Thursday, May 5, 2011

Interview Your Antagonist

Antagonist - Person opposing the main character. The antagonist may also represent a major threat or obstacle to the main character by their very existence, without necessarily deliberately targeting him or her.

Writing Exercise: Focus on your antagonist today. What makes him tick? What makes him so bad? Get to know him better by interviewing him. (Yes, this should be fiction. If you can really interview your antagonist, I suggest you call 911). My response is below.

Interview of Malcolm Destrair
By Dawn M. Hamsher

DMH: Today we are speaking with Malcolm Destrair, unofficial ruler of all the lands of Traboltia. Wow! Malcolm, you are nothing like I pictured. I thought you’d have dark hair and features, but you are very much the opposite and quite good looking. Not the monster I’ve heard about.  

Malcolm: (looking amused) Hmmm…sometimes looks can be deceiving, eh?

DMH: Umm..yes, let’s get to the interview. I hear you brought down an entire kingdom?

Malcolm: Yes, what of it?

DMH: Well, that’s quite a feat. How did you do it?

Malcolm: It was easy, really. I played on their fear, confusion, and weakness. It was like taking candy from a baby. The old king was too trusting, too good. When his people turned to me, wanting new things, wanting change…Well, I just planted the idea and watched the kingdom fall.

DMH: Why didn’t you stay to rule in Traboltia’s palace?

Malcolm: I never wanted just Traboltia. I wanted bigger. I built my place up north and prey on all of the kingdom when I want something.

DMH: I’ve heard about your demons.

Malcolm: (smiles) Yes, my pets. They’ve been known to get me what I want. (He leans in) I can guarantee that you wouldn’t want to meet one on a dark night.

DMH: (feeling a little intimidated, changes the subject) Um…speaking of pets, you also have some pet animals…dogs, right?

Malcolm: (sits back up) Yes, I have three black wolfhounds. They usually go with me everywhere. Did you know that dogs are the most loyal of creatures? They’ve lived longer than some of my men.

DMH: Oh. (leans in) So, is it true that you can’t die?

Malcolm: (laughs) Several have tried. I can wager that you wouldn’t be able to kill me.

DMH: No, I wouldn’t want to. I uh, they say that the key to your longevity is in the gem that you wear around your neck.

Malcolm:  Oh, this bauble. Hm. Let’s just say that this is my good luck charm, a gift from good, old King Osiah. (sly laugh).

DMH: What about your personal life? You once had a wife?

Malcolm: (face clouds) We will not be discussing her.

DMH: Oh, sorry. OK, Um…next question. What are your future plans?

Malcolm: (relaxing) I’ve been bored lately. I’ve heard rumors that King Osiah had some riches that I didn’t know about. I intend to do some treasure hunting and no one is going to stand in my way.

DMH: No, I don’t expect they could. Thank you, Malcolm, for joining me today. Tune in next time, when we talk with Malcolm’s right hand man, Mustren.


  1. Good idea, Dawn, especially as sometimes we authors don't know our characters as well as we should. Sounds odd, but it's true--they develop a life of their own. Does that make any sense?

  2. LOL, what a cool interview! I've just completed an in depth character study for one of my antagonists, which was so helpful. My biggest inspiration as to her voice comes from the collage I did. I never thought about an interview :)



  3. Pam,
    It makes perfect sense! That's why I do exercises like this b/c I don't have it all figured out.

    I haven't done an in depth character study, but that would be good! I have notes, but a collage would be awesome! Thanks for the idea.

  4. This is such a useful exercise - I did it to learn about what really makes my hero tick, and got the shock of my life :)

  5. Laura, Awesome! I'm so glad it was helpful.

    I did the exercise so I could figure out how he might speak to someone and to sort of bring him to life.

  6. This is such a good idea. Hello Dawn, I don't really write fiction nor am I a real writer but I will keep your advice in mind when I do some semi fictional writing. Who knows what the future holds. Thanks again. Love, Geoff.

  7. Geoff, I disagree with ARE a writer who shares Jesus with others. What better writing is that?!

  8. Still trying to comment about your great idea! Saw your response in the forum. Did I make it into your blog this time? NancyD

  9. Nancy,
    Yes! I got your comment! Did you get a chance to do the exercise?


I appreciate your comments! I try to respond to each one.