Writing: Agency

I was trolling through YouTube and stumbled across this video about Phantom Menance and because I love burning buildings, I watched it:

Here’s the thing, it does a GREAT job of breaking down the plot issue that plagues this disaster of a movie.  My mind (ever narcissistic) went “whew, glad don’t do that!”

And then I realized I did.

I have a novel I finished and I like the world and the characters- but I hated my plot.  Oh, it’s not the shit-show Lucas put out.  But I also never put it out.

But my main character sucks at agency.  She does have her own dreams and ambitions, and she is constantly having to balance her personal desires with the needs of her role as a Duchess and a political creature.  But I rarely allow her to drive the plot- the plot kind of manipulates her.

And rewriting the plot is going to be hard.  It might require some pretty significant tweaks to the character, her family, and even the world itself. I can’t just have her suddenly say, “I want to be the ambassador!” when that hasn’t been her dream.  I’m going to have to do some test scenes to figure out who she needs to be to drive her own choices instead of being driven by them.

Even in the 2 days since I watched, chewing on this thought, I’ve got some ideas I’m going to try out.

This is going to be a huge rewrite.  I was planning on doing it anyway because I just knew something was wrong, but since I didn’t know what was bothering me – I’ve just had it sitting in the back of my head festering with all the other half-finished or finished novels I knew had glaring issues.  Granted, most of the plot issues I have are “shit, I just tried to redeem my villain and now I don’t have a villain. Well… shit.”

Now I have at least something I feel like I can fix and just playing with it in my own my mind I can’t help but go, “Yeah, I think this IS the plot wound I’ve been sniffing in this particular book. YAY.”

Because honestly, I do think this is one of the better stories I wrote world-wise, character-wise, and there are definitely big elements of the plot I like – but Faline really needs to drive her own story instead of just reacting to people telling her what she needs to do.  I mean, hell – she has the option of becoming Queen and she just huffs and puffs about how that wouldn’t let her go into the underbelly of the capital and heal poor people. She’s a damn duchess. Yeah, even I think she’s whining.  I can fix that!