Exhibit 8.13

On Editing a Novel #5

CREATING AN ANTAGONIST. Okay, first, you should probably just choose a Nazi. If you do choose a Nazi, skip ahead to #41 CHOOSING THE ANCIENT ARTIFACT YOUR NAZI ANTAGONIST BELIEVES WILL UNLOCK THE ULTIMATE POWER.

However, if you are writing a science fiction novel set in a Nazi-less alternaworld or a historical novel set in a pre-Nazi past (and you are unable to use a comparable fascist lizard alien or Victorian proto-Nazi, respectively) you’ll have to try harder. Without an immediately identifiable bad guy, your readers will immediately choose one based on the distance of a character’s birthdate from their own.

Once the decision has been made, it can’t be undone, so make it easy on your readers by doing any or, preferably, all of the following:

1. Have the antagonist’s name rhyme with Bad Foe (for example, Chad Lowe).
2. Have the antagonist intermittently and loudly express hatred of baby giraffes.
3. Have the antagonist tip less than 10%.
4. Have the antagonist have an antagonistic pet.
5. Have the antagonist express Nazi sympathies, even in the hypothetical (“Even though I’m an Arthurian knight, I can imagine a future where Germans or fascist lizard aliens share my genocidal and authoritarian political philosophies. I’d be as for that as I am against baby giraffes.”)

It should be noted that you may already have an antagonist and just not know it. Read through your novel and note if any of your characters have scars, canes, capes, antagonistic pets, unusual heights and/or weights, glass eyes, henchmen best friends, or an abnormal fondness for precious gold. If one does, that’s your antagonist. If you thought that character was your protagonist, you were wrong.

1 Comment / Posted in Editing, Ultimate Power, Writing


  1. Thad Bow says:

    Me & my angry badger are going to hand your protagonist his lunch. And we’re not even going to pay full price for it!!

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