‘My Approach to an Antagonist’ by Linda Ferreri
As part of the Blog Tour for A Matter of the Crown by Linda Ferreri, and thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources I have been fortunate enough to be given a little insight into the creative mind of the woman behind the words…
My approach to an antagonist is slow, that is gradual. I think it is important to bring this person onto the scene, i.e. the reader, such that we are not certain about him or her. The uncertainty of the character adds to the tension. So I would say that the arrival of the antagonist on the scene is subtle in my writing, at first. My writing does not usually involve a “bad guy” who jumps right out at the start.
We have to get to know the antagonist, i.e. to learn about him or her and so why s/he does this or that. We have to wonder, and of course to worry. Is s/he bad or a problem? Is the deed a problem? What might s/he do next and how will the protagonist cope? For that to work, I have to come up on it slowly and offer the reader choices about who really is an antagonist and who is not.
Possibly all of this is that I myself am an overly trusting person, I have found. I’ve often given people in my own life too much rope, only to learn late that they were antagonistic. So the protagonist becomes an even more engaging character when the reader uncovers the antagonism slowly, in horror, as I have had to do at times. The reader starts to worry early, but has to go through it with the protagonist and then pray to God that s/he finds a solution. Might I say, then, that the antagonist’s mischief has to play off of the protagonist’s character? I think it does, in my writing.
Of course, I cannot spoil the plot of The Matter of the Crown for the reader. Its predecessor book, One Sacred Crown, had a more obvious antagonist than this novel. In some ways, that antagonist was easier to shape than this one, but this one is much more delicious when s/he is unveiled and fully at work. The Matter of the Crown is possibly a more “entertaining” story because I studied the antagonist “out loud” for the reader. We both, the reader and I, have to come to understand this person and then determine whether or not there is a problem and just how big it is. Ultimately, what s/he does is quite natural for such a person.
In working on a fresh novel here as I write this, I am struggling again with the timing of the “pounce.” That is what I might call the moment when it becomes absolutely clear to one and all that the antagonist is just that. For the pressure to mount, time has to pass. For the problem to become acute enough to spin the story, it has to jump out at the right moment and carry the story beyond it.
I should add this: I do what many writers do. I study people when they aren’t watching me. And sometimes, modeling an antagonist on a person I have met and studied works beautifully. In The Matter of the Crown, that was a tremendous help. The psyches of people are mysterious until they aren’t.
Where to find the Blog Tour:
More on Matter of the Crown
The Crown of the Andes, one of the world’s most precious and beautiful sacred objects, has been stolen right off the stage at Satterling’s Auction House in New York City. Five pounds of magnificent baroque gold that ransomed the Inca Ruler Atahaulpa, and hundreds of perfect Colombian emeralds, all gone without a trace! Will this legendary treasure be destroyed for its gold and emeralds? Claire, the heroine from “One Sacred Crown,” braving danger and emotional turmoil, is in hot pursuit.
Where to find Matter of the Crown;
About the Author
Well known lecturer, art historian and international art lawyer, Linda Ferreri is the author of several books. Her most recent is the mystery The Matter of the Crown. Like One Sacred Crown, it involves the famous and real Crown of the Andes, now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Where to find the author;
I hope you enjoyed this insight into creating an antagonist. If you did, please like, share, and comment 🙂