Hey y’all – so sorry for being late with a post today! I’m out of town in a cabin that’s supposed to have internet access but it’s broken – d’oh! So, I’m sorry this post is (a) late and (b) short, but I wanted to at least give y’all something to be thinking about with your writing.
One of the things it’s easy to forget about when structuring a plot is the agency of your character. Put simply: your character needs to be driving the plot. They need to be the one tripping the inciting incident and making the active decision to move into the story. Even if their actions are just in reaction to external forces, they need to be taking the steps forward.
Think about the movie Romancing the Stone: Joan Wilder hears that her sister has been kidnapped and is being held ransom and she makes the active decision to go after her. You might think that she doesn’t have an option, but technically she does. She has a choice to make and she chooses to rescue her sister — and then she takes action. Someone else doesn’t make the decision for her, they don’t show up to her apartment and hand her a plane ticket, and they don’t usher her to Colombia. She’s an active character.
And that’s just something to remember when you’re looking over your WIPs and outlines — ask yourself: is my character making active decisions or is someone else dragging them through the story?