EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

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A VERY belated hello to all my faithful family, friends, and followers. It seems ever since I retired i'm busier now than I was when I was working. Not sure how that works.

Anyway, recently someone posed a question regarding a first-person look inside the head of an evil main character. I think their problem was with how to make it seem real. Or maybe they have never been evil themselves so there's not much experience to compare.

Often, antagonists are portrayed at a distance, and we don’t really know much about them, other than some superfluous idea given by the protagonist or his/her friends. What is the antagonist’s real motivation? Why is he/she doing what he/she does? Why does he/she seem to hate the protagonist? We don’t usually get a very good idea unless the antagonist speaks about his evil intentions. Seldom does a writer delve deeply enough into the antagonist’s head to learn his/her real motivations.

In my recently finished novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH , I’ve done just that, delved into my antagonist’s head. In this novel, Jeff Marino is the antagonist. He wants the main love interest, Genie Lombardi, to love him back, but she can’t. She’s in love with the main character, Mark Wilkerson. Throughout the novel, Jeff causes extreme grief for Mark, and by association, for Genie as well. But, it doesn’t just stop there, a simple case of jealousy. Jeff has issues. By writing this novel is third-person, we learn through getting into his head what Genie really means to him. We learn he comes from a broken, abusive home on the proverbial wrong side of the tracks. He needs someone like Genie to bolster his self image. He smokes and drinks alcohol to bolster his courage and to unwind from his stresses. Near the end of the book, his only true friend, Bobby Baker, is killed in a tragic automobile accident. They’d both been doing Meth combined with alcohol and Bobby jumps out of the car on the Carquinez Bridge and is hit by an on-coming car. Jeff doesn’t blame himself, or Bobby for what happened, instead, he diverts the blame to nearly everyone else: Genie for going off with Mark Wilkerson, Mark for stealing his chick, Alan Bennaducci, a friend, for supplying the drugs that killed his best friend.

Through Jeff’s eyes, grief and rationalization become real, especially when he obtains a handgun.

You’ll just have to read the rest of the book to find out how it ends.

The point is, if a writer can get into the head of his/her antagonist, I believe he/she can make the story much richer, with deeper meaning and understanding of what makes him/her tick.

Try it. And, to see first hand how it works check out BRIDGETOWN HIGH for yourself.

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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