Getting into my Antagonist’s Head

The writing prompt today was to write something from the POV of the antagonist of a story. This was a great prompt because I was pretty stumped on how to make my “bad guy” seem real and believable. I have never really put my writing out in public like this. But I couldn’t get the comments on the Teachers Write site to work so I am going to throw it out here.

This is the first appearance that my antagonist (one of them) makes in my story. Meet Adam, Jenna’s abusive boyfriend….

…Oh man what a day!! Absolutely nothing went per plan or schedule. Seriously, if the guys on the floor don’t get their act together soon, we will never ship on time.
And what is up with the front office? I spent three weeks pricing out that new drum project and the office manager “accidentally” deletes the files. You have got to be freaking kidding me!! Some days the incompetency of the world around me is more than I can stand. My friends think I am OCD, haha, but I just cannot cope with the sense of powerlessness that comes with mistakes.
Where in the world is Jenna? A nice hot meal and cool drink might take the edge off of my anxiety. But once again it looks like I have to forage for myself. She is so sexy and fun that I thought living together would be a hoot. But man she can be flaky. Like where is she!

Bang! Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch……

“Jenna is that you? Where have you been? I ducked out of work a little early and thought we could have a nice relaxed dinner for a change. But now it is 6 already.”

I stomp into the kitchen as she pushes through the back door. I know the stomping is kind of unnecessary but I can’t seem to help myself.

“Jenna!! Hellooo…I am talking to you! Where have you been?” jeez she looks like she is completely in a zone. What kind of fit or fuss or meltdown is she having now?

“JENNA!!” I shout

She jerks out of her daze and looks up at me with huge petrified eyes. I hate that “doe” look she gives me sometimes. LIke I am some kind of monster or something. I know I have a short fuse sometimes but that kicked puppy look just adds fuel to the fire.

“Aaa I’m sorry what were you saying?” she stutters.

“For crying out loud Jenna, what is your problem now? You look like you saw a ghost or something. I was saying I had really hoped………., Where are you going?”
With a sharp gasp, almost a shriek Jenna flees down the hall and into the bathroom.
I follow her and bang on the door. But I get no answer. I can hear her retching and sobbing. What now?

4 thoughts on “Getting into my Antagonist’s Head

  1. I really enjoyed seeing you dig into your antagonist’s perspective. It is so easy to just write him off, since there is no rationale for abuse in relationships. But undoubtedly, he has a story. He has a perspective. And while there is no excuse for abusing someone, I’d have to bring myself to listen to him, to really consider his words, if for no other reason than to understand him. Thanks for persevering through the tech mishaps on the TW site to post this!

    • Thank you Greg. You are very committed to giving feedback and I know we all appreciate that. As I look at it this morning I know think it looks weak. I have to tell myself that it is just a glimpse pulled out of context. Which I suppose is also an important lesson to learn. So much of the back story and context is just in my head and I have to remember to find ways to communicate that to the reader.
      I have no idea what the tech issues were but even for computers, a new day can solve the problem. 🙂

  2. Hi! I wonder if when he is so angry, he would be self-aware enough to say something like “I know the stomping is kind of unnecessary but I can’t seem to help myself.” My experience with abusive people (which unfortunately, I’ve had a bunch of) is that in the moment, they are in a raging haze that is totally not selfaware. Then afterwards, it’s all about “I love you, I’m sorry, don’t leave me….” and there’s a honeymoon period again until the next incidence of abusive behavior.

    I loved the part about her frightened doe eyes piss him off. Because I think that’s part of the lack of self awareness – how his rage impacts her and leaves her permanently afraid of what she’s going to find every time she opens the door.

    • Thank you for the insights. I think because the assignment asked us to use the antagonist’s perspective I was trying to give him some humanity. But you are absolutely right. My abuser was not a boyfriend but a parent and they are the most un-self-aware person I know. All of this is great insight to have while writing the characters.

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