I gravitate to narratives featuring a strong antagonist, someone who could have been a brilliant hero if only they had made different choices.
Authors work hard to create a strong, credible hero. In genre fiction, the hero’s story evolves in a setting of our devising and is defined by their struggle against an antagonist.
Strong emotions characterize what and who we perceive as good or evil. Emotion is a constant force in our lives. When we write, the emotions we show must be credible, shown as real, or they will fail to move the reader.
Consider the forces of antagonism in the story. The antagonist can take many forms. In some stories, it will be a person or people who stand in the way. In other stories, an internal conflict and self-deceptions thwart the hero. When you think about it, we are usually our own worst enemy, constantly telling ourselves negative things that undermine our self-confidence.
When we create an antagonist, we take what is negative about a character and take it one step further: we hide it behind a lie.
First, we assign them a noun that says who the antagonist thinks they are. Good.
Then we assign them the noun that says who the protagonist believes they are. Evil.