Structure Part 3—Introducing the Opposition

Weird Werewolf by Lynn Kelly via WANA Commons

Welcome to Part III of my Structure Series. If you want to self-publish or indie publish, I would assume most of you want to be successfully published, regardless the format or distributor. To be considered “successfully published” we have to sell a lot of books. To sell a lot of books, we must connect with readers. That is what this series is about. Structure is how readers connect to stories. The stronger the structure, the better the story. I highly recommend that you read Part I and Part II of this series, if you haven’t already in that each lesson builds upon the previous lesson.

Let’s get started.

Conflict is the core ingredient to fiction, even literary fiction. Yes, we can break rules, but we must understand them first. Conflict in any novel can have many faces and often you will hear this referred to as the antagonist. I am not going to use that term in the traditional way because I think it can be confusing. Every scene in your book should have an antagonist, but I am getting ahead of myself. Today we are going to start with the Big Boss Troublemaker. No BBT and you have no story. Your opposition is the most important ingredient for a great story readers will love.

The Big Boss Troublemaker is whoever or whatever causes the hero’s world to turn upside down. The BBT creates the story problem that must be resolved by the end of your tale. The BBT is also who or what must be present at the Big Boss Battle. In Star Wars, the BBT was the Emperor. It is his agenda that causes the inciting incident and it is he who must be faced in the final battle or the movie ain’t over.

In the beginning of The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick is running from bounty hunters. Due to the nature of the story, it begins right in the action. Who is the antagonist? In that scene it is the bounty hunter.

Riddick’s goal—remain free

Bounty Hunter’s goal—capture wanted criminal Riddick

Their goals are in conflict (This technique, called the Conflict Lock–is taught by NYTBSA Bob Mayer). The bounty hunter is the antagonist in the scene, but he isn’t the Big Boss Troublemaker.

Lord Marshal actually was the party responsible for bounty on Riddick’s head (via the Elementals). The Lord Marshal was also responsible for the extinction of Riddick’s home world in an effort to kill the Furyan male who was prophesied to bring his end. Who is fighting in the Big Boss Battle?

Riddick and the BBT, Lord Marshal.

The stronger your BBT, the better. In the beginning, your protagonist should be weak. If pitted against the BBT, your protag would be toast…or actually more like jelly that you smear across the toast.

The Big Boss Troublemaker doesn’t have to be a person. It can be a storm, like in The Perfect Storm or disease, like in Steel Magnolias.

Remember high school literature?

Man against man.

Man against nature.

Man against himself.

The first one is pretty simple, but the next two? This is where things get tricky when the BBT is not corporeal. Humans don’t do so great with existentialism. Thus, your story likely will lend itself more to a character battle (which will require a proxy). What is it about your protagonist that will change when pitted against nature or the worst parts of himself?

In The Perfect Storm, was the storm really the BBT? Or was it merely a catalyst that brought forth the real BBT…pride, manifested in the ship’s captain who acts as the proxy. In the end, the men lose. They believe that their skill will be able to triumph over the storm, and they are wrong, which is probably why I really didn’t care for the book or the movie, but that is just me.

In Steel Magnolias the BBT is disease/death, manifested in the proxy of the daughter Shelby. Shelby’s decision to get pregnant despite having diabetes (Inciting Incident) is what changes the mother M’Lynn forever. What must change about M’Lynn? She is a control freak who must learn to embrace life for all its ugliness. She cannot beat death, or can she?

We see M’Lynn in the beginning of the movie fluttering over her daughter’s wedding, controlling everything and tending to the flowers and the broken glasses (symbol). When Shelby dies, M’Lynn is once again trying to control everything, tending the flowers and the broken things—her husband and sons. She falls apart after the funeral.

M’Lynn has let go of control and the arc is complete. In the Big Boss Battle, the BBT is defeated. How? Shelby is dead. The BBT is defeated in that there is resurrection. Diabetes and death have been defeated. Shelby lives on in the son she left behind, a grandson that M’Lynn would never have had if she’d gotten her way in the beginning and been permitted to control Shelby’s life. (Note that this entire movie is bookended by Easter).

In the movie Footloose the BBT is religious fundamentalism, which is represented by the town preacher and father of the protag’s love interest. Kevin Bacon wants to dance, BBT wants no dancing. The town preacher is responsible for the story problem. How can a dancing city boy hold a dance in a town ruled by religious fundamentalism?

Your BBT is the entire reason for your story. No Emperor and there is no Star Wars. No Lord Marshal and Riddick would be off doing what Riddick likes to do when he isn’t killing things. If everyone agreed the storm was too big to mess with, then there would have been no Perfect Storm. If Shelby didn’t have diabetes, then there would be no challenge and, thus no story. In Footloose, if the town had been Catholic there wouldn’t be an issue.

So, once you have your Big Boss Troublemaker, you will have emissaries of the BBT. Depending on the type of story, usually the BBT will have a chain of command. Some will be actual characters. The Emperor had Darth and Darth had Storm Troopers that he could send out to cause massive inconvenience to others. They all trace back to the original BBT, though. The BBT is the core of the story and must be defeated by the end of the story. Everything leads to destroying the BBT.

So we have Big Boss Troublemaker.

We have the BBT’s emissaries.

Ah, but EVERY scene has an antagonist. What is the antagonist? The antagonist is whoever is standing in the way of your protagonist achieving her goal. Allies, more often than not, will serve as scene antagonists generating the necessary conflict required to drive the story forward.

In Romancing the Stone who is the Big Boss Troublemaker? The BBT is the crooked inspector. Who are the emissaries of the inspector? The two thieving brothers who have kidnapped romance author Joan Wilder’s sister (the crooked inspector is using them as unwitting pawns to get the map and get the jewel). What is the goal? The jewel. What is the final battle? When the inspector and one of the thieves are fed to the alligators in an act of poetic justice, and the younger brother is taken to jail.

Who is the antagonist? That changes, but Jack (the love interest) often serves the antagonist’s role. Joan wants to just give the map to the thieves in exchange for her sister. Jack wants to use the map to find the jewel.

Some Pretty Hard and Fast BBT Rules—Break these Rules at Your Own Risk

Rule #1–BBT (or a proxy of the BBT)  MUST be introduced in Act I. No leading us on for 50 pages before we get an introduction. BBT is responsible for Inciting Incident.

Rule #2–The love interest CANNOT be the BBT. He or she can wear the antagonist’s hat, but he or she CANNOT be the BBT. Why? Because the BBT must be defeated in the Big Boss Battle, and utter defeat isn’t exactly grounds for a lasting relationship. Also, in romance, even though guy and girl might not get along in the beginning, they do come together as a team for the final showdown against the BBT.

Pizza has rules and so does romance. I am sure there are exceptions, but it defies the code of great love stories and often leads to a very unsatisfactory ending.  Audiences have tastes that we are wise to appreciate. If we want to write romance, then there is a fairly strict code that guy and gal end up together in the end. It’s the whole point of reading romance, so we can believe love conquers all. If our romance mimics life too much, then there is no escape and that defeats the entire purpose of reading romance.

Yes there are exceptions. I am here to help you guys grasp the overall rules. Once we understand the rules, then we can break them.

Rule #3–BBT MUST be defeated in your book. Period.

There has to be a Big Boss Battle in your story or the story problem is not fully resolved. A lot of new writers are “writing a series.” And, oh, but Such-and-Such dies in book 12 of my series. No. Sorry. Try again.

In a series, the protagonist in every book MUST DEFEAT the BBT responsible for the story problem. We must treat that book as a stand-alone. If we were hit by an ice cream truck and never wrote another, the problem of our last book would be resolved.

We will talk more about this on another blog, because series are a whole other ballgame. I will give you a nugget to hold you over, though. Think back to what we talked about earlier. BBTs have emissaries sent to do their evil deeds. Treat each emissary as your BBT in each book (only you don’t have to tell the reader unless you want to). Each BBT is a necessary step to complete in the overall defeat of the series’ MAIN BBT.

(Book I) BBT–> (Book II) BIGGER BBT–> (Book III) HOLY MOLY! AN EVEN BIGGER BBT!!!!

Lord of the Rings

Defeat Uruk-Hai–> Defeat Saurauman–> Defeat Sauron

Okay, well that’s enough for today. Need to stop before your brains all explode and then you have to clean up your keyboard. Structure is tough, and hopefully this series is breaking it down in to bite-size, manageable pieces.

I want to hear your comments. Who are your favorite BBTs of all time? Do you still have questions or other topics you would like me to explore? Do you have any books or techniques you would like to share?

Exercise I–Watch your favorite movies. Who was the BBT? Who were the emissaries? How was the BBT’s agenda introduced?

Exercise II–Recall your favorite books. Again. Who was the BBT? Who were the emissaries of the BBT? How was the BBT’s agenda introduced?

Exercise III–For the literary folk. Who was the protagonist? What internal flaw was the protag forced to confront? How was it manifested (BBT)? Was the character flaw defeated? How was the BBT defeated?

In Steel Magnolias the character flaw (need to control) is defeated when Shelby dies. M’Lynn lets go of control. Diabetes/Death (the BBT), however, is defeated with life. Shelby will live on through her son.

Yeah, it’s a brain-bender but great exercise for our story-telling muscles.

I do want to hear from you guys! What are your thoughts? Questions? Concerns? I LOVE hearing from you.

To prove it and show my love, for the month of October, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of October I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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  1. #1 by Sabrina Sumsion on October 1, 2012 - 9:34 am

    I’m so glad I found your blog! This is great information!

  2. #2 by Miriam Joy on October 1, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Awesome post! I’ll be trying to keep this in mind when planning this year’s NaNo novel (which has just changed … like, I’m now writing in a different genre to what I’d intended to write in. Hmm).

  3. #3 by howmyspiritsings on October 1, 2012 - 10:14 am

    Kristen, you did it again!

    Until reading this article, I would not have identified the antagonist of the novel that I am getting ready to publish! I could have told you who the antagonist was for each scene, but not the antagonist of the whole book. I thought it was the love interest, but it wasn’t. Now looking at what I’ve written, not even the protagonist was who I thought it was. In my novel Soldiers don’t Cry, I thought Phillip was the antagonist and Elizabeth was the protagonist, but that isn’t the case at all. Phillip is no doubt the protagonist and the antagonist is the 300 pound gorilla in the room every time that Phillip and Elizabeth were together, and she pointed it out, he would retreat. When Phillip finally is able to let go of this 300 pound gorilla, he can finally give his undying love to Elizabeth.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4 by Michelle Roberts on October 1, 2012 - 11:05 am

    Awesome post. Definitely another one to save. :) I have to say, though, that I just got done reading the original novelization of Star Wars: A New Hope and I was looking for some of the things you’ve pointed out before. Hopefully I can apply what I’ve learned to my WIP.

  5. #5 by Stephanie Scott on October 1, 2012 - 11:06 am

    Thanks for another great post Kristen! I’ve been mulling around and plotting ideas for a new YA series, which I’m planning as a trilogy. This lesson on structure has definitely given me clarity into my BBT(s) and how they should be structured. Fabulous!

  6. #6 by introvertedknitter on October 1, 2012 - 11:32 am

    Thanks for taking time to do this series it has been really helpful in not only understanding structure better, but also in terms of practical applications. As a newer writer I appreciate your ability to make things approachable. Thanks again.

  7. #7 by Jason Heath on October 1, 2012 - 11:54 am

    I really like how you can break down these concepts. My BBT’s have been falling into the cardboard cutout category, and it makes me mental. Growing up reading the pulps, my bad guys tend to do too much mustache twirling. I really appreciate your articles, so please, keep them coming!

  8. #8 by Kristie Jennings Kiessling on October 1, 2012 - 12:01 pm

    Always to the point, Kristen! Nicely done.

  9. #9 by DebTrotter on October 1, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    Wow, Kristine … you have me daydreaming over my most beloved BBT’s (the more complex and/or evil, the better). Books: Pat Conroy’s Bull Meecham–of The Great Santini–is still one of my favorite BBT’s, followed by Javert in Les Miserables and Count Fosko in Wilke Collins’ brilliant novel, The Woman In White (which, by the way, is a great study for POV). As for movies, you can’t get much better than Nurse Ratchett in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Cruella de Ville in One Hundred And One Dalmations, and best of all–Hannibal Lechter of Silence of The Lambs. (When I discuss BBT’s with friends, they always point out I should add Ahab and/or Moby Dick to my list, but let me just say, SAVE ME FROM THAT BOOK. I hated reading it when I had to, and I still hated it when I tried to read it again years later. Ha.)
    I do love how you so cleverly point out that each scene must have a protagonist. I had never considered that concept at all, but I see that you are exactly right.
    I am still having a problem identifying the antagonist of a memoir I hope to write. I have some big work ahead of me.

  10. #10 by Cathy Kalb on October 1, 2012 - 12:56 pm

    Thanks! I love the idea of BBT and the emissaries. For me they have added a visual component, to antagonist, climax and resolution.

  11. #11 by lythya on October 1, 2012 - 2:01 pm

    Right now I’m reading a swedish book called “hunger”, about a man walking around starving in a city. A main part of this book is the SUCCESES he goes through. I can recognize scenes and sequels, but now and then he actually succeeds in getting some food, (he’s a journalist, so once he writes a great article and gets food, and another time he accidentally gets extra change back).

    How will you categorize succes within the structure? Sometimes I think succes is very important, to open up a free space from the suspense. We have comic relief, sometimes we need drama relief, too.

  12. #12 by Theresa Hupp on October 1, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    Kristen, this is a great series. I just read parts 1-3 — all excellent information.
    I’ve referenced your series in the comments on my blog post on Plotting a Novel for NaNoWriMo at http://mthupp.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/plotting-a-novel-for-nanowrimo/
    Thanks.
    Theresa Hupp

  13. #13 by Jon Rieley-Goddard (@baldyblogger) on October 1, 2012 - 3:47 pm

    Man against man.

    Man against nature.

    Man against himself.

    AKA

    Person against person.

    Person against nature.

    Person against self.

    This formula is new-to-me. I like it. Short. Focused. Helpful

    Tnx for continuing this series.

  14. #14 by Amelia Loken on October 1, 2012 - 4:51 pm

    Thanks for the great post. I tried to use my favorite movie of all time, “The Princess Bride” to see if I’ve got my brain wrapped around this right.

    In the beginning, it seems like Vizzini and his gang are the bad guys. Then the “rescuer”, Prince Humperdink reveals to his henchman, Count Rugen that he had hired Vizzini. So Vizzini is only an agent of BBT.

    Meanwhile, we begin to like the “bad guys”, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik and have sympathy for Inigo’s life long search. It is later revealed that Count Rugen, is Inigo’s “bete noir”, the Six-Fingered Man.

    The hero and heroine go on being the wonderful main characters. But in the end when we have a showdown, Inigo kills Count Rugen, an agent of the BBT and giving us the satisfaction of “killing the badguy”, and opening up the opportunity to defeat the real BBT, Prince Humperdink, who had set all this in motion.

    Love and Friendship conquer all and the BBT is left powerless.

    • #15 by Jenny Hansen on October 5, 2012 - 2:51 am

      I just watched The Princess Bride last night – best movie EVER!!

  15. #16 by MamaWolf on October 1, 2012 - 5:39 pm

    Good stuff here. Guilty as charged of the problem with a series, and I may have to abandon the idea all together and keep the novel whole instead, but it could turn out to be laboriously long. LOL But then maybe that just means I need to tighten things up so it’s more concise. Here is a question, though–can there be two BBTs that must be dealt with sequentially?

    My protagonist is both struggling with a personal conflict and bearing responsibility for helping defeat what the other characters would consider the BBT–and until that battle is over and successful, she begin to actually address her personal BBT beyond tormenting herself over it.

    Does this create too much for the reader to juggle? Or does it come down to how well I do or don’t manage them? To avoid a ‘purple tornado’, her personal battle will have to be far more intense than the physical Big Boss Battle with the other characters, right?

  16. #17 by lynnkelleyauthor on October 1, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    I love the way you’ve broken this down for us. Romancing the Stone – one of my all time faves! You’re right about us only being able to absorb so much at once, though. My brain did explode all over the keyboard, so now I’ve got a big mess to clean up, but it was worth reading this post!

  17. #18 by Jonnia Smith on October 1, 2012 - 8:09 pm

    Very helpful post, especially regarding proxy of BBT.
    Thank you!!!

  18. #19 by Melanie Marttila on October 1, 2012 - 8:16 pm

    Kristen,
    Your post has solidified something for me: I was right! The sitch: critique group wouldn’t trust me when I said a particular character was the antagonist. See, there’s this mad god who’s in prison, and he’s recruited a sourceror (they manipulate source, hence sourceror) to break him out. Everyone was focusing on one of them as the BBT, but really, the BBT of this particular novel is the commander in the sourceror’s army. He’s the one that ruins my protagonist’s life and he’s the one who gets a sound whuppin’ in the end :) I tried to tell them …
    Mad god is the BBT of book 2 (the bigger, badder, BBT) and sourceror is the means to get at him.
    Joy. Validation.
    Thanks for straightening me out!
    Good words at ya!
    Mel

  19. #20 by Serena Dracis, Author on October 1, 2012 - 9:59 pm

    Really superb series. Have bookmarked them so I can keep coming back for reference. Thank you Kristen!

  20. #21 by Elle Carter Neal on October 2, 2012 - 12:06 am

    Aha! Thank you. This is the problem I’ve been having with my WIP: no BBT! Your point about the BBT being the cause of the inciting incident has, I think, solved my dilemma. I just need to think things through a bit more, but I think I can turn a character I thought was on my protagonist’s side all along into a big, bad, BBT.

  21. #22 by Samuel Solomon on October 2, 2012 - 10:59 am

    This BBT piece helped me last year, and helps me yet again. I also liked the point you made a while back as to how the BBT must be understandable, so we can understand why he is a BBT to our protag. Good stuff.

    BTW did somebody win the 20 page edit?

    I’m looking to win that thing soon.

  22. #23 by The Hook on October 2, 2012 - 1:37 pm

    My favorite BBT? The Crimson King of the Dark Tower series.
    Where would we be without conflict in literature? I guess we’d be stuck with “See Spot run…”

  23. #24 by Camille Eide on October 2, 2012 - 7:22 pm

    I have been trying to apply this and analyze some more ‘low key’ troublemaker stories, like Pride and Prejudice. What or who would you say is the BBT there? Mrs. Bennet? Regency societal rules for marriage? Pride? Prejudice? What does LIzzy defeat in the end?

    One of my favorite stories is a WWII era Hallmark film called The Magic of Ordinary Days (not your typical Hallmark film!). I think a Imprisonment (both actual, in the form of internment camp and from personal shame) is the BBT, but I could be wrong. I believe Livvy defeats her prison of shame. Cool story.

    I ask because I write romantic relational drama/women’s fiction, so I don’t often have a tangible BBT in the form of a person. In the story I’m working on for NaNo, I’m having a hard time deciding if the heroine’s life-long fear of being rejected/unwanted is enough of a BBT. She can eventually grow in her journey to the point where she overcomes her feelings of emptiness and low worth and decides lasting love is a choice rather than duty or feelings, and takes a risk by making the choice to love. Her decision helps repair broken family relationships, etc, too.

    When you say the BBT causes the hero’s world to turn upside down, I see this occurring as an inciting incident in the form of learning some shocking news about her parentage early in the story.Then the need to solve the mystery of why and what really happened. But… this just doesn’t have that cool, killer finality of a Sauron or Star Wars’ Emperor. I wish I could find a way to make the BBT a more imposing antagonist. Hmm. I’m glad I found this post, or I might have spent a month writing 50k words before I realized I have no real story. :) Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thanks so much, Kristen!
    -Camille

    • #25 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 2, 2012 - 8:12 pm

      There will be a proxy. Careful looking to the classics. Different time and different readers. There will be a character who represents the belief system that must be confronted/battled/triumphed over as in the example of Footloose. For a literary example, you might read “Winter’s Bone.” Milton represents the patriarchal society that must be penetrated for Ree Dolly to save her mother and siblings. Great book, but you can rent the movie.

  24. #26 by Rosa Ferguson on October 3, 2012 - 10:04 am

    Ms. Lamb, I recently found a story I had written years ago. It was in a box in the back of a closet. Proudly I had 225 pages written. I had myself a novel! Until I started reading your blogs that is… I reread my “novel…took out some of the demons, looked at the structure and ended up with only a few usable pages. But thanks to you I now have directions as to where the story is heading. I see an act I, and act II and an act III. I won’t say my novel will be earth shattering when I finish but it will be well thought out and structured. Thanks bunches. Rosa Ferguson, Olive Branch, MS

  25. #27 by CrystalSpins on October 4, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    This structure advice is GREAT leading up to NaNoWriMo. And I really appreciate you starting it early enough that it has me thinking about overall structure in time to get things together so that during November I can just write.

    But I’m wondering if I can get your advice on a couple of other things. When you sit down to write (even if you have all of these structure questions answered) how do you (personally) decide on a daily basis where to start?

    Do you have an outline put together and just start were you left off in the outline? Do you work one scene at a time? Do you think in terms of dialogue you want the characters to say and then fill the places and time in around that? How you you construct all of this? Or how would you suggest someone who’s never written something so long -form to really attack it?

    I think I may try to create an outline and then use index cards (kind of the way the author of Save the Cat suggests for a movie). Get the scene idea, the setting and the purpose of the scene on the card, then grab the card — or a few cards — each day and write that.

    I dunno, I have so much experience writing short pieces (I’m a journalist and I’ve written a lot of literary non-fiction essays) that the idea of tackling this big task of a novel is hard to wrap my brain around. So I think breaking it down into little pieces is a better idea, but I can’t just string the scenes together like a bunch of short stories or articles. (At least that hasn’t worked yet.)

    I always love and connect deeply with all of your writing advice. So I’m really interested in what techniques you could suggest to help bite off the novel one piece at a time. Some of us need to find a way to spend 30 min-and hour at a time writing because our lives don’t allow us to spend hours at a time writing like we wish it would. Maybe a few blog posts about eating the book one bite at a time would be helpful. (Maybe you’ve already written some of this over the years in your blog and could just round it up for us.)

    And of course, thank you for all the advice you’ve given over the years.

    • #28 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 8, 2012 - 1:45 pm

      I plot out all my main narrative points first then refine that. I have a very broad, general outline that just keeps me pointed in the correct direction. Then I fast-draft and write linearly. If I get stuck, I can skip ahead because I have already done my major plot points so I already know where I am going. There is a lot less retro-fitting this way. Also, your subconscious will work on how to fill the gaps as you plunge forward. Everyone is different, though. We just need to learn the rules and understand them really well then try different methods and see what works.

  26. #29 by Victoria Treder on October 6, 2012 - 8:37 am

    Thank you for the clear explanation–you really broke the structure concept into concrete, explicit parts. Generations of readers will thank you.

  27. #30 by kishante on October 6, 2012 - 11:27 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this series! I have always struggled with structure and understanding conflict and the difference between antagonist and BBT. You have explained so well. I think i finally grasp the concept. Once again thank you so much!

  28. #31 by Daphne Shadows on October 9, 2012 - 12:50 pm

    I love the way you break everything down. Makes so much more sense!

  29. #32 by Kozo Hattori on October 14, 2012 - 7:40 pm

    Thank you, Kristen, for this clear and concise posting on BBT. I have a question. The novel I’m planning on writing for NaNoWriMo has a protagonist who must confront his ego. The BBTs of this character flaw are jail, divorce, financial ruin, and low self-esteem. Does this seem too obvious? Can you think of any classic/great novels that are structured similarly?

  30. #33 by Iren Engeset on October 17, 2012 - 11:31 am

    I’m so glad I found your blog!! Finally some constructive and informative writing on writing!! Thank you ever so much :-)

  31. #34 by Kate on October 22, 2012 - 6:04 pm

    I love my BBTs to be the biggest and baddest. Like you said, in the beginning, I want to dread the BBT because I can’t imagine how the hero could ever win. Seeing everything the hero does and learns in order to defeat the BBT and feeling the impossibility become a teensy glimmer of hope is one of my favorite parts in any story.

  32. #35 by E.b. Black on November 1, 2012 - 2:04 pm

    I get all of this and can do all of this, but still this post made me nervous because the first book series I will be publishing doesn’t follow one of these rules. And that is the whole “happily ever after” for the couple in my first romance novel series. (The other ones will have HEAs, just not this series.) The BBTs are defeated in my novels, but their defeat results in character growth and not HEAs for the couples. It seems next to impossible for me to have HEAs, too, because I’m re-writing greek myths (almost all of which are tragedies) without changing any parts of the stories. Instead, I’m arranging the stories from new perspectives of the events to make the stories look new, but still all the events happen the same, including all their tragic endings. I hope my books can be an exception.

  33. #36 by CrystalSpins on November 5, 2012 - 11:38 pm

    Okay, it’s day five of NaNoWriMo, and I have been able to write for three of the days. And a large problem is emerging. My protag is currently more likable than the antag. I’m actually thinking about continuing the first part of the book from the antag perspective and then ending it from the protag’s perspective.

  34. #37 by shellchild on May 5, 2013 - 5:03 pm

    Great Post Kristen, keep it coming. For me writing a middle grade sci-fi, locking down the BBT is easy, the hard part is making them strong and not too cliched. Avoiding cliche the hardest part about following the ‘rules’ of any art-form. I learned a lot from my time playing jazz guitar, that in order to break the rules and not look like an amateur, you first have to be very confident with those rules and how to break them – with style.

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