Thursday, January 10, 2013
Research: Adding Depth to Antagonist
A way to add depth to my antagonist came into focus while I was doing a bit of research for RED BANDANA.
I was talking to a taxidermist about modern-day and historic techniques used to remove flesh from bone. He answered my questions, but I also noticed the taxidermist’s excited voice and body language. This was a topic he knew inside out and loved to discuss.
The whole conversation got me thinking about my antagonist in a slightly new way. The idea of an antagonist being the hero of their own story isn’t new, but what about deepening his character by showing his passions in a more realistic instead of nasty fashion—like the taxidermist happily talking about native flesh eating beetles and soaking road kill in vats of water to rot the flesh off?
It isn’t like I’ve never shown my antagonists’ chattering about their passions in other stories, but usually my mind is focused on how disturbing it is to the main character. Point of view takes priority. Still, I think focusing less on how disturbing it is and making the antagonist's excitement as realistic as possible will add even more depth to the creepiness factor.