Character Agency

I’ve brought this up A LOT before, but it can never be repeated enough. Character agency is vital to your readers’ enjoyment!

break the system

My parents are avid readers, so I love talking to them about what they’re currently reading. A few weeks back, it was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. While both my parents were iffy on it, my mom was especially irritated.

“The main character never makes any decisions for herself. Everything she does is just a reaction to what’s happening to her. She just lets things happen to her, complains about it, and does nothing to change it.”

My dad agreed with her, and when I talked to them about it later, neither had finished the book.

While I don’t know the accuracy of what they said since i haven’t read Outlander, it brings up an important point about agency in our characters. Chuck Wendig defines agency as this:

 A demonstration of the character’s ability to make decisions and affect the story. This character has motivations all her own. She is…

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