Change, the only constant in life, the only thing I can be sure will happen. This thought has brought me hope during those painful times in my life. This same thought has also brought me fear in those times where I was happy and the last thing I wanted was change.
I’ve come to realize it’s not the circumstances or the changes that dictate how my life will go, rather how I handle those changes and disruptions. A change of consciousness can ease those painful changes and an acceptance of life’s twists and turns and cruel blows can lead to some peace in the face of pain and fear.
As with a character in a novel, I can stay stuck, or I can change to meet the challenge and incorporate change into an entirely new reality. The biggest changes I’ve had in my life were the death of my husband and the recent death of a dear and trusted long-time friend and roommate.
On the outside that person is gone, there’s no one there to share my life with, or my joy, or anything else. On the inside I find a New Normal begin to take shape. One in which I become my own best friend, one in which I live without that other person and fill that gap with, what?
Actually, I don’t even try to fill the gap that person has left. I cannot recreate what was, or find a substitute. So what is there? Change. I look around and tell myself, this is my New Normal. This is an opportunity to rebuild, better, stronger, and more solid than before. It starts with very small things. Such as, cooking a meal for myself and going to the extra trouble to make it special, as I would have made it special for my loved ones. Getting into routines where I spend a certain amount of time each day doing something I enjoy doing, like reading, or watching a soap opera, or renting a DVD. Working, getting up early and facing the day, facing my life and living it until it’s time to go to bed. And then thanking God that the day is over and I am one day further into my new life, and perhaps one day closer to change that will bring me joy.
Change – the only constant in life.
I look back at how my priorities have changed during my lifetime. I see how my likes and dislikes have changed. I acknowledge how I have changed as a person. Nothing is stagnant. Everything has a season. And there was no way I could have predicted the way my life has gone and the things I’ve experienced. It has been a marvelous journey, and it is not over. There is more change coming, I can feel it. And during the depths of my pain I realize that someday my happiness will be just as deep, if not more so. Change, the very idea of it gives me hope today.
Nancy A. Niles is the author of: Vendetta: A Deadly Win, A Tina Munroe Mystery, published by Second Wind Publishing Company.
In my last article: Mental Health and Character Development I explored some activities that lead to a good positive, healthy attitude. And qualities my protagonist may have. In this article I want to talk about some of the methods to building the characterization of the antagonist. In both my novels, Vendetta and Lethal Echoes my antagonists have some serious mental illnesses.
My first antagonist (Vendetta) suffers a very cruel emotional blow which he is unable to come back from. He is unable to share his pain and ends up isolating and making an attempt on his own life. However, he is saved and still unable to face the devastating event he begins to create a new personality for himself. This new personality has a mission, a purpose and a reason to carry on and live and thrive. His desire to right the wrong becomes a twisted quest for revenge, which in his mind becomes a noble cause.
In other words, he reinvents himself in a way that gives him the illusion of having some control over his misfortunes. And gives him a way to not only extract revenge, but obsess on a goal so completely that he’s able to live with the pain and right the wrongs he believes were visited upon him and others.
In Lethal Echoes the antagonist is the leader of a cult. He too, suffers from many delusions and has created a real world for himself where he is the god and all powerful ruler. And he has a mission as well.
This antagonist struggles with the duties he knows he must perform to keep his followers in line. He feels great sadness when he has to perform a ‘blood atonement’ (death) on people he’s known all his life and has come to love. But he answers to a higher power and knows he is being tested and must fulfill his duties.
I explore his relationship with his wives and his conviction that they are misguided and need his strong supervision to be better and more evolved than who they are. In his mind, his love for them excuses the abuse he visits upon them and he convinces himself of his own compassion, strength and greatness.
The will to survive, the need for a quest, delusional thinking, disconnection from other humans and human-like aspirations, the belief that they are carrying out a divine calling. All these make for a good antagonist and his reasons for doing the things he does connect back to the above activities.
I love a multi dimensional antagonist and one in which his actions, no matter how outrageous have a basis in logic. How do you go about creating your antagonists? Who are some of your favorite antagonists and why?