While getting feedback on one of my manuscripts in the past, a critiquer made the comment that in a middle grade novel there is only room for one antagonist. Yes, you guessed it. My novel, at the time, had two. They were not opposed to each other in their motivations, but they did have distinct purposes and each wanted something different from the main character.
At first I didn’t quite agree with the comment, but I decided to give revisions a go with this in mind, and at each stage in the revision process I agreed more and more with the critique (at least for my novel). Yet it still brings up the overall question. Are two antagonists one too many?
What are your thoughts? And do you think it matters MG vs. YA? Can YA have more than one antagonist? And how about series books where each individual book must have a plot and the overall series must have an arc of its own. Think HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE here (not the later Harry Potters). Voldemort was the antagonist in book one and in the series.
PJ Hoover has more than one antagonistic force working in her life. Yet she is not the protagonist of a MG novel and she is not in middle grade.