Sunday, September 14, 2008

creative writing idea by nicole krauss: no antagonist

Reading "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss.
Though she does not formulate any explicit creative writing ideas, tips or prompts. That's me doing it after reading her novel.
First. No antagonist / evil character / bad guy.
You may disagree now: there is Rosa (Litvinoff's wife) performing some bad action (destroying the book). But you should agree: this is not the important point. This action is too side-issue.
However, this is similar to the real life. Can you tell me now that you are conducting any war against some kind of villains? I think, the answer is NO.
But does it mean there are no dramas in your life?
Because of the absence of bad guys, the main character's situation makes the reader feel involvement / empathy / rapport with the protagonist.


  1. Jacob,
    So if 'no antagonist' is a writing idea, then my question is: most novels comprise antagonist, is it bad/wrong?

  2. Nicole, sure 'no-antagonist' is only one of the many possible principles.

  3. First off, I don't think Rosa destroying the book is a side-issue. It is one of the most momentous events of the book; the manuscript is the last remnant of Leo's childhood, and as it is destroyed his imaginings come to an end. He admits Bruno's death, and he dies.

    Secondly, though I agree that at first it seems as though there's no antagonist, it could be argued that this is taking things too literally. Some might say that death itself is the antagonist of the play, others 'the self', as every character seems to be in a constant battle with themselves, against death.

    Or maybe love is the antagonist. We watch it destroy lives even as it enriches them. Leo can't let go of his love and becomes lonely, living in an imagined world. Alma's mother is always sad because of love, neglecting her childrens' needs. Alma is afraid of falling in love, but does. Bird feels as though he never had his father's love, and so convinces himself he's the messiah and has G-d's.

    Just some theories of my own.

  4. Emily,
    so you are talking about several antagonists:
    the self

    OK, I can accept it.
    Leo and Alma's mother are similar: falling in love once for all their life.