on Jami Gold site:
Every story requires an antagonist—or at least an antagonistic force—that creates situations and/or circumstances that force the protagonist to take action. Without a conflict from the antagonist, there’s no story, as our protagonist would have no reason to grow or change themselves or to try to change the world or their situation.
In other words, antagonists drive the story.
But while we definitely need some type of antagonist, we get to determine what kind of antagonist they are. The antagonist in our story might be a force of nature, a love interest, or a meddling best friend. Or they might be a true villain trying to harm others, an uncaring psychopath/sociopath, or fully evil in every respect.
There’s no right or wrong answer—only what makes sense for our story. And for some stories, we need a villain who does evil things. Which might prompt several questions for us to address next: How bad are they? Why do they do evil things? How can we write evil if we can’t understand it?
Kassandra Lamb, a retired psychotherapist, is here with Part One of a post to help us develop those bad guys (and girls) in our stories. Today, she’s teaching us about our options for our villains, including psychopaths and sociopaths—what they are, what they do, and where they come from.