Story Stuff: A Is For Agency

Allison Maruska

Welcome to the first Blogging from A to Z challenge post! We start our series with the reason most stories exist – character agency.

AGreat, now my characters need an agent too. Not so, aspiring writer (and for the record, you may not need one either, but we’ll save that for a different post).

Simply put, character agency is how your character earns his keep in the story. Characters need motivations and goals – mash those together and you have agency. When you see the word “must” in a blurb – as in, Now, he must stop the wildebeest from stealing his mother’s earrings – odds are the character has strong agency. The character does things that directly affect, if not cause, the plot.

Chuck Wendig says this in his post on this topic:

Character agency is, to me, a demonstration of the character’s ability to make decisions and affect…

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