There is a common complaint in television and film that one character is far more interesting and compelling than the other. You create interesting, compelling characters, the viewers will come back for more and the studios will keep on making your shows and promoting your films.
But what happens when you have two equally compelling characters that the viewers want to see more of?
Creating a character that is both compelling and interesting is a difficult challenge. You want to give the character your all, but it also needs to feel distinct from the other character. It’s a fine line, and it requires a lot of planning. In this article, we will discuss two methods you can use to make your two-character show more interesting:
Make One Of The Characters Your Main Antagonist
It is of paramount importance to make one of the characters your main antagonist. The antagonist is the character that the viewers come back to hate the most. However, it is also crucial that this character is well-written and distinct from the protagonist. The protagonist and antagonist should not be too similar in nature. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when writing an antagonist character:
1. Be Unforgiving
Just like with any other character, the writers shouldered the burden of defining the antagonist’s goals, intentions, and motives. For those who object to the idea of a ‘black male protagonist,’ let’s just say that the antagonist’s character should be memorable and compelling enough for the audience to care about what happens to him. It’s important to mention that a protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be likable, but the antagonist does. This is because the antagonist’s character is supposed to be the source of conflict and drama in the story. In many stories, the antagonist is not a sympathetic character, but in life, we often feel sympathy for the people who we think are bad.
2. Give The Antagonist An Arc
An arc is a story arc or a dramatic sequence. In an arc, the protagonist typically battles the antagonist. In order to keep the drama and interest level high, the writer gives each character a distinct arc. This may mean that the antagonist has to start off as a relatively sympathetic character before turning evil or it may mean that the protagonist’s arc is entirely positive. Regardless, each arc should feel unique and should contribute in some way to the greater puzzle of the entire story.
3. Use The Antagonist As A Test Of The Protagonist’s Strength
Giving each character their own distinct arc and making one of them your main antagonist is crucial because it tests the protagonist’s strength. By adding more layers to the character, you are able to push him (or her) past their limits. In many stories, this is where the antagonist comes in; they are the ones who put the protagonist in their place. In the end, the protagonist has to triumph over the antagonist. In some stories, this is not the case, but the protagonist learns from their failure and grows stronger as a result.
By adding more layers to the character, you are able to write different arcs for the protagonist and antagonist. The more layers you add, the more interesting your story will be. For example, if you want to write a serious story about an ex-convict trying to make it in the world as a lawyer, you would give the antagonist an entirely different set of goals and motivations from the protagonist. In order to keep the conflict interesting, you would want to add layers to the character so that the audience can never truly know what they’re dealing with. You want your story to be compelling and interesting, and you can do that by keeping the antagonist mysterious and ambiguous.
The main thing to keep in mind about the antagonist is that they should be interesting and unique; even if you write the most compelling character ever, they will not matter if the audience doesn’t care about them. Remember, the goal of the antagonist is to bring the protagonist down; make them feel pain and suffering, and have the audience care about what happens to them. In order to accomplish that, the antagonist should be engaging and fun to read or watch. In life, we hate being tricked or cheated, but in fiction, it’s important to remember that the antagonist is playing the part of the bad guy for a reason. In many cases, the antagonist is not a bad person per se, but they are the personification of the baddest guy in the whole story. They are who the hero has to battle and beat.