Or, if not enemies, at least the opposing force to your protagonist.
I’m not going to say that every book needs an antagonist though I think in this case it’s a pretty sure bet that if you would like a focus for your narrative and something that forces your character to change and grow, then an antagonist is probably a good idea. As in, yeah, you need an antagonist.
An antagonist does not have to be A Big Bad Dark Lord, or a Fiery Eye with masses of orc troops. Antagonists don’t even have to be people-shaped. They can be external (the weather, a whale, society values, uh…bands of killer rats.), and internal. (Dark Passengers, guilt, I have no idea but I’m sure you can think of something.)
It’s a lot easier to structure your story (even if it’s loosely) if you know what the opposing force is to your character. Unfortunately, I have a habit of making the opposing force to my character, my character, which means I write a lot of books no-one wants to buy. If you have an antagonist with their own goals, flaws, and desires – if you build them as well as you build your Main Character, you’re going to have the seeds of something interesting.
Sure, the Evil Dark Lord Who is Evil Because Evil is a trope that appears again and again, and I’m not saying it can’t work, but even J K Rowling gave as some backstory for Voldy, and made him slightly less cartoonish evil (slightly) as the series progressed. And, for me, the best character in that whole series was Snape anyway, because he was such a flawed and conflicted character.
Snape, of course, in his own way served as a kind of red-herring antagonist for much of the series, so we’ll give him that.
So today I am going to sit down, and I am going to really think about the antagonist in this book (because guess what! Once again, my protag is my antag, ffs, Cat,get it right.)
If that is something that can help you figure out where you’re going, then use it.
And now SBAs open, ready, begin.