Can You Submit with Confidence?

Now you can with the Complete Submission Checklist!
For a Limited Time…

Are You Losing Your Readers?

Keep Your Readers Avidly Engaged to the End and Wanting More!
For a Limited Time…

Revise Your Manuscript Like a Publishing House Insider!

For a Limited Time…

The REAL Hero of the Story

Buried in the Slushpile

Who is the real hero of your children’s book? The one that should triumph because their motivations are so just and pure. The one character that is usually so sure of themselves, nothing and no one can change their minds.

I’m of course talking about your villain.

Now, you and I both know that the villain of your work is not actually the hero. The villain is probably not going to learn and grow and solve the problem at the end of the day. Ten to one, the villain is the whole reason there is a problem in the first place.

But (and I’m sure you’ve heard this before), in the villain’s eyes, they ARE the hero of the piece. A tragic hero, yes, possibly even with a tragic flaw, but the hero striving from the purest of intentions.

And that motivation, that belief that they are in the right, THAT is what creates a compelling three-dimensional antagonist in a children’s book – one that is more than a maniacally laughing buffoon twirling his mustache while he revels in the chaos he’s wrought.

How do we do this? We give our antagonists the same thing we gave our main characters:


In fact, the conflict often occurs when the antagonist and the main character have diametrically opposite goals. Think Sauron and Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. One of them wants to possess and use the ring of power, the other wants to destroy it. Opposite goals that cause conflict.

So, when you start revising your children’s book, don’t forget to look at your antagonist’s goals and motivations when you are evaluating your main character’s.

·  Do they both have compelling goals and motivations?

·  Do they both have something at stake?

Because you can write the richest, most moving three-dimensional main character, but if you pit them against a two-dimensional caricature, the story will fall flat, something none of us wants to read.

Give those antagonists goals and motivations.

Make them the tragic hero of the story they tell themselves.

And watch your children’s book evolve from a simple story to a binge-worthy tale.

Related Posts

Book Haul — 2024

Book Haul — 2024

Last week I attended TLA. It was a wonderful time to see fellow authors, visit with librarians, and to basically network my heart out. But one of the other great joys of trade shows like TLA and ALA is the opportunity to catch up on what the industry is currently...

TLA Is Days Away

TLA Is Days Away

That’s right. In less than a week, librarians will emerge from their stacks and squint there way out of dusty libraries into the sunlight of San Antonio. And they will swarm together in a noisy, riotous, fun-loving bunch. If you think librarians are quiet, meek, and...