Jennifer Crusie is a long-time pro writer. In Filled with Glee: The Unauthorized Glee Companion by Leah Wilson, Crusie had this to say about antagonists in her essay “You Think That’s Hard? Try Being an Antagonist, That’s Hard”: Why Sue Sylvester is Essential to Glee”
“Sue is riveting, not only because she’s a fascinating character in her own right, but also because she embodies the Three Rules of Great Antagonists: (1) She is much stronger than the protagonist she sets out to destroy, (2) She will stop at nothing to achieve her goal, and (3) despite all that strength and implacability, she’s a vulnerable human being, not a cartoon.” (130)
You know what I think of rules and of form outside the context of function. So here are my questions to you writers who follow my blog and have been following the posts on suspense:
- What function or effect do these qualities have on the reader or on story elements that impact the reader?
- Do all great antagonists exhibit these three qualities?
- If not, are any of these critical for antagonists?
- What’s your conclusion about these three rules?
I’m interested to see what you come up with. And don’t be afraid to post your ideas. I really want to hear your take. You might want to read her whole essay.