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12

A story without an "antagonistic theme" is a story with "no conflict." Conflict drives plot. Without plot, you have a character study. Without conflict, the character has no reason to change, grow, or develop, so there's not much to study. What in heaven's name (pun intended) could you write about without any conflict occurring?


9

Allow me to respectfully disagree with the other answers currently given. It's quite possible to do this, and I think it's a really interesting challenge. The first thing to remember is that bad guys don't think they're bad. In the usual plot structure, where the POV follows the good protagonists, it's hard to present this fact, but your story is in the POV ...


9

Yes, a book can work without an antagonist. For example, in "end of the world" disasters, the source of friction often comes from the disaster, and not an antagonist. (To use an example, while not a book but a film, think "Armageddon" as exhibit A.) Romance novels often don't have antagonists, either. The conflict could also come from inner conflict, such as ...


6

Let me reach for that resource and hope I don't sink in the process... For The Evulz - he's a destructive force, a person who "likes to watch the world burn". No deeper reasons, no hate, no revenge. Simple love for destruction. One I can't find the trope for, "Burn down a national park to steal a bag of french fries": the disaster and resulting chaos was ...


6

Certainly stories can be written without a "traditional" antagonist. An example that popped to mind was Daniel Abraham's The Curandero and the Swede: A Tale from the 1001 American Nights; this story meanders between fable-like stories, all basically dealing with how people cope with the troubles life sends their way. But really, I've seen lots of ...


5

She is warring with herself, battling feelings of guilt after the death of her grandfather and must work through this in order to move on. Fear, doubt, anger, blinding passion and just about any other emotion, especially if it is overpowering, can forge the foundation of an antagonistic force. I find I enjoy the sinister nature of this type of ...


5

Some possibilities: It was an accident. This would give him something to cope with. He works at the site, and his neglect or incompetence or other personal failing caused the problem or made it worse. He works at the site. He tried to get his superiors' attention about problems at the site. Though he did not cause the accident, he believes that he allowed ...


5

You don't need an antagonist. You need some way to force the MC to confront herself. The usual way to do that is to provide an antagonist who presents exactly the right problem to force that self-confrontation. But that's not the only way. A story is often three stories. The inner story is about how the main character is her own antagonist. The outer story ...


3

I think it's perfectly valid to have the main character as the antagonist. An example I read recently was If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern. The whole novel is about the main character overcoming herself and her past to move forward with her life. There is no other human (or non-human, I suppose) antagonist. The tension comes from whether the main ...


3

I personally think it should work, but I never seem to get a lot of support for this idea, so...? For me, it works because I think of the protagonist as the main character, and the antagonist as being whatever gets in the protagonist's way. I really don't believe that the antagonist has to be a person. This is obvious in survival stories, where the ...


3

Started a nuclear disaster, potential for otherworldly elements — I'd say he's a fanatic trying to bring about the end of the world so that aliens will swoop down and rescue him. No seriously. The guy doesn't have to be sane. The chain of logic can make perfect sense in his own head (sort of a cross of Heaven's Gate, Rapture-awaiting evangelicals, and ...


2

All fiction must have conflict, but that conflict certainly doesn't have to spring from the existence of a personified antagonist. There's man-against-nature (e.g., any survival story), man-against-himself (any kind of addiction-recovery story), and even conflicting protagonists (i.e., two characters have incompatible goals and struggle to defeat each other ...


2

Why no conflict in heaven? There are a number of accounts of war in Heaven in both Jewish and Christian literature. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven." -- Rev. 12:7-8 But the conflict need not be so ...


2

The way that bad people with good motivations are often shown is by explaining their wrestling with their evil actions. So if you can show that this person has to struggle with the prospect of destroying a nation, and is reluctant to do it despite the good it will bring, you might be part way there. If his motivations are good, then he will look for other ...


2

1) Does the story have to be from the POV of the necromancer? Or at the least, does the end have to be? You can show all the necromancer's challenges from the POV of the people of the nation, and its leaders, as they try to defend themselves, and in the epilogue or the denouement, someone (could be a survivor, could be a third party) points out that the ...


2

Problem #1: There is no such thing as good and evil. These are subjective values that we ascribe to people and actions. As such they are not effective descriptors for a person, real or imagined. That being said, your necromancer doesn't seem to be a garden-variety bad guy; it seems to me that anyone who would eliminate an entire nation would have to be a ...


2

The problem is your question is too vague. Kill a nation might be evil. Kill a nation to save a planet? Well, that we can get on board with. Even if we don't like the guy's actions, we can still have sympathy for him. Sons of Anarchy, The Sopranos, The Godfather -- all prove this. Violence in defense of family, for instance. You avoid making him a "pure ...


1

One of Brandon Sanderson's works explores this idea. I will mark the rest of the answer with a spoiler tag because the relevance to this question is not immediately apparent, and just knowing that it was would be a spoiler. The title so you can decide if you want to read further: The relevance:


1

An antagonist doesn't have to be a physical or internal entity, so i'd argue no. Any good story has a force of any description that opposes the hero, that in the long run they have to overcome. For instance, the "antagonist" in a psychological thriller might be the main character's mental illness and how it might inhibit them along the course of their ...


1

I absolutely think it's possible for a novel to be written without an antagonist. So long as it's entertaining, enlightening, and the characters grow and change, then there doesn't need to be a "bad guy"... but I agree about conflict. Your characters must face and deal with/overcome obstacles for the plot to be interesting to /most/ readers. Take ...


1

Westerners, esp. movie goers, are conditioned to expect certain elements in a story eg protagonist antagonist etc. A goal must be set and the goals impeded somehow by an antagonistic force, whether darth vader or the weather in " a perfect storm". If there is no antatgonist, the story can still "exist" or "be written", but it may not be appreciated. I ...



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