When to introduce series antagonist?

Forums Fiction Plotting When to introduce series antagonist?

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    I am plotting out a series of books and still am in the outlining process. An idea for this series I had is that I would have an Overarching Protagonist (OP) and an Overarching Antagonist (OA) who would be thematic foils for each other; while there would be other protagonist/antagonist duos throughout the series, the OP and OA would be at the center of it. Two things I was wanting to do were 1) have the OP’s character arc span the length of the series, with each book centered on him having a minor arc, and 2) the have the OP be the protagonist of the first book, which raises the question; who should be the Big Bad of the first book?

    Option A: Have the OA be the main antagonist of the first book. This allows for the relationship between the OA and the OP established from the start. And while I could spread out the character arc over the series, and thus the actual plot, that leaves the question; would it be possible to have the OP achieve something meaningful over the OA in the first book while still having the OA’s return later be realistic?

    Option B: Have another guy be the Big Bad of the first book. This easily allows for a meaningful victory over someone. However, I worry that the OA’s relationship with the OP might be hindered. How could I have the OA remain in the plot as some sort of overarching villain?

    What is your opinion on the best option to take?

    Some background on the premise: the idea that I cooked up was that the OP was a pastor-cop of seemingly no major importance, while the OA is a guy who prefers to manipulate powerful people via the shadows by essentially acting as Mephistopheles from Faust for them.

    Daeus Lamb

    @coggleton I worked through something similar in the trilogy I’m working on now. It’s a quest fantasy, so the problem was that the main protagonist and antagonist were physically separated for the whole first book and almost all of the second. What introduce the backstory of the antagonist which was part of a legend recorded in song in this world. I also gave him very limited telepathic abilities so he could contact my protagonist’s friend. Finally, I’ve given him one POV scene where he receives a vision with cryptic prophecies of the future. Directly, he is not involved in the plot of the first book, but indirectly he has sent a friend of his to stop my protagonist.

    Long rant. You don’t have to do it that way. Personally, I think it would be best if you had your main antagonist in right from the start. The coolest idea that’s coming to me at this moment is that maybe in the first book the protagonist thinks he beats the villain, but really the villain is still in control and his plans are much larger than the protagonist realizes.

    👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢



    Hey, Coggleton welcome! 😀

    To answer your question one thing you can do is maybe both?

    Personal I don’t have much to go from your plot but.

    What if OP was working on a case that at first, that seemed to have as much as “importance” as him/herself but down the line, it becomes bigger maybe slightly linked to OA. While OP is supposed to be looking for someone else OP can’t help but look into OA?

    This was on the spot so I have no idea if it will be any help for you but I wish the best of luck 🙂

    Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)

    I think that the OP should be aware of the OA, maybe even meet with the OA at some point in the first book. But the OA is just someone sending minions to do his dirty work until the last book, where the OP and OA have an epic showdown.

    Translation: Both.

    Hope this helps! – Blade.

    *Forum Signature here*


    I’m starting to agree that the OA should appear in the first book, and an idea I had was to have an underlying that would be someone the protagonist could have a more concrete victory over in order to give a sense of closure/accomplishment, while still leaving the OA around. What are you guys’ thoughts on how to split up the focus between the two?

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