Writing Your Story from the Middle––Part X

We’re wrapping up this series on writing your story from the middle, with a look at the antagonist, as a character, and antagonistic thoughts within the protagonist themselves. The antagonist should also have a mirror moment to explain why they can’t transform––or change in a negative way. Click to Tweet #amwriting #writefromthemiddle #charactertransformation

Antagonist

Create a “mirror moment” for the antagonist. What happens in their life that will define whom they are becoming? I’ve never seen the series “Breaking Bad,” and I never will. Because it’s concept is too painful for me. But people do this all the time. They respond to trials and troubles in their life in a negative way.

They’ll think, “it’s not worth the effort to be a good person. Why should I? What’s in it for me?” Those characters, whom you craft, will harden their hearts internally. Their emotions will turn to anger and eventually, hatred. Or, maybe they’ll just develop a “coldness” to their demeanor.

Maybe the antagonist has never experienced kindness in their life. Their mother died young, their father beat them, their teachers called them “stupid,” and they could never have a long-term relationship that could lead to marriage. OR, they had one, and it soured, it ended in divorce.

There’s all kinds of reasons why people choose to go the negative route. That’s what you want to explore for your antagonist.

Protagonist

Once you’ve figured out the transformation you want your protagonist to undergo, you can create inner dialogue or thought patterns to have the Lead argue with themselves. Have you ever done that? Argued with yourself over an impending decision. Should I marry? Should I not? I’m not good enough for that person. I want something I can never have.

Ah, there it is. I want something I probably can never have. Or––it’s too hard. I can’t do it.

Two interesting mirror moments on this vein from films, include Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” and Rick from “Casablanca.”

I just watched “The Wizard of Oz” again the other night, and I saw this part. The movie opens with Dorothy on her way home from school. She’s afraid Miss Gulch is right behind her. Dorothy runs to Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and all three of the farm hands, trying to explain that Miss Gulch is unfair in her assessment of Toto.

Finally, in frustration, Aunt Em exclaims, “Dorothy! Why don’t you go somewhere you can’t get into trouble?”

So Dorothy muses about a place where nothing bad ever happens. Over the Rainbow. But through the course of the story, she learns “there’s no place like home.”

In “Casablanca,” Rick transforms from a cynical café owner to a helpful man who re-involves himself in the human race.

The Lead Character will see their “mirror moment” and try to talk themselves out of it. They’ll argue within themselves to try to not transform. Click to Tweet #amwriting #writefromthemiddle #charactertransformation

Have you any “mirror moments” at a later time––where you realized something you hadn’t thought of before––and it changes your life. Leave a comment and let me know.

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