Is she working for her Agency

Thanks to Lena Roy . com for the pic.

What a beautiful day to be in the city; almost a shame to be shut away in a room with no windows. However the company made it totally worth it.

We had 14 people today, this included three new people. I really hope they enjoyed the experience. 6 Submissions meant we weren’t stretched for time and, as is the norm for this year, they were all enjoyable.

Our take away lesson this month was about giving characters agency. Which pretty much means giving them flesh to their bones. Giving them purpose. Making it so they have a life, a back story and weren’t just born out of the sake of needing a character.

I think the best way to solve this issue it to, quite literally, work up a character profile and refer back to it when you’re floundering a little or the character doesn’t feel like they’re anchored in the story.

These profiles aren’t necessarily to be used as a long shopping list when describing your character in your story, however it can make the iceberg visualisation a little more vivid. Most of what you will have on your character profile sheet will never be known to the reader, much like the bit of the iceberg that’s underwater. The stuff you don’t see helps make the buoyant bit you can see so much more solid and believable.

There are some freaking brilliant worksheets or models to get a feel for your character. To help you give them a better voice, and make them real in you mind, rather than just a bunch of consecutive actions.

This character profile outline by the Lazy Scholar, is quite basic, but it certainly is a good start.

Whereas THIS character chart is a little more in-depth, going into the personal goals and fears of the character and beyond.

I guess what we all aim for is for our characters to be strong enough that our readers start thinking of them as real people. They know enough about them and care enough about them to carry on a conversation and have opinions of what should happen to them.

They gotta have soul.

Quote from Mazarkis Williams, author of The Emperor’s Knife:

“But does a character stuck in an intensely plot-driven book lack agency? No; It just seems that way sometimes, because the story focus is elsewhere. And for me this is where agency and writing choices get mixed together, especially where female characters are concerned. There are cases in which a character truly lacks agency – based on her situation – and this is legitimate, though tricky to write. (And it should be temporary – characters are flat-out uninteresting if they can’t make choices and influence the path of events.) Other times, a character appears to lack agency because she exists only for plot-y reasons, or is badly written. ‘Badly written’ can include having a man, or a god, or anything else telling her what to do all the time. Technically she does not lack agency if she chooses to do whatever she’s told, but oh gods is it dull. And makes me raise my eyebrow at you (not really – I can’t do that cool thing with my eyebrow).”

Sourced from

Have a jaunty July everyone. Keep making pages!!!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Is she working for her Agency

  1. Stephen says:


    I found my first meeting very enjoyable. I’ve been reading the written comments people gave for my work, and a lot of it is invaluable. I appreciate the time and thought that has been put into it and it will help me work on my plotting and characters. (I also think I need to work on my own critiquing, but that’s another story).

    I’ll definitely be back next month.

  2. Kirstie says:

    Another person with great character sheets is Holly Lisle, though to get them I’m pretty sure you have to do one of her courses.

  3. Daniel says:

    I was just reading an article about agency in characters. So, I’ll share it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.