Who Makes It Happen? Giving Your Characters Agency – by Tiffany Yates Martin…

on Jane Friedman site:

Writers are often warned off of passive “be” verbs that suck the life out of their prose—but the “be” trap of passivity can also suck the life out of your characters. Regardless of how richly developed your characters are, it’s not enough for a protagonist to simply beinteresting, multifaceted, layered. They also need to do. Characters who don’t—who have no agency, don’t captain their own ship—give readers nothing to invest in or root for, and they lie flat on the page no matter how exciting the rest of your story may be.

It’s easy to fall into “be” traps, though—especially when so many common character journeys involve moving from disenfranchisement to self-determination, or weakness to strength, or aimlessness to actualization. Check your story for these common characterization traps that can result in passive protagonists:

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