Narrative Writing

 

Opponent

Dig a ditch, and you find that even the earth resists you. But obstacles personified in an opponent—who not only resists but fights back—make for more exciting reading.

               — Dwight V. Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer

You have, I presume, already identified your "bad guy" (the person or creature who is your hero's opponent).

In this lesson, you'll write one sentence explaining how this person fits into your story.

Study the following examples.

Bernard Stanley is a shy baker. His wife died five years ago, and now he is terribly lonely. He wants to ask one of his regular customers out on a date. The woman's father wants her to marry a rich banker.


Sonja Simmons is an adventurous college student. While hiking in the wilderness, she discovers a mountain cave. She wants to explore the cave. Inside the cave she finds a magical troll who refuses to let her leave.


Mario Lynch is a grumpy detective. One day, a client hires him to investigate a gruesome murder. He wants to solve the case. The murderer will do anything to avoid going to jail.

Now it's your turn: Who is standing in the way of your main character's happiness?

Lesson Steps

  1. Open your writing portfolio.
    • Level 16
      • The Six Story Elements
  2. Complete row 4 of the table. Who is preventing your protagonist from reaching his goal?

Your table should now look something like this:

The Six Story Elements
Complete the six story elements
1 Character Bernard Stanley is a shy baker.
2 Situation His wife died five years ago, and now he is unbearably lonely.
3 Objective He wants to ask one of his regular customers out on a date. Her name is Felicia.
4 Opponent Felicia's father wants her to marry someone rich; he will never agree to a marriage between his daughter and a lowly baker.
5 Disaster  
6 Story Question  

 

  1. When you are finished, return to this page and take the quiz.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.

Quiz