This image grabs me with so many possibilities. Of course, the main question is, where’d that blood come from? That’s the story question, right? Or is that blood? What else could it be?
This image makes me think of Fargo. All those people committing heinous crimes in the cold north.
It also makes me think of The Abominable Snowman. A friend of mine recently had me look up the Dyatlov Pass Incident, an unsolved mystery that some believe was a Yeti attack. If you want to learn more about Dyatlov Pass there are many books on the subject.
What made this path in the snow? Is it human, animal, other? Does the main character know what happened here, or see it and respond? That could lead to a fun psychological horror. Ooh.
#vss very short story
After hours of hiking, lost in a sea of white, I was so happy to see a clear path, I didn’t let my wild mind register the possibilities of why it was made in blood-red streaks.
Theme: What is the Message? Based on the story of the mythical messenger Iris and her fraternal twin sister Arke. Iris was the messenger for the Olympians and Arke betrayed the Olympians and became the messenger for the Titans.
poem form: nonet
A Clear Path In The Snow
Cold snow blinding white, something ahead
A message or trail left blood red
Unclear route I choose to tread
I fear where I’ll be led
Could reveal the dead
On which it fed
Or a sled
Ooh, Antagonist’s P.O.V. (point of view).
If I combine this with the image prompt, my antagonist might have some explaining to do. This could also combine well with the OctPoWriMo prompt. Who would be the antagonist of your story, Iris or Arke?
Early on, in my weekly critique group, one of the writers was having a problem with her antagonist. She felt he was too cliche. He reminded her of Ming The Mercilessfrom Flash Gordon. We worked on making a more sympathetic villain by exploring his backstory. What formative events encouraged his current behavior? We also looked at specific affectations, behaviors and speech patterns that make him unique and humanize him.
If you’re interested in learning more about making your antagonist more sympathetic, you may be interested in Teller of Tales: The Sympathetic Villain by Tess Collins.
Another thing to think about when creating your antagonist is the antagonist is not necessarily “the bad guy.” An antagonist may not even be a person. For instance, in movies like The Day After Tomorrow, Sharknado, The Perfect Storm and Twister (1996) the antagonists are “weather events”. The point of the antagonist is to be in opposition of your main character. There may be some more good advice on the subject in The One Hour Guide to Better Antagonists: How to Write Stronger Stories Using the Power of Opposition by Mary Lynn Mercer.
The two characters in Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel are good examples of oppositional antagonists. This fun story is told by each character in first person in alternating chapters. Each one sees himself as the good guy and the other as the bad guy and due to events, neither is under the best behavior.
My NaNoWriMo novel this year is going to have a diverse collection of antagonists, criminals of minor to major crimes who all think the protagonist has found them out. I’ll be exploring every aspect of the antagonist this November.
Want more information on creating great antagonists? Here are some links to what other writers are saying:
Looking through Experience Writing’s archives, I found something interesting I wrote about Strange Pleasures that might inspire some attributes for your antagonists.
And Christopher Bailey’s great guest post: Carving through Writer’s Block ends with a tip about antagonists!
Do you have a post about writing antagonists? Or have a link to some good info about writing antagonists? Please share in the comments.