If you flipped your story around and made your villain the protagonist...

…should your original protagonist become the antagonist of his story? If that doesn’t happen, is your villain a true villain? If not, what role is that person playing in the story, and should another villain be introduced to play the actual role of an antagonist?

I don’t know if these questions makes sense… so I’ll elaborate using my personal struggle with my current WIP, Glance and the Blue Prophecy.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been trying to work out a few kinks in my book that is preventing me from writing an ending that I like. In the process, I’ve realized that although my antagonist has a negative effect on my protagonists, if I flipped the story around, my protagonist wouldn’t have a negative effect on my antagonist.

Should an antagonist be negatively effected by the protagonist in some way? Is a protagonist-antagonist relationship supposed to be a harm-harm/competitive relationship? Or is it alright for it to be an amensalism (harm-no effect relationship)?

It’s really hard explaining the role my so-called antagonist has on this story. He negatively impacts the MC through the external conflict, but really helps her through the internal conflict, and she otherwise has little effect on him. Actually, I guess in the end she helps him complete his goals… So would that make him a protagonist? :thinking: Or am I just super overthinking everything here? :joy: :joy:

The antagonist in my first book is a mass murderer/spree killer/serial killer.

Switching them around would be an interesting story, but would rob the story of a lot of the core elements.

For one thing, I’d have to come right out and tell everyone who the killer was, since it could have been three people.

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That would be interesting. It’ll be about a police chief who’s striving to take down a serial killer.

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See my story has two villains. One is a psychopath, so the story would be interesting but he can never pass of as a good guy. While the other villain is actually a good guy. He is trying to save the world. So writing story from his POV will be amazing.

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Okay, I may have to be corrected here.

But to my understanding, generally, the protagonist can’t be an antagonist. If your antagonist is the protagonist then the antagonist is no longer the antagonist, but rather an anti-hero. And what was the protagonist is now the antagonist.
If the crime boss is the protagonist, then the law-abiding officer trying to take him down is the antagonist. The role of the antagonist is to prevent the protagonist from reaching their goal. It’s not always synonymous with being a villain. Just ‘the dude in the way’.
I think this is just an issue with semantics more than anything else.

I don’t think so. But if your villain is the main character, the hero has to provide some sort of obstacle for the villain to overcome. However, how it all ends is ultimately up to you, I think.

I think that’s the natural relationship between the two. If an antagonist is not antagonising than they’re not really an antagonist. But again, how you resolve their relationship in the end is up to you.

Again, if he is the protagonist, the antagonist’s role is to provide him with obstacles he has to overcome. If the antagonist provides no conflict or obstacles for the (anti)hero, than she’d be a piss-poor antagonist.

All this is just my opinion.

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“Memories of Ignacia Contreras”
Most definitively, this “protagonist” can be seen, as best, as an anti-villain, who happens to be the protagonist, he has somewhat good intentions, but he’s way too fanatic and believing himself to be the good guy to realize how much pain he has made the world suffer. The ex-protagonist would become a later antagonist as she is revealed to be a traitor, and then the book would be about this great conqueror of the world while looking for the evil traitor who is trying to bring him down

“The Nazi Huntress”
This would become a horror book with asshole victims all over, or should I say “evil victims”, all of them are nazis. But I can understand why they piss their pants, they are facing a girl who is able to take down entire divisions on her own without a wound, the nazis thought they won the war, they didn’t realize it’s just beggining, Kim Yeong-Min doesn’t have mercy, she will find you, and she will kill you

My protagonist would seem like a homeless person vandalizing a garden. The antagonist would seem like a man who’s being constantlly being annoyed, and just wants to keep his garden nice…

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I would want you to elaborate on that, because I’m imagining a little kid in a old man’s garden, and the old man yelling “GET OUT OF MY LAWN!”

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this probably wouldn’t work well with my story lol but i just wanted to say that it sounds like a super cool idea though!

Well in one of my WIPs, neither the protagonist or the antagonist is clear cut good or evil. Antagonist already views himself as the hero of his own story. The problem arises because he believes the end justifies the means, and the means in this case being killing, torturing, experimenting on, and manipulating those he sees as lesser and those who are non-human in order to save everyone else. So to write it from his point of view, it would be a man who lost everything going to extremes to stop others from losing more than they already lost instead of a non-human teenager trying to recuse the person he loves from a madman (unlike most teenage protagonists who save the world singlehandedly, he basically ends up screwing everyone else over in the end, though not on purpose).

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I actually wrote a story from the perspective of the antagonist entirely, only very occasionaly switching to the protagonist. He is, by all accounts, the villain. The antanogist is the major actor behind the absolute dystopian destruction that created the society the protagonist lives in and tried to salvage. She is the protagonist because it’s her actions that set the plot forth: she begins a cat-and-mouse game in order to utterly destroy his life. But the whole thing is told from the antagonist’s perspective. In this case, the protagonist’s actions impacted (very) negatively the antagonist, but that is through the course of the narrative. It’s in what comes before the actual plot, the events prior to it, that the antagonist’s actions impact the protagonist (whether that’s negatively or positively, well… I leave that to you).

What was SO interesting to me was that some readers took pity on the antagonist. Granted, she pulls a psychological thriller on this guy, but flipping the script actually had readers somewhat uneasy because they thought the protagonist was exaggerating. And I assume that is because readers didn’t entirely know the protagonist’s motivations until AFTER the first part of her plan is set in motion (which would be about two thirds down the whole thing, I believe?).

It was super interesting because this guy is the villain! He did something horrible! But he was pushed to such an extreme the protagonist became a villain herself. Really interesting reaction!

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If I flipped mine, my MC would seem so insignificant to my main baddie that she’d probably not even show up until the end aside from some mentions lol.

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it is sort of basic tbh. this is the sypnosis of the story:
The Flower-Catcher has for all of time been a protector and friend to the flowers, big and small. Happy as a sunflower on the outside, yet on the inside wilted and withered. When a gardener threatens the flowers of the Warden Woods, the Flower-Catcher must go to great lengths to save those he loves and restore peace among the gardens. Although the temptation to give into a necessary evil plagues his heart.

The flower-catcher is someone who kills the adult flowers so the kid flowers can live. The Gardener obviously wants the kid flowers to be killed, because they are taking too long to grow. The Flower-Catcher can speak to the flowers. The Gardener can’t. He’s the antagonist.

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Okay, so since my antagonist is the devil, and not the “feel bad for” type; it’s basically impossible to make him a protagonist.

But your question did make me think of the reverse version of my story that’s as, if not more original and interesting than my current story. Where instead of guys in Soviet Russia trying to defeat Satan and rescue a person from hell, it’s guys trying to summon satan and damn a person to hell while Satan is trying to prevent that from happening.

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Lol. Something similar happens in mine, in “The Nazi Huntress”, my MC at first would just be another terrorist, not worth mentioning to Fuhrer Leon, but after she destroys an entire division on her own on China, she probably would be mentioned more…

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That sounds very interesting

Thanks

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My featured antagonist is sort of the sub antagonist to a shadowy corporate self-serving racist. I think my story would become more of an espionage thriller than an action sci-fi. I’d probably have a bunch of flashbacks to inject some humanity into her. Fun to think about. :slight_smile:

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Everyone is the protagonist of their own story. Walter White of Breaking Bad is a great example of a villain(anti-villain? He’s confusing) being the protagonist of a more complicated saga. Many of his foils would not be great protagonists despite being better people.

However, I do believe it is necessary that what the protagonist wants somehow conflicts with the wants of the antagonist, even if they aren’t directly competing.

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Watch suicide squad, they went from bad ass villains to heroes.