This week we’re revisiting the idea of bad guys in our lives and in our writing because lots of us actually have bad people in our writing and our lives. These antagonists run the gamut from people who make us scream at their Facebook posts of Fakeness to actually physically hurting us and our community. Politics is full of making the other party the bad guy. People at work tend to make other employees or bosses the bad guys. We make bad guys everywhere.
Sometimes we make entire groups of people the bad guy like this week on Facebook a guy who manages an inn had a post that said,
The Facebook Post That Started It All
I have a couple staying with us, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The woman came to tell me how she loves the Inn, but has been treated horribly by so many locals. Being told “go home” and have had obscenities shouted at her and her husband. I’ve seen posts in this group and others from people discouraging tourism. My question is.. .Do we want our town to be known as openly hostile towards visitors? Is this how the level of discourse is supposed to be?Facebook person
And the responses were all over the locals. People saying locals were the bad guys. People accepting and expecting that those tourists’ side of the story was right and the locals were the bad guys. This might be true. It might not.
It’s like everyone just took one story, without verifying it, accepted it as truth and then jumped on the bad guy wagon.
The question is why? Why do we do this?
I’m sure the original poster believes that woman and that woman may absolutely telling the truth or at least her version of it, but why do we all jump in and take it as reality when it’s hearsay and just that woman’s side of the story. I mean, she obviously doesn’t want to think, “Hey, all these people are swearing at me. Maybe I’m actually doing something wrong.” Instead, she cast herself as the victim and the others as being the bad guys. Which could be entirely accurate.
We don’t know.
And that’s just it. In real life, a lot of the time, we don’t know. Things aren’t always as simple as good and evil; absolute right and absolute wrong.
Although, sometimes it really is. There are certain things that are just evil.
One of the biggest questions a lot of new writers have is this:
Do I need a bad guy?
But your bad guy can be yourself or your main character.
Like in our random thoughts, Carrie is often showing that she is her own worst enemy. Watching tv gives her anxiety, but she almost always watches tv at night for a couple of hours.
When it comes to life or writing stories, this can help you figure out what the antagonist is.
Here are the steps:
- Figure out what your goal or your main character’s goal is.
- The bad person is whatever stands in the way of your character (or you) achieving your goal.
So, in life Carrie is her own antagonist because her goal is to not feel anxious at night, yet she still watches television for an hour or two. That’s an example of an inner-antagonist or bad guy.
Also in life, when Carrie doesn’t let Shaun watch American Pickers and makes him watch Pen15 or Teenage Bounty Hunters? She’s Shaun’s external bad guy, keeping him from his goal to chill with those picker guys.
WRITING TIP OF THE POD
Every story needs conflict. Sometimes that conflict and opposing force (what’s keeping your character from their goal) comes from the character themself.
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
There are enough bad guys in the world. You don’t have to make them up.Sparty Dog
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
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