I love: Antagonists.
Commonly known as villains, antagonists are experts at getting in the hero’s way. They’re much more interesting than protagonists. Through antagonists, a writer can live out his/her evil side. Planning and plotting Anty’s nefarious schemes is the best part.
What makes a great antagonist?
First, he has to have motivation. Just being evil isn’t enough. We all know at least one psychopath, and some of the things they do may seem random. There is always something behind it, however.
The best antagonists have a reason for what they do. It could be as broad as Dr. Doom’s thirst for world domination, or as simple as the penmanship medal dear little Rhoda so desperately wants.
And Anty must believe, with all his twisted, rotten heart, that his actions are necessary. This lends depth to the character. It gives him conviction. People are complicated and Anty should be no exception. If he doesn’t care, neither will the reader.
Second, the reasons have to make sense. Rhoda, a child, would hardly dream of controlling the world. Nor would an adult Joker be happy merely pushing a kid off a wharf to get a class prize he failed to achieve.
Well, he might. You never know with Joker.
Finally, Anty should be capable of carrying out his plans. Mason Verger in Thomas Harris’ Hannibal is completely paralyzed, but he still manages to orchestrate a plot to kidnap and kill Hannibal Lecter that takes place across two continents. How? He’s insanely rich and can hire people to do all the work for him. If he were flat broke in a state hospital in Sheboygan, I doubt he’d have the resources.
I wish you could read Rose’s Hostage. I would so like you to meet Dale Conroy. I know it’s time to move on to the next villain, but he’s so awful you just love to hate him.
I plan to try some small presses. Maybe I can get on with one of them. If not, maybe I’ll just make a damn e-book and sell it here already. I’m already having fun with my next antagonist. Who? Sorry, if I told you I’d have to kill you. Heh heh heh.
I hate: Adjectives.
I don’t actually hate them; what I hate is lazy writing that makes use of them rather than taking time to make better word choices. Especially when they come in strings. And I tend to do this in first drafts, although luckily I can take them out later. But this is harrrrrrrrrdd.
Joker’s skintight purple gloves touched her hot, feverish, rosy cheek, where the glistening moisture of salty, frightened tears still lingered.
How about this?
His glove touched her feverish cheek, which glistened with frightened tears.
We already know Joker wears purple gloves. Hot and rosy aren’t needed, because we know feverish cheeks are hot and rosy. Ditto with salty. Frightened may or may not stay, depending on the point of view and what happened right before.
His glove traced the path of frightened tears down one feverish cheek.
I like that one much better. You need a few adjectives to describe things, but don’t depend on them too much.