Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Insecure Writer's Support Group - 6 March

It's the first Wednesday of March, so it's time for IWSG...

This month's question is:  Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

This is an interesting question because I don't really feel like my books have heroes and villains as such.  I write contemporary stories and for the most part, the conflicts my protagonists face aren't from another person, but something within themselves. 

But if I had to pick, I'd say that I write from the perspective of the protagonists.  Even if they are often also the antagonist...  I mean, in my latest book, The Sidewalk's Regrets, Sacha, the protagonist battles a number of internal factors - her ambition, her addictions and her perception of her place in the world.   Other characters influence and impact on her decisions, but overall, the conflict she has is not with any of them, but with herself.

In Stumped, Ozzy has to contend with his self-image and his raging libido.  Again, he is both protagonist and antagonist.

In An Unstill Life Livvie has to find the strength within herself to stand up to her mother, the school authorities and her friends.  But even there, much of her journey is through battling her internal demons rather than an external foe, even though they are there.  

The new story I'm writing does have an external villain of sorts, but she's not there throughout the book.  She sets my protagonist on his journey, and from that point, once again, he's his own worst enemy.  He has a totally blinkered view of the world where he believes 100% in what he's doing and where he's going, only to have this view torn brutally away from him by the end of the book, leaving him searching for something new to believe in.  

One day I'd like to write a villain in the traditional sense, but somehow the stories that come together in my head never seem to be as black and white as that.  Which I guess is what life is like - very few people are all good or all evil.  We're all drifting around in various shades of gray, just trying to do our best with what we have.  We're all both the protagonist and the antagonist in our own lives at times, even when there does appear to be an external enemy out there to face.

Which do you prefer to write? 


  1. I don't write from the villain perspective much, but I enjoy a good one that has lots of gray. They tend to be the most interesting.

  2. I do enjoy books where the biggest challenge to the hero is the hero themself.

  3. Like JE, I like stories where the biggest conflict to a hero is internal. But I love when villains/heroes are written in those shades of gray. There's that quote that goes something like "everyone's the hero in their own story." It's nice when stories reflect that.