We often think of the antagonist as an external obstacle to our protagonist’sforward motion. The antagonist is usually a physical entity, something standingin the way of our protagonists’ ability to achieve their physical goals andperhaps even threatening our protagonists’ lives or their physical well-being.Consequently, it can be easy to forget that antagonists are just as important indriving your character’s personal arc as they are the plot’s conflict.
The Two Halves of Story: Outer and Inner
Every story is made up of two integral halves:
The protagonist’s pursuit of his outer goal, which is the physicalaspect of the story (i.e., the stuff we
The protagonist’s pursuit (willing or not) of his inner goal, which isthe emotional and spiritual aspect of the story (i.e., the stuff happening on an intangible plane).Some stories will emphasize one of these halves over the other, but the beststories balance them.
How the Antagonist Drives the Plot
On the external or physical plane, your antagonist is an obviously essentialplayer. He’s the obstacle that creates conflict. Your character makes a move;your antagonist makes a countermove. Bing bang boom.That one’s a no-brainer. Even if your antagonist is non-human, it will be a forceopposing your protagonist and forcing him to keep coming up with new ways toovercome the problems that lie between him and the ultimate conquest of hisstory goal.
How the Antagonist Drives the Character Arc
Equally important is the antagonist’s affect on your protagonist’s inner journey.This, however, is often something we overlook. When we construct our
How the Antagonist Affects Character Arc