I’m developing a new antagonist for my upcoming novel, The Journey. Her name, for now, is Denise Sanderson, and she will be exceptionally nasty. The other day, as I was describing her to a fellow author, I stopped in mid sentence and said, “You know, I don’t know where these people are coming from, but it’s kind of scary when I stop and think about it.”
Ask any novelist. They’ll tell you that over time characters start creating themselves and they’ll tell you who they are. However, they still spring from somewhere deep in our creative psyche.
Some of my villains, like Ryan in The Reunion, are based on some not-so-nice people I’ve encountered in my own life. Writing about them has certainly helped me release some previously unresolved issues.
Other antagonists however, such as Denise, in the forthcoming Journey, and Maggie, in The Deception, are totally fictitious. They have no real-life counterpart. Therefore, it makes me wonder. Where are these people coming from?
All of us have a dark side, whether we care to admit it or not. These antagonists represent our fears. They represent the sense of outrage and frustration we’ve all encountered at one time or another. They also give us the opportunity to vicariously act out our own anger and frustration. Maybe that’s why we’re so delighted when they finally get their comeuppance. It gives us a chance to purge ourselves of our own demons, and that’s a good thing. That said, they still scare me.