Multiple Antagonists

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik6 Comments

A student of my best-selling Suspense Guru Udemy course, asks a great question:

Your course has made me realize that I have more than one antagonist in my story. An ‘in-your-face’ obvious one, but two others that I never realized fell under the title of antagonist. How do you deal with this covert duo in a story?

Suspense Guru course Q&A

There are a number of ways of including multiple antagonists in a story.

Antagonists Who Are All Reporting to The Same Boss

This is the most common way of doing it. Almost all action movies and video games have this. The protagonist must fight past all the lesser villains and finally fight the boss villain. For example:

Independent Antagonists Fighting Each Other Over the Same Goal

Here, independent antagonists are battling the hero and one another to make sure they, and not any of the others, obtain a specific goal.

Serial Antagonists

These antagonists can be independent, or all serving the same boss. They can have all different goals, or all be fighting for the same goal. But they are dealt with and defeated serially, one by one, never to be seen again.

Here, one antagonist after another battles the hero or heroine of your story. They are defeated one by one, and for the most part don’t recur in the story afterwards. While there may be a big boss whom all the antagonists are serving, the big boss doesn’t appear in the story at all.

What holds this together is that the protagonist has a very specific goal, and he must fight through all of these antagonists on the way to obtaining it.

I hope the above is helpful. Please ask me any follow-up questions here, or, in the Q&A for my Udemy course.

6 Comments on “Multiple Antagonists”

  1. Wait aren’t you the guy who made that piece of shit movie? How can you give ANYONE advice? Only the lamest shittiest most incompetent asshole could have made that. What a scam.

  2. Bad take. The dude is an accomplished writer and filmmaker. They’re trying to reboot his old show soon, too.

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