Make Your Antagonists 3D, a writing tip by Sophia Kimble

This past weekend with my local RWA chapter, Music City Romance Writers, I had the distinct pleasure to learn many things on writing from Cherry Adair. She is a wonderful person, with so much logical information on writing, and she brings all her knowledge to you with great humor.

Many of the attendees had private plotting sessions with her, and one theme that seemed to be consistent with many was a weak antagonist. Not to say the antagonist was physically weak, but they were not 3D, not fully as realized as the hero and heroine.

When planning your characters, Cherry advises to make backstory for them all.

The more important the character, the more fully complete they need to be. The protagonist as well as the antagonist need a fully developed life before your story begins.

Why are they the way they are? What happened in their lives that makes them act the way they do?

Cherry recommends picking a random birthday for each of your characters, then looking up their birth sign in Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs book.

In the book each sign has a ton of traits, pick out many and list them in your character sketch. Then pick 3-5 core traits for each character and use these consistently in each scene. Have at least one trait for each character in every scene, 2-3 if you can manage it. Bring them out through dialogue, actions, and narrative.

If the traits listed in their sun sign don’t match how you want your character to act, make something happen in their backstory that changes that trait. For example... your character is a Leo and supposedly very outgoing, but you don’t want your character to act that way. So make your character with a history of child abuse who now cowers at loud noises and shies away from men.

Keep doing that and soon you’ve got a three dimensional character before you write the first word!

Cherry Adair has taken her 30+ years’ experience in writing 43 novels, and made an incredible tool for writers, The Writer’s Bible.

I’ve purchased it, and have begun plotting my 3rd novel, and I have to tell you, it’s magic. It makes everything so organized, and once you’ve finished, the writing can flow without a second thought to what happens next.


You can buy a downloadable version on Cherry's website:

I highly suggest getting this version as you can save it as a template and use it over and over for each book.


Cherry also recommends adding Donna Dixson's GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict to your writer's toolbox. 

Maggie Mundy wrote a post about it here.

I'm paraphrasing only a small portion of the great advise Cherry had to offer us, but I hope it makes a difference to you.

Good luck with your writing everyone!

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Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.


Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.


Kris Pietka is done with women...he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.


A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.


But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.


Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?