Question: I'm wondering if it's required to have a physical antagonist in a story. My character's main antagonist is herself, and I have more unnamed antagonists and obstacles but I think I'm floundering for lack of a more specific enemy; with a face and a name and a past.
Answer: Emphasis is given to the protagonist's character emotional development because the transformation a character undergoes is critical to writing a great story.
Yet it's important to remember that the protagonist is only as good as her antagonists.
A story does not require that you have a physical antagonist with a face and a name and a past. However, by creating an external antagonist(s), you afford yourself more opportunities to develop excitement in the exotic world of the middle (the antagonist's world).
Antagonists create subplots in the middle and help create the tension and conflict that leads up to the antagonist climax which serves as the protagonist's crisis.
As you pre-plot for NaNoWriMo, be sure to develop the antagonist(s) with the same attention to detail as you do your protagonist.
SPECIAL NOTE: Writer Unboxed offers a free Stop and comment to win a free copy of The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories giveaway (with all sorts of antagonist's exercises and plot planners) until Saturday.
Pre-Plot for NaNoWriMo Plot Tips:
The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing. Available for pre-order now. Ships 12/12.
More Plot Tips:
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Watch the Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. Scroll down on the left of this post for a directory of all the steps to the series. 27-step tutorial on Youtube
4) Watch the Monday Morning Plot Book Group Series on YouTube. Scroll down on the right of this post for a directory the book examples and plot elements discussed.
For additional tips and information about the Universal Story and plotting a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook
Plot Whisperer on Twitter