So, you've created your hero - whether they're somewhere of the gender spectrum, sexuality spectrum doesn't matter - as long as it's your story, you write it how you want it to be. Your protagonist may be a true hero - like the superheroes in The Avengers, or the DC universe, a reluctant hero - like Han Solo in Star Wars, or an accidental hero - like Rey in my book series
. In order for me to know just how strong she can be or how much she can withstand as a character - I need to know what her adversary is. Now, I don't necessarily need to craft the baddy before her, but I do need to make sure that they are stronger than her because that is what will drive the story and create the interest.
Suppose I crafted Rey to be scared of spiders (she's not btw - she's a total badass when it comes to those creepy-crawlies as she picks them up gently with her bare hands and places them on a leaf outside). If the baddy (Karver, for example) puts her on a stool with a spider next to her, the scene will have very little tension or excitement. Well, maybe if Rey shrieks and runs away - that might be a little exciting. Instead, use her weakness against her. Perhaps Karver could capture her and place her in an old wooden box and fill it with loads of spiders, locking her inside. Will she try to escape? How would she do that? And what about the spiders? Apart from some getting squished (sorry about that Taoism) in her panic, the situation has become a lot scarier for her. It also shows Karver to be maniacal - I mean, just how long did he spend collecting all those spiders? Did he breed them? And locking his arch-nemesis in a box was more than a bit mean - don't you think?
Now, I'm not saying you need to traumatise your character fully - though the more they have to go through, the more their true character shows. This is true for both antagonist and protagonist. All the while, you, as the author, weave their backstory into the writing. And that's a key point - the backstory. This is as important as the actual story itself. Most, let's say around 90% or so of the backstory will not make it to the final piece, but it adds weight to your tale and provides the reader with enough to understand their true nature.
Karver, let's just say - is not a very nice human being. Whilst I haven't written his character to specifically have all the strengths for Rey's weaknesses, he has several advantages she does not. Without giving too much away;
Knows how to use his Remnant ======> Does not
Is an adult (wisdon/life experience) ===> Still a teenager
Trained specialist soldier ===========> Teen with no training
Evil =========================> Mostly confused about who she is
Already, you can see how the antagonist is much stronger than Rey and her fight is going to keep getting harder. This also makes her more engaging for the reader, who wants to root for the underdog and want her to win.
Hope you had an awesome Christmas break, whatever your religion or background is and wishing you a fantastic new year celebration.