As many of you know I’ve been working on “The Novel.”
I’ve gone back and forth with regards to what kind of story it’s going to turn out to be. There are elements of mystery…chick lit…adventure…pirate…faerie embedded within the story itself.
I have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a whole host of other characters. Some of them are friendly to the protagonist’s mission. Others? Not so much.
I have a John Doe who was killed early on in the novel. While my protagonist wants to know why, the antagonist really isn’t interested in explaining why he hired someone to kill the gentleman.
He had his reasons…and though they aren’t great…they are reasons.
But now that I’m trying to figure that out…and both of the characters seem to be having a kind of stand off over coffee/tea in one conversation…I’ve concluded that I need to throw more stuff into the beginning sections with regards to something John Truby (The Anatomy of Story) calls “The Iceberg Opponent”:
Making the opponent mysterious is extremely important, no matter what kind of story you are writing. Think of the opponent as an iceberg. Some of the iceberg is visible about the water. But most of it is hidden below the surface, and that is by far the more dangerous part. There are four techniques that can help you make this opposition in your story as dangerous as possible:
1. Create a hierarchy of opponents with a number of alliances;
2. Hide the hierarchy from the hero and the audience, and hide each opponent’s true agenda;
3. Reveal all this information in pieces and at an increasing pace over the course of the story;
4. Consider having your hero go up against an obvious opponent early in the story.
So now I’m wondering if the bad guy that I know about is the final bad guy…or if he’s just another minion for something…errr…someone much bigger and nastier.