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Thread: The Ever Present Rival Problem

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Climbing in yo windows

    Default The Ever Present Rival Problem

    Ah, here we go. This comes up in most adventure fics and nearly all stories in general. The Rival/Antagonist. These guys are always better bad. But how do you indulge in that character? Its quite simple. Be the you that you cant be in public and put that into said bad guy.

    Its my favorite part of the story. When these stupidly stupid characters come on the scene. They relate to most people...actually...all of us during a bad day. Think about that little thing or statement or opininion that made you mad. That idiot lives it. Im not bashing good rivals like B/W2 (I just didnt like him...) but that bad guy makes the story enjoyable. Especially when we see a little piece in ourselves. I find it funny. Some find it sad. I just wanted to throw up the discussion.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    From the land down under...


    These guys are always better bad.
    Is it?

    For example, what if you wrote the character as a bad guy? Granted, this is not without its problems (say if you want the main character to be still someone the audience would like to read about it *may* be harder to achieve that), but it's not necessarily a bad concept to reverse the roles. And if you view the rival as merely a person who seeks to be better at battling than the protagonist but not be a 'bad guy', while still having their own motivations and characterisation and so forth, then that will be no worse than a rival that is bad. And arguably you see more of the bad rival than the good one, or the one inbetween, and so they could be considered more interesting to some readers.

    I'll also admit that I'm not too sure what the thread is about. Is it about what we feel like in writing a bad rival, or what we think about them in general...? Just want to clarify.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Digital World


    Judging from the title of the thread, I think the OP was trying to discuss Rivals in general.

    But, the OP made a wrong generalization that Rivals = Antagonist. Even though the rival can be antagonistic towards the protagonist, but it is not always that it is "antagonist" in literal meaning, he/she can still be a supporting character despite the antagonism. And besides, rivals is not always antagonistic towards protagonist. There exist rivals with are friends with the protagonist.

    A rival is a person competing against someone having the same objective as him/herself. So in another meaning, it is your competitor. Because rival is trying to achieve the same goal as you do, it often happens that rival exist adversarial relationship directly against you, holding a belief that "I must never lose to him/her". But this is not always true. There can be friendly rival that supports you to achieve the same goal, so the rivalry is more like friendship rather than hostile opposition. One thing specific about rivalry is that it will stimulate growth in skill to both the rival and the person against.

    Whereas for antagonist, it is a person that oppose against someone, where the reason of opposition is not necessarily because of the same goal as the protagonist, and the opposition is also not necessarily pointing directly towards the protagonist. A hostile rival like Green in Pokemon RGB/FrLg is both a rival and antagonist, but in the same game, Team Rocket is one antagonist but not rival. Then the child of Prof.Birch in RSE (either May or Brenden depending on your choice of protagonist), and Barry of DPPt, is your rival but not antagonist. So therefore, rival =/= antagonist.

    In my current Pokemon story, I had a rival that always holds hostility against the protagonist. But yet, he is the second main character that always travel along with the hero, because his situation in the story made him no choice but to travel with him. Hence, it happens a lot that he purposefully picks on the protagonist, quarrel with him with very harsh attitude for any small things he feels discomfort about. Even in my personal opinion, I labeled the rival as an inhospitable jerk that is unfriendly to almost everybody. He is very much like Kiriha in the Digimon Xros Wars series, but he is a little better than Kiriha, because at the very least he will not attack his own handheld Pokemon.

    For me as the author, writing such antagonistic rival and yet a main character to the story is quite tiresome, specifically during the thinking process, because it just makes me to have the same piss off feeling as like the protagonist. But still, when doing it right, I actually find it quite interesting. Especially when the protagonist is normally a happy-go-lucky guy, where his carefree attitude often oppositely piss the rival off.

    These two person, I would called them "a magnet pair", where they have opposite characteristics, but strangely like the opposite two poles of magnet, attracts to each other. What I meant by 'attract' in this context is not anything romantic, it is just that the two can still managed to get along despite they fight and quarrel with each other a lot.
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