Breathing Life Into Your Antagonist - The Act of Villainy

Breathing Life Into Your Antagonist - The Act of Villainy

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Regardless of genre or media, every story needs an antagonist,someone or something that makes your hero's struggle a story worth reading. This tutorial provides an in-depth look at what makes a great antagonist. Just being an evil genius bent on world domination isn't enough. What makes someone a villain, what might cause an otherwise normal person to commit acts of murder or thievery, or just plain back-stabbing and conniving, is as important as what drives your protagonist to be a hero.

This tutorial is taught by veteran editor and author Philip Athans. Philip is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the recently-released Devils of the Endless Deep. His blog, Fantasy Author's Handbook, ( is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.

In this 35-minute tutorial video, you'll explore the joys (and terrors!) of plumbing your own dark side to conjure and breathe life into your story's antagonist. Topics covered include:

  • Motivation
  • Backstory
  • Psychology
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Redemption

Remember, every story begins with an act of villainy...

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