The main conflict & goals...



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  • The main conflict & goals...

    It is simple: The main conflict is between the protagonist (here it is the main charatcter) and the antagonist.

    The antagonist may try many things to prevent the protagonist from achieving his goal, but can the antagonist have more than one goal?

    Or would that be confusing?


  • #2
    Goals should be like rungs on a ladder, all connected to and leading to the same primary goal. Without that kind of unity you won't be able to fully exploit your characters, concept and themes.

    My 2 cents.


    • #3
      I always find it better when the antag has some personal vendetta against the protag. Say the protag screwed his girlfriend or somethin'.

      That alone is one motivation.

      Then the antag wants to blow up Grand Central Station and the protag is the head of the bomb squad. Antag's gonna show that protag he ain't no hot sh!t.

      Two motivations directly related.

      Then the antag decides he wants to get back at the protag and screw his girlfriend while the protag tries to figure out where and how to diffuse the bomb.

      Three motivations... All directly related by the fact that the protag just wanted to get laid.


      • #4
        What was Hans Gruber's vendetta against John Maclane?


        • #5
          If the antagonist has 3 goals, and the protagonist is the *one guy* who gets in the way of all 3 goals, I fear coincidence may be at work.

          The antagonist's goal is (usually) what creates the conflict. More than one antagonist's goal probably results in more than one conflict which ends up being more than one story and a scatter-shot script.

          Keep it simple.

          - Bill


          • #6
            Who says there was a vendetta, Pathetic One?

            Examples, Buddy. I've been using examples in posts. I've stated that each time you try to get antagonistic. Didn't you say that you make a hundred grand a year? It can't be doing something that requires that you pay attention.


            • #7
              I'm just trying to understand. Sorry. Don't get all uppity.

              And no, I sadly don't make 100 grand a year.

              I guess I misinterpreted you, when you said:

              I always find it better when the antag has some personal vendetta against the protag. Say the protag screwed his girlfriend or somethin'.


              • #8
                Are you talking about the main goal and the hidden goal, or whatever name people give to them?

                Main goal for Dr. Evil: To rule the world and destroy Austin Powers in the process.

                Hidden goal: To gain the respect he's never had (but that he sees Austin having).


                • #9
                  "Hidden goal" is interesting!

                  The reason for my question is that I want to make my antag more interesting and complex as a character.

                  His goal is of course not to both rule the world and blow it up - maybe I'm thinking more about his motifs and reasons for doing what he's doing.

                  I don't find it very interesting with a antag who only tries to stop the protag. I wan't him to have his own ambitions and goals as well, so we could understand him better and that he's not ONLY an evil bastard..., but at the same time keep it simple and not making the story confusing.

                  Everything need to FIT IN... Extremly difficult!

                  Well, thanx for the answers - I have some things to sort out now...



                  • #10
                    Dave, don't get me wrong. I think you're a good writer. I've read your stuff.

                    But if I rub you the wrong way lets deal with it in e-mail.


                    • #11
                      Zara, think you are thinking about the antag/protag relationship a little backwards.
                      In this question you've got them switched. The antag isn't trying to stop the protag.

                      The antag kicks things off. Usually THEY act first and then the protag is FORCED to respond. The antags motivation can be anything, revenge, trying to destroy the world, or what ever.
                      In some stories the two having a background or previous connection of some sort works, is even necessary, while in other films it isn't and doesn't work.
                      The first Die Hard there was no prior relationship. Bruce Willis just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and when Hans takes over the building then Willis MUST act.

                      In the third Die Hard Han's brother has a motive of revenge, oh and steal the gold from the Federal Reserve.

                      Either way it's the antag that is really driving the story.

                      The key is making sure your antag has a genuine, strong motivation that will FORCE the protag into ever increasing action that is sustainable over 120 pages.

                      You need to create a full background and info sheet for your antag. Anything and everything you can think of that makes them what they are.

                      Write out their motivations and goals in detail so that you know this person like the back of your hand.
                      Most of what you write won't end up in the script, some of it will, but it WILL help you create a well rounded antag.
                      Or any character for that matter.

                      Another thing to try is think about the story from the ANTAGS point of view. He's right and the protag is wrong.
                      "All I want to do is blow up thousands of innocent people so I can rule the world and this pesky little hero keeps getting in the way. WHY can't I get my way, just once, JUST ONCE!!!! Is that too much to ask!!!!"

                      The script will still be written in the normal way but the above exercise will help you get inside the antags head.


                      • #12
                        Yes, the antag can have more than one goal, especially if you have the antag changing goals throughout the story.

                        Here's the problem. If you start making the antag more interesting (more dimensioned) than the protag, you could be changing the focus of the story to the antag character making the antag the main character - the protag. And then the protag actually becomes the antag. Don't think of the antag and protag in terms of good or bad.


                        • #13
                          That is a very good point Two Brad.
                          It is the character that is the most developed that people remember and relate to.

                          Often it is the fun side kick that gets all the best writing and they end up overshadowing the protag.
                          Or worse, the writer likes the side kick better and so halfway through turns them into the protag.

                          However, a well developed antag with believable and understandable goals is absolutely vital.

                          If you ARE going to have someone change goals then you've got to make sure there is some connection between them and not a random jump.
                          Using our Die Hard example... Hans can't change his stealing the money goal to say, oh, blowing up the Empire State building if terrorist prisoners aren't released.
                          That would be another movie, another plot.

                          You've got to keep all the goals (and don't do too many) in the same vein or category.


                          • #14
                            Since Die Hard was already mentioned, I'd like to point out that Hans Gruber has one main objective - to steal so many millions of dollars. BUt he has other smaller goals to beat in order to ultimately get to what he really wanted in the first place. He has to deal with the vault, he has to deal with McClane, he has to deal with the police, he has to deal with the FBI, he has to get the detonators back from McClane, he has all the hostages to worry about, etc. In fact, everyone in the movie has one main objective with a bunch of other stuff getting in the way of that one main goal. McClane wants to get back together with his wife, but he has to deal with Hans Gruber. He has to deal with the police not believing him, he has to deal with the fbi making stupid decisions, etc. It's all connected.

                            It's like The House That Jack Built. Everything leads to the next, and to the next, and that to the next, etc. All leading back to the one main thing: the house that jack built.