Last night I read through the online writing workshop Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer are doing on their blog - He Said, She Said. OMG. If you haven't dipped your toe over there yet go at once! It is amazing. I became really sucked into the protag/antag lesson and then followed the discussion over to Jenny's Cherryforums. It's absolutely NOT procrastination, I promise.
So I'm reading through and then I got one of those total BAM moments. Literally. It was just one little sentence but it really jiggled my brain. Jenny was talking about the antagonist, and this is the line I had to read three times... and then copy down. '... the antagonist is NOT the bad guy, he's a character who has his own goals and motivations.'
Bing! I know it's obvious to everyone else but in my head (which as the witches are well aware is a very scary place to be) the antagonist = villain. NO!! Oh wow. This is a personal revelation. I always have characters doing their best to screw things up for my heroine and hero, but I just hadn't realised that was my antag. Duh. It's amazing how one little sentence can clear the fog from the brain.