Skip to main content

Mistake 40: Creating a Weak Antagonist

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer's Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: A story plot is a character trying to resolve
a problem. In most cases the antagonist is the one who introduces
the problem.

Image placeholder title

For example, let’s say your antagonist wants to rob Fort Knox. Before
you write the book, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the antagonistand come up with the plan the antagonist would come up with. If you antagonist comes up with a stupid plan, the book is going to look stupid, and your protagonist is going to look less than heroic trying to stop the not-too-bright antagonist.

The solution:
Take the time to really get inside the skin of your antagonist. Pretend you are the antagonist. Gather your cronies and minions together. Then develop your devilish plan for whatever it is you are going to do. Going to rob Fort Knox? Okay. First thing to think about: Why? What’s the motivation? Make sure it’s a believable one. Then develop a viable plan. A smart one. One you would have a really good chance of getting away with in the real world. One so good the FBI might come knocking on your door if one of the neighbors saw it laid out on your table.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 26 requires a second thought.

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

Here are 12 books released in 2022 that make perfect gifts this holiday season for the reader in your life.

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Rigorous research, incorporating  authentic dialogue, and adding details from true-to-life moments, author Deborah Larkin shares how she wrote a nonfiction crime story in a literary style.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 25 gets serious.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Deal

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Deal

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character make a deal.

5 Rules of Ethical Journalism

5 Rules of Ethical Journalism

Alison Hill shares five rules of ethical journalism and shines a light on why more and more people may be growing weary of journalism and journalists.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 24 considers what it's all for.

12 Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Cookbook

12 Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Cookbook

Cookbook author Deanna Martinez-Bey shares 12 pros and cons of self-publishing your cookbook to help you make the best choice for you and your manuscript.

Chloe Liese: On Changing Character Dynamics in Romance

Chloe Liese: On Changing Character Dynamics in Romance

Author Chloe Liese discusses the classic Shakespeare play that inspired her new romance novel, Two Wrongs Make a Right.