Monday, June 25, 2012

SERIES - Your First 50 Pages

Part 6 of 8 - Introducing Your Antagonist

SPECIAL OFFER - Be one of the first 4 to leave a comment and provide your name and email address and I'll give you a free critique of your first chapter!

Your story needs an antagonist; it's essential in fiction writing, and non-negotiable. Both the protagonist and the antagonist should have strong emotional issues that stand in the way of their goals. The antagonist provides the momentum for your plot to continue forward motion. You need to establish firmly in the reader's mind who the antagonist is and what they're about.

What do you think of when I say 'antagonist'? Are you visualizing an evil person? Or perhaps a monster, ghost, or animal? Good, these are all good possibilities for an antagonist. But an antagonist doesn't have to live and breath as a warmblooded creature. The antagonist can be an inner turmoil (character against self) or even an environmental element (tornado). Think of an antagonist as someone or something that causes opposition, and opposition is the most important element of your story. Without it, where's the story going?

The antagonist doesn't need to be introduced before any other character, though it is an effective strategy. Like the protagonist, the antagonist pursues the story's goal. What if there are more than one antagonist - say a group of people who are in pursuit of the story's goal - what then? Simply, the character who takes the lead role in pursuit is the main antagonist.

Do you have to introduce the antagonist in the first 50 pages? Of course not. It's your story. Do what works for you. But keep in mind the audience you're writing to. Are they used to getting this bit of information early in the book? If you don't introduce the antagonist early, will you have enough of a story to propel the reader forward until they meet him/her/it; and will you be able to do it without info dumping and a lot of back story?

If you've developed a strong theme your reader will have a good understanding of what the story is really about. It is, according to Charters in The Story and Its Writer, "[t]he central, unifying point or idea that is made concrete, developed and explored in the action and the imagery of a work of fiction."

Remember when creating your antagonist that completely evil people are nearly nonexistent. Give them their own set of motivations and unique characteristics. Make your antagonist more complex than a standard evil villain and you'll hook your reader, ultimately achieving your prime objective - keep the reader turning pages.

Are you having difficulty with your antagonist? Who or what is one of your favorite antagonists?

Don't forget the special offer noted above. Be one of the first 4 to leave a comment and provide your name and email address and I'll give you a free critique of your first chapter!

Thanks for visiting. Feel free to JOIN this blog and follow closely for great tips on writing and getting published for the fiction writer!

All my best,

Dee Ann

Dee Ann Waite - Author of The Consequential Element
As a special offer, I'm offering the first 4 commenters a free critique of their first chapter.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Have you checked out my INTERVIEW with Stevie McCoy from Glitterword? For those of you who haven't yet, you can find it at   

She did a great job! If you ever have the opportunity to be interviewed by her - DO IT!

Monday, June 4, 2012

SERIES - Your First 50 Pages

Part 5 of 8

*First - I would like to apologize for taking so long to get to this next step. I became ill, requiring surgery, and have been recuperating for the past few weeks. Thanks so much.

Setting the Tone

What is meant by tone? It has to do with voice, message, and theme. Mainly, it's the feeling you give the story. The tone may be happy-go-lucky or alarmist, pessimistic or optimistic, funny or sad. Or something else entirely.

It's important to establish whatever tone you decide on within the first 50 pages of your story. You don't want to confuse the reader. Keep with the tone you choose throughout your story. If you choose a tone referencing horror, murder, and the like, please don't turn it into a comedy half way through. The tone you set at the beginning must be the tone you carry throughout the novel.

Tone and Mood - is there a difference?

Tone and mood are not the same. Tone pertains more to the speaker/narrator of the story and how they feel toward the subject, as opposed to what the reader feels. Mood is the general feeling or atmosphere that the writing creates within the reader. Mood is produced most effectively through the use of setting, theme, voice, and tone.

Tone comes from many possible attitudes. It can be happy or sad, formal or informal, playful, serious, or even somber, to name a few. Remember that each story has a theme, at last one, sometimes more. What I mean by theme is, a central question about a topic. How you approach the theme is done through tone.
Authors manage to create the tone of their writing through the use of various tools, some of which are word choice, or the manner in which words are arranged for effect, and certain details that are included or mitted to create vivid appeals to the senses.

The tone of words chosen is crucial toward creating a consistent atmosphere. For example, if your trying to create a frightening scene, the frightening atmosphere can't be filled with jokes. Or maybe you're shooting for a sad scene; words must all be in somber tones and colors. Jump out of the mood even once, and you risk losing the reader forever.

Here are a few resources to help you along your way in setting up tone:

Writing Forward

Elements of Story or Fiction

Elements of Fiction: Style and Tone

Have you been having difficulty setting the tone of your story? What's been the problem? Are you getting the mood you want your reader to be in, but can't seem to set the tone to help them get there? Drop me a comment and let me know what's going on with your writing. I'd love to hear from you.

Until then, all my best for your success,

Dee Ann  :)