Can it be?

Apparently:  YES.

I’ve just realized why the book’s been coming a little bit slower these past days, illness aside. 

I–lover of good antagonists, she who loves writing her antags–actually failed to flesh out one antagonist’s goals and inner conflict.  And he’s central to the whole book.  He is, to whit, one of the two major reasons the plot is even unfurling for everyone else–protagonist and antagonist alike.

Gack!  It’s sad to update my wordcount today, for I’d have to mark that I actually deleted several pages.  Wrote a few, too, yes, but it evens out at 365 pages, one page less than the day before.

I’ve been doing a fairly hefty amount of research, but I realize now the stopgap is not in another person’s book.  It’s in my head.  Who is he, the infamous F?  What did he plan for this moment when all is laid bare? 

Until I get inside his head, and better yet, his soul, I of course can’t move forward.  And heaven forfend I should spend another month telling you I’m 1/2 to 2/3 finished!

Can’t wait to get inside THIS twisted soul sometime soon.  🙂


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
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22 Responses to Can it be?

  1. ralfast says:

    That happened on my current work. After having such great antagonist in my last NaNo/WIP this one felt a bit flat. I like my villains to be smart, snarky and a real challenge.

    • sputnitsa says:

      A challenge–do say more what kind of challenge. 🙂

      And how are you doing now with said antag?

      • ralfast says:

        Well it’s sort of what (according to TV Tropes) Bruce Willis said about heroes in film:”They can only be as smart as the villain.”

        The villain has to be smart, powerful and dangerous enough that he present a real challenge to the heroes. That doesn’t mean that the heroes have to bash him down with raw strength, but that it forces the heroes to think, analyze and adapt. Which of courses forces the villain to do the same, and so forth.

        Of course the antagonist doesn’t have to be a person, it could be a force of nature, some inner turmoil or life itself. But I wouldn’t really called them antagonist, more like hurdles to overcome.

        As for my current antagonist, well I didn’t really have one, or at least the one that showed up at first was a bit weak (as in two-dimensional) but now I found the real antagonist and “it” is far more interesting, especially the guise that “it” has adopted.

  2. Good luck, Sput!

    For me, writing my antagonists is no different than how I approach my protagonists. In simple terms, it’s: “Who are they?” and “What do they want?”

    • sputnitsa says:

      Thank you 🙂 You know me, my protagonists have caused me ever so slightly more trouble.

      I’ve figured out the difference in how I construct them, though, and figured out thereby why I’ve had that trouble. BUT, you’ll be happy–as in glowing with glee ;-p–to hear that I’ve adjusted my protagonist development and my lead heroine is sparking to life now. 🙂

      Yeehaws, as we say in, err… uh. Well, surely someone other than me has said it. 🙂

  3. hope101 says:

    Your pace – antagonist issues aside – still make me look like a sloth. Good luck figuring this out. It’s my experience that until I do, I can’t move forward.

    • sputnitsa says:

      One thing I realized is that I’d been using my notebook for research and plot issues, and completely neglected the one character. This means I need more imagination time, which is super, because that doesn’t require a laptop or a book or…anything but a free mind and a soaring spirit. 🙂 Well, okay, it brings the soaring spirit out, actually. 🙂

      And you cannot be speaking to me of your sloth! You just took on a completely new path recently with your writing, and that ROCKS. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear more about it, actually.

      And thank you again 🙂

  4. Yarnspnr says:

    Neglected characters are ones that can be doing much behind the scenes – nefarious, subtle sorts of people who thrive in the background and are patient enough to await the right times and places to stick in their barbs and pull the rug out from under your protag. They usually get away with it because not even the author is watching them. 🙂 All of which quite describes my new blog which now has a story up. 🙂

    • sputnitsa says:

      Indeed! One antagonist, D, is definitely “up to something.” And I feel like you say–he’s out there, and he’s on the ball, even if I’m looking away. And I can’t wait till I return 🙂

      Sounds like it’s time to head over to your new blog now! 🙂

  5. Beth says:

    I hope that you get well soon.

    You’re making good progress (far better than I). Best of luck with figuring out the antagonist! They really are fun to write.

    I love imagination time! I need more time just to sit and think about how my story is progressing (or take a break and write some short pieces).

    • sputnitsa says:

      Heh–thanks! 🙂

      I was well enough today to wake up early with no difficulties, which is great. Made a new playlist for said character and sat down to think him out and pummel into his soul and his thinking.

      He’s different from my other characters in that he’s not completely mine. He’s perhaps historical and largely mythologized, so I have leeway but I have existing legend to work with or around, too. Very little true history is known of him, so reality is slave to fiction, poor dear.

      But he certainly isn’t willing to be a slave to history, nor fiction…

      How’re you doing? I’ll tell you it was a little hard not to research this morning… 🙂

      • Beth says:

        I’m doing alright! Picked up another book on the topic and I’ve made some (minor) progress in the writing department. I need to work on outlining a plot, but I should probably figure out the beginning.

        I’m glad that your antagonist is coming together! I’m intrigued by the historical and mythologized nature. Now I’m wondering who he is. 🙂

        Keep it up!

        • sputnitsa says:

          Good luck!!!

          Yeah, I’m looking forward to some real time with him and the others. My first real weekend is coming up soon…

          🙂 He is a beast to tackle. Good thing I’m up for the task… 🙂 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

          And thank you!!! 🙂

  6. matthewgraybosch says:

    I’ve had that problem myself, sputnisa, but never with my central antagonist, Isaac Magnin. I’ve had to flesh out lesser antagonists, though, in order to move forward with their subplots and give them and the protagonist a meaningful conflict. 🙂

    • sputnitsa says:

      Indeed. I have several antagonists in the book, taking on central roles at various points and in various ways. Generally they seem to be my most real characters from the first moment. Except this one, which I am still getting into…

      How’s your writing going these days?

      • matthewgraybosch says:

        It hasn’t been going very well. Being unemployed and not having a place of my own has been murder on my routine. I’ve got a job, but it doesn’t pay very well yet and my wife and I still living with my parents. So, I’m not getting much done with Starbreaker.

        • sputnitsa says:

          Create a new one! A new routine, that is. 🙂 Are your hours fulltime right now or part-time? Maybe you can leave an hour or two earlier and sneak in the time to jot notes, or take an extra hour to come home so that you have time to write.

          What do you think? You’ll probably feel a lot better if you’re writing. 🙂

  7. matthewgraybosch says:

    Well, Sputnisa, it’s full-time work, with a 1.5 hour commute each way. I suppose Catherine would understand if I hit the Starbucks across the road for an hour each night to do some writing, but after being away all day I miss her.

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