What Is Character Agency?

Written by: Shewonda Leger

Primary Source: Writing Rhetoric and American Cultures

As you kick back on the patio with a glass of pina colada, and finally dedicate time to that novel you’ve been dying to finish, remember that a character’s role in storytelling is essential and must have a sense of agency. What is agency? Terribleminds breaks it down. Agency demonstrates the ability to make decisions that affect the story. A character’s agency pushes, creates and changes the plot. The characters contribute to the existence of the story, and the audience then connects with characters based on empathy, sympathy, and pathos; therefore, one of the most basic and fundamental aspects of creating a character is making them feel and seem human.

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Shewonda Leger is a writer who has love for creativity, whether its fiction or non-fiction. She is a graduate student at Michigan State University, pursuing her master’s degree in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing. When she is not at home in her pajamas working on her novel, she is writing for WRAC or consulting at The Writing Center @ MSU. Follow her on Twitter @Mz_Poesy.

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