characters / writing

Why Michael Vick Wouldn’t Make a Good Antagonist in My Novel

He sounds perfect, doesn’t he? The guy you love to hate. His despicable treatment of dogs makes us root for his 3707755206_dc1006b69ademise.

The problem is, Michael Vick abused the most popular pet in the nation, the one overwhelmingly considered innocent, vulnerable, kind, loyal, trusting. The same traits we apply to children.


  • Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog
  • Twenty-five percent of owners own two dogs
  • Twelve percent of owners own three or more dogs

The definition of an antagonist is: a character, group of characters, or an institution, who represents the opposition against which the protagonist(s) must contend (from Wikipedia). Michael Vick is rich, popular, powerful, a man’s man–a worthy adversary for any protagonist. As the reader, we would constantly be afraid he could defeat our wonderful main character with his money, influence, or all of the above.

So why isn’t Mike a great antagonist? Here’s why. The best protagonists aren’t 100% evil.  They usually have some trait that we can care about. You might argue, sure, that’s Vick’s football prowess. For years, we’ve rooted for him. I would argue, treating dogs the way he did makes him too despicable. Don’t believe me, read what others have to say about dogs:

“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.”
~Dave Barry

“Ever consider what they must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul –chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!”
~Anne Tyler

tn_animals_dogs_017“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.”
~Woodrow Wilson

“If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.”
~James Thurber

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”
~Ben Williams

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
~Roger Caras

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”brown_dog

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
~Mark Twain

Now watch what happens to dogs destroyed by people like Michael Vick.

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3 thoughts on “Why Michael Vick Wouldn’t Make a Good Antagonist in My Novel

  1. Pingback: How To Describe Dogs in Your Novel | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: How To Describe Dogs in Your Novel « Jacqui Murray's WordDreams…

  3. Pingback: How To Write Descriptions People Want to Read « Word Dreams…

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