Monday, August 4, 2014

30-Week Writing Survey: Week 18: Favorite Antagonist



Today's question: Favorite antagonist and why!

That's a very tough question for me as I so rarely actually have an antagonist. My conflicts are almost always Man vs. Self, in an absolutely clear-cut way.

So I don't have a Big Bad ever, but . . . I guess there have been a few people who were trouble for my protagonists. I don't really have a "favorite" one. But since Bad Fairy is my story with the closest thing to enemies in it, I guess I'll start there.

My protagonist, Delia, finds herself in a consistent rivalry situation with three fairies from her circle: Chloe, Livia, and Beatrice. Delia calls them "the triplets" and they're really quite nasty little fairies, but what I do like about them is they're not just being jerks to her out of complete xenophobia. They disagree wholeheartedly with her philosophy of life, and they are, ya know, afraid of her. They probably should be.

Little sketch I made of the fairy triplets. ;)
Chloe, Beatrice, Livia.

Chloe, Livia, and Beatrice really make Delia's life rather difficult while she's in circle (the fairy version of school), and they help her develop the nearly desperate fierceness she has when she's backed into a corner over something she believes. If she hadn't been challenged early and often by these girls, she probably wouldn't have felt quite so much like she was fighting for her life in a world that didn't understand her, so I guess she owes them a thing or two.

Beatrice is the ringleader here and her relationship with Delia is pretty special. The two of them are class leaders, and they both value their magickal craft highly, but Beatrice is very much about established order and Delia really enjoys bucking the system and exploring the unknown. Beatrice would like to think of Delia as a rival, but Delia really doesn't consider Beatrice a threat of any kind. She thinks it's kind of fun to beat her at everything. It makes her mad.

One time during a fire celebration they had a fist fight. (Yes, Delia kind of started it.)

Delia starting it
As you can see in that goofy doodle--Delia is tiny next to Beatrice (though she's also bending down a little). That's because she's four years younger than the majority of her peers. It's probably kind of embarrassing for Beatrice to deal with a child prodigy beating her all the time, but their rivalry is also sort of fueled by Beatrice's prejudice against humans. (Delia's father is human. She got her magick from her fairy mother.) Beatrice hates and is suspicious of so many things about Delia that she manages to sort of ruin her life when she actually gets some decent social power. I must admit that even though it was petty of her, it did wake Delia up a little bit and help teach her what kind of world she lives in. Grounded her, you know. So as much as she irritates me, I like Beatrice's function in this series.

She doesn't disappear completely in the next two books either, though the first book is where you see her most. I think she's the most interesting and the most complicated in the third book. You'll see her again.

I should also mention The House That Ivy Built because there is a semi-redeemed antagonist in that story. His name is Carl Fairchild.

Seems very minor, but Nina's daddy caused a lot of problems for my protagonist. He was the main person who got in the way of Ivy feeling comfortable at Nina's house since he was just so damn afraid of her (and couldn't really do much about it since his wife, in her quiet way, was actually the boss of the house). He made his daughter cry quite a few times that I can think of, and Ivy has only restrained herself from making him sorry because THAT would hurt Nina too.

One of my favorite things was when the two of them sort of faced off. Carl literally asked Ivy to step outside with him.

Her response?

"To fight or to talk?"


The ensuing conversation was one of the more intense things I've written in the series. Ivy let Carl get away with saying some rather awful things to her, and did her best to defend herself without sounding like she was threatening to throw him into another county . . . and she actually let this guy see her cry by the time it was all over. Which was, interestingly, the thing that made her seem more human to him.

They really sort of were able to see eye to eye during that conversation, and a few important things were settled that made Ivy really happy.

What I really liked about Carl after that was that it wasn't like that one little moment of giving in turned him into a softy. He's still obviously threatened by Ivy. He's still obviously sort of irritated by her presence. He still barks at her and at his daughter when they're together. He didn't change as a person and I think he's still kind of a jerkass. But he's kind of accepted that Ivy isn't going to get out of Nina's life--and that him trying to insist that she do so is hurting everyone, even him.

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