All story is based on the conflict caused by an antagonist, or villain. Adam Bolander wrote a very good article posted in the March 8, 2012 guest blog section of Reader’s Realm. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.
The mad scientist trying to take over, or destroy the world is obvious in his evil desires. (I’ve never figured out how destroying the world profits the villain.) It’s easier to write those sorts of villains. We root for the hero, and cheer when the villain is finally beaten. It’s a little tougher when the villain is ourselves.
What if the villain is the gossip passed from one person to the next? Or pride of social status or wealth? What if it’s anger against God for the death of a loved one? What if it’s disrespect for a husband or wife who doesn’t “give me what I need (want)?
Creating conflict in the area of character can lead to the author being pricked by the Holy Spirit concerning sin in his or her own life. It can, and hopefully does, prick some readers seeing the same.
One goal of my writing is to show people living obedient lives following God’s precepts, and how they do it. The larger, more important, goal is to write about a person who discovers their inner villain, then repents and strives to overcome it.
Character always rises to the top. In this I mean that who the person truly is will eventually show up in their attitudes and actions. We can’t hide it forever. It will become obvious to those around us. Some can hide it longer than others, but it eventually reveals itself.
By writing about people who realize their sin and do what God expects; confession, repentance, and restitution, the triumph over the villainous sin nature my hope is that the readers see the areas of sin in themselves. The actions of the “villain” when he/she finally decides to repent can be a model to be used in real life, if the reader will do so.
In Healing Love, the person who gossips about the main characters, causing them to marry to preserve the man’s reputation, comes to them later in the book to confess and ask forgiveness. It was hard for him to do this. He had to humble himself in order for there to be reconciliation between himself, the couple, and God.
It’s a very tough thing to do. I know, I’ve had to do it. It’s one of those character building moments in life.
The actions of those who must forgive can also make for conflict. Do they forgive, or hold resentment? Do they take out their anger against the one who comes repenting? Do they accept and become best buddies with him/her? Why?
In stories about the “Inner Villain” the antagonist can change from person to person based on the actions and reactions of each character. It reflects life as we live it. We all have some “Inner Villain” within us. Writing about the conflict within, it’s my hope readers will recognize and deal with the areas in their lives which need to be, like the mad scientist, destroyed. Then all can cheer at its destruction.
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Sophie Dawson is my pen name. The real me is the wife of a farmer in western Illinois.
I have two grown sons, one of which is married to a wonderful young woman. They gave us the most wonderful granddaughter ever in November of 2010. I'm not the least bit prejudice. :)