IWSG: Friend or Foe?

Writers can encounter passages, transitions, events, and impressions (to mention just a few) that are more difficult to write. (x-ref: my last several months — about which I’ll share more later; stay tuned!)

But this month’s writing prompt from those wonderful IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) people is: Whose perspective do you like to write from the best: the hero (or protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

Hmm. A bit of a toughy. Not so clear-cut a question is this. (I’ll be interested to see what my fellow IWSG-ers have to report.)

My answer: Either or neither
(Pop quiz: Do you pronounce those words EEE-ther and NEE-ther or EYE-ther and NYE-ther? I’m just hopelessly curious about these things.)

The key is connecting with what drives the character. And to make it really delicious, of course, the character would have not only the external conflicts he or she is battling, but perturbing interior conflicts as well. That’s like cherries on top of a chocolate cake.

If I’m not feeling that character — antagonist or protagonist — I have the devil of a time writing, no matter what the character’s role.

For a protagonist, that feeling might be confusion, uncertainty, reckless abandon, fear. An antagonist can be feeling rage, anger, resentment. Of course either the good guy or the bad guy might feel any of those things. My protagonist could feel enraged. My antagonist could be fearful.

Those emotions are wonderfully irrational. Or rather, one’s response to emotions can be sweetly erratic. Not so fun in real life, but can lead to some exciting activities in a novel.

So, summarizing:

  • Character has feelings (clear, misunderstood, muddled, all of the above).
  • Feelings drive character’s actions (down dark and fingernail-biting paths, one hopes).
  • I (writer person) am connecting with the character’s feelings.
  • I convey that well {this is the weak link, perhaps} and so my reader feels it too.

What do you think?


Insecure Writer's Support Group #IWSGThe purpose of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! #IWSG



Photo by Ahmed Zid on on Unsplash

One thought on “IWSG: Friend or Foe?”

  1. I have a tendency to change my pronunciation of either and neither depending on the context or who I’m talking to. If I’m being stern with my kids and use a serious tone, I’ll use the EYE version. If I’m chill and playing around with them, I’ll use the EEE.

    Yeah, complex characters have an array of emotion. Cookie cutter gets boring. 🙂

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