Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Insecure Writers Want to Know: Whose perspective do you like to write from, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? Why?


            Ooo! What a juicy question. Since I write predominately YA short adventure stories, I’m mostly in the mindset of the protagonist, the young teen who will change the most and be the hero of the story. In a lot of my adventure stories, the physical antagonist is a wild animal or weather or natural phenomenon, like an avalanche or a fire. That’s not to say I don’t have a sibling or bully causing external problems too. There also needs to be an internal “antagonist” of sorts in the form of something bothering the protagonist; like a personal fear or lack of courage to do something, or an unwillingness to change. 
http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com


Even so with such a tight word count, usually 1800 words, I only have word space for one perspective.

            So how does the writer get the perspective of the antagonist onto the page when writing on a limited word count?

            The writer does this through the protagonist’s perspective. The protagonist projects his or her own feelings about the bully, the mean sibling, that natural phenomenon, or even the protagonist’s personal fear to the reader. In other words, the protagonist interprets what all the action, inner struggle, or problems mean to the protagonist, who’s driving the story and must solve the story problem, especially in children’s fiction.

In order to go beneath the surface of the story, the reader needs to see how the action or problems, affect one person—the protagonist. If the writer chooses to write through the perspective of the antagonist, the story needs to be affecting the antagonist the most.  

            As a writer, which character is more interesting to speak as; the protagonist or the antagonist? Again, I think it’s important to see how what’s happening in the story affects each of those characters. It’s what the story actually means to a character that adds depth to the story, that helps the readers connect with the character. Ultimately, that’s what makes the story distinctive.       

I can’t wait to see whose perspective you prefer to write through and why. Thanks for visiting! Please follow Adventures in Writing if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in your comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.  


39 comments:

  1. That's a good tip about using the protagonist's perspective.
    I really don't have villains in my stories. My main character is usually his own worst enemy.

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    1. So many times our protagonists are their own worst enemies, Alex. In my college memoir, Victoria is her own worst enemy at trying to obtain her education.

      I always appreciate your sharing insight here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your day!

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  2. Great advice. And yes, there should be an internal antagonist for the hero and can be a way to show the character change in a story.

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    1. Absolutely correct, Natalie. Thanks so much for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. I truly appreciate your comment. Enjoy your day!

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  3. I agree with all great advice and tips. Enjoyed! Happy IWSG Day!

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    1. Hi, Juneta! Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving your kind words. It's greatly appreciated. Enjoy your weekend!

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  4. That's the trick, huh? When writing in the POV of the antagonist what your write has to be impacting the antagonist. That would be an interesting challenge.

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    1. Oh it's a challenge all right, Chrys. Whoever the story affects the most, should be the main character telling the story.

      I always appreciate your comments here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!

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  5. Excellent reflection on POV. While writing from the antagonist's POV is a fun exercise, it wouldn't work for my romance fiction either. Happy writing in March.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing, Rhonda. They are truly appreciated. Happy writing in March to you, too!

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  6. It is time consuming to write everyone's POV so your suggestion--deliver that through someone else's POV--is a great way. Another challenge for us writers.

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    1. Wow! There are so many challenges in the life of a writer, aren't there, Jacqui? Thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a comment. It's appreciated. All best to you!

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  7. I do like your thoughts on POV. I think for me, POV is determined by who needs to tell the story in the most effective way for the reader to get it, to be drawn in, and to remain drawn in :) Happy IWSG Day :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Erika. We could be saying the same thing here. The person telling the story "in the most effective way for the reader to get it" should be your POV narrator.

      I always appreciate your sharing insight here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your day!

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  8. POV changes with each story for me. Best person to tell it is the underdog. IMO they have the most to lose. Deep emotions are easily found there. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. I agree, Anna. In my YA fiction, I usually choose the "underdog" to tell the story. The underdog does have deep emotions, and in my case, the underdog becomes the hero in the story. But whoever tells the story should have the deep emotions, don't you think?

      Thanks for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your day!

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  9. You broke this topic down very nicely. Being limited by story length would definitely confine a writer's focus.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Doesn't it, though? Thank you so much for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing, Lee. They are greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  10. I like to write from both POVs and have done some short stories completely from the antagonist POV. They never come to a good end, but it's interesting to explore the psyche of the villian. You are quite right that the protagonist must wrestle with his/her demons, giving life to the axiom that sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. Best to you on your journey.

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  11. Oh I bet it is truly interesting to explore the psyche of the villain, Lee. And possibly a bit scary, too. And yes, many times, we are our own worst enemy.

    Thanks for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your day!

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  12. I like your suggestion of seeing through the protagonist's eyes. Thanks for that thought.

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    1. My pleasure, Roland! And thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a comment. It's greatly appreciated. All best to you, sir.

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  13. I think I like the protagonist in the story. I'm all for the hero of the story.

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    1. So am I, Michelle! Let's hear it for the heroes in our lives and in our stories. Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated. Enjoy your week!

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  14. The way you describe your process, it does look like the protagonist in fiction and non-fiction (memoir) do have a lot in common - their struggles and their focus.

    1800 words is not a lot to build the main character and tell the story - beginning, middle, and end. As always, I appreciate you sharing your perspective and knowledge, Victoria! Have a wonderful week ahead.

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  15. Thanks so much for your kind words, Liesbet! They mean the world to me. I try so to be helpful to others.

    Any protagonist or main character needs to be fully fleshed out, with both internal and external struggles to deal with. And yes, 1800 words is definitely not a lot of words to build a solid story. That's why we need to make every word count when writing. Hope all is well. Enjoy your week!

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  16. Hi Victoria,

    At times its interesting 'to read from the villain's perspective to see what makes him tick.

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  17. Absolutely, Nas! It's always intriguing to see what makes people tick. Thank you so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated. Enjoy your week!

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  18. I'm always bias against the villain. So I enjoy writing through the protagonist's eyes. But, I'm going to challenge myself in the future to write from the antagonist's perspective. I'll probably scare the bejeebies out of myself.

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  19. Now you see, Dawn, that is me too. The truly bad antagonist would scare the daylights out of me. I guess I'm just too positive and docile to think like a bad guy. But good for you, stretching yourself to give it a try and write from the antagonist's perspective.

    Thank you so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated. Enjoy your day!

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