I have commitment issues. Big time.
As someone who has made plenty of bad relationship decisions before finding their “gem,” I find it hard to make a commitment to anyone, especially if it’s long-term.
I’m talking about antagonists, though the rules of relationships still apply. You’ve seen this with couples before, possibly friends of yours. She likes him. She wants more. She wants to make it permanent. And why not? She’s great! Smart! Savvy! She has a job! Together, they could have a very happy life — or, at least, a great long-term relationship.
Unfortunately, he’s not so sure. He thinks he’s in his prime and should keep his options open just in case a lingerie-model-sports-fanatic-sex-addict-gymnast who never wants to talk about her feelings comes along.
Sorry, pal. She doesn’t exist.
Okay, if she does exist, she’s not going for him. She’s going for an old, wrinkly, rich dude who can do great things for her career.
To be honest, I hold out for antagonists just like the delusional friend. With a bit of decent, honest work, I can come up with someone who could make me decently happy. We’d have a nice, long-term relationship. But would they be the antagonist of my dreams? Probably not.
Luckily, this is fantasy and I’m supposed to have my cake and eat it, too. Now if only I could find my Predator-Alien-Darth Vader-Khan-Terminator of my dreams…
One of the hardest things I’ve had to come to grips with about the writing craft is that, while there are a lot of things that come intuitively, a lot of things don’t. Just like finding the gem of your life, sometimes you’ve got to go through a lot of crap before finding that antagonist of your dreams. “The One” is out there, it just requires digging deep. Real deep. Sledgehammer-through-the-hardened-crud kind of deep. And in the end, we don’t really find that goddess on the mountain. We come to the end of a soul-searching journey and discover what it is that we truly want. Maybe it’s the person in front of you. Maybe it isn’t.
Or, with your antagonist, it’s a world-searching journey. Don’t settle for less than the guy/gal/bloodsucking monster that gets your motor revving.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that the sermons that need preaching are the ones the preacher also needs to hear. And that’s why I’m talking about finding the antagonist of my dreams. It looks like I’m getting into a new critique… um, group? More like an online crit duo for now. (No clue what this is going to look like.) And that means I have to set aside my fear of plots and get working on the next novel. Ugh. I’ve been blogging about it so bravely but, to be honest, I’m petrified.
I’ve written one complete novel and a few half-finished pieces of crap. All I’ve learned so far is that I can find a great plot, but my method of finding it (writing a character and letting them take off on their own) doesn’t work as well as I’d like. For one thing, it takes me a very long time. Some people are great at that, but it’s not so great for me. To write 10 fairly polished chapters before finding a kickass plot, knowing everything I’ve written up until now must be tossed in the garbage? It’s demoralizing. That methodology has me nearly scared off from plot/antagonist-searching.
The good news is, as an unpublished author, I have lots of time to figure out my own path. There’s no rush, and honestly, I’m trying to look at the bright side – mostly because my friends are making me. I’ve resorted to a trusty notepad and pen and I’m scribbling ideas as they come, taking a notion and going with it. Hopefully, this method will help me dig down deep enough to find a plot and an antagonist that get my motor revved. I’m making a little progress… Let’s hope I can make the magic happen again in less time than it’s taken me before.