – smooth youth is good. Everyone knows this, so use it.
- Dental Detail – villains always have bad teeth. Even the wealthy ones. And bad breath to go with it.
- Deformity – of course, evil is always deformed by something self-inflicted in the course of evil-doing.
- Dark Dressing – to be of the ‘dark side’ it stands to reason the individual must also always wear black. Red in accessories is acceptable.
- Gender – male is default. After all, we speak of ‘the bad guy’.
Of course there can be exceptions to these hard and fast rules. There is the evil-but-beautiful young woman who seduces our hero, for example. But for the novice writer, such as you are indeed, dear pupil of mine, keep to these basic guidelines and you will not go wrong.
Auf Wiedersehen, meine Schüler!