I'm approaching a scene in my WIP that presents our first view of the antagonist. I want to do him justice. So, I've been researching a lot about developing good 'villains'. (See what I did there? "good" villains ;) I've realized that the antagonist that I see in my head, is flat on the page. What's the problem, how can I make him more compelling? Well, my young padawan, it's all about duality.
We all have good and bad within us (see my last post). Whether we are good or bad people is determined by what forces within get our focus.
The trick is to apply this to all of our characters. We know that the best protagonist is one that overcomes inner demons to grow into a hero that we can get behind. But let's not forget about the antagonist. At some point he fought his inner demons too, and lost.
Yesterday, I was watching BoyChild playing with his toys. One toy said to the other one, "Wait, wait! You're the Bad Guy!" To which, the other toy replied, "Oh right, I'm the Bad Guy. Mwahahaha!" And off they went, battling against each other, my son accessing his perception of good and evil in equal measure to make an epic battle. The Bad Guy didn't know he was the Bad Guy, he was just doing his thing. Oh, what our young can teach us!
So, I'm going back to the beginning, exploring my antagonist's history, learning how he got the way he is. I'm making sure I find his strengths as well as his weaknesses. His attributes as well as his flaws. Respecting his Journey.