Writing Exercise #1

Get to Know Your Antagonist

I found this writing exercise on WritersDigest.com, and was really excited to try it.

It gives a list of ten things you can do to give more detail to your bad-guy. I won't list all of them here, but here are some of them...

1. Go through magazines (I used Google Images) until you find a picture of your antagonist. Post the picture above your computer (or if you have a laptop, somewhere you can see it regularly).

3. Write one or all of the following scenes in your antagonist's point of view, whether or not you plan to use his/her viewpoint in the story.
-love scene
-action scene (what I did)
-flashback scene from childhood

4. Choose a prop (piece of clothing, object, music, etc) that will allow you to slip into your antagonist's voice at will. When you write from your antagonist's POV, wear or use this prop.

5. Pretend you're your antagonist. Put a CD on and dance in your living room.

7. Create a Timeline for your antagonist's life. Fill it in in detail.

8. Just as an actor must get into his character, spend one day as much as you can in your antagonist's head, thinking his thoughts, holding his attitude, being with his feelings.


In my book, I haven't written much about the bad guy, and as such, I can't write very much here, or it'll give stuff away. But I'll share with you a little of what I learned.

First off, one of these things my antagonist just plain would NOT do. Dance? No way.

Second, I'm sorry, but my antagonist is a creepy, unfeeling, evil man, and I do NOT want to spend a day in his head. (I imagine an author like Jo Rowling would feel the same.)

Now that I've got those out of the way, I'll show & tell you a little about my villain.

He is about 60 years old (or at least looks like it). He is tall and broad, with white hair and a receding hairline. No beard. His eyes are clear blue. His voice is normally soft and gentle. When he becomes angry, his eyes narrow, grow dark, and (I'm totally just making this up as I go, it might change) his smooth voice is even more frightening.

As I was going through pictures of people online, I found these...

Calming... soothing... just imagine him with white hair.

Nicolas Cage is the perfect representation of my bad guy. And to be honest, he's a great enough actor that he could totally pull it off... It'd be a hard role to play I think.

Hahaha! Annoyed some? I LOVE his look here! That's a look my antagonist would have behind people's backs... sneering at them in disgust as they think they know everything but really have no idea... he he he...

And of course, the anger, the hate, the disgust, it all comes out in this look. THIS is the epitome of my bad guy.

I wrote a scene from my antagonist's POV, which really helped me clarify who he is. I really want to also find a prop to help me write from his POV, create a timeline of his life, and write a scene from his childhood, maybe explaining why he is the way he is, you know?

This was really fun for me. If you're writing a book, I recommend doing this, not only for your antagonist, but for your hero as well. I tend to THINK I know my protagonist, but I'm not really sure I do, especially now that I'm re-writing and she's changing so much. It's definitely an interesting process, but I love it :-)

Thanks for traveling!

Sneers (you know, like cheers? Lol...),

Page Traveler

P.S. What do you think so far? Are you writing a book? Do you think it helps to get into your bad guy's brain when writing?

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