An antagonist is a character that is working to foil the plans of your protagonist. In general, your plot should follow the struggles of the protagonist as they work in pursuit of some kind of goal – to save the princess, to find themselves, to accept the death of a loved one. The antagonist is doing everything they can to prevent that from happening, either consciously or unconsciously.
The antagonist in your story doesn’t have to be a single person, in fact, it doesn’t have to be a person at all. Your protagonist can be struggling with societal expectations, their environment, culture, or against themselves. The role of the antagonist is to create conflict – without conflict, your story is boring.
In order to define who or what your antagonist is, you need to understand the goal of your protagonist. What is she working towards? Does she understand her struggle or is it more of an unconscious journey? What would make it really hard for her to reach that goal? Once you’ve decided what your protagonist is after, you can start thinking about how your antagonist is going to work himself into the story.
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