Monday, September 16, 2013

Worldbuilding and the Passive Main Character

In a novel I read recently, the heroine is in the middle of a paranormal political mess.  Some of the supernatural races want to control her power, others want to kill her because they can’t control her power, and all of them are fighting against the others to gain the upper hand in controlling the world.  Meanwhile, the big bad mythological super villain is in the wings waiting to strike at all them.  

Sounds like the recipe for an exciting novel, doesn’t it?  It wasn’t.  I struggled to keep reading because the heroine was like a ball on a field being bashed around in different directions with no real goal or control on her part.  She spent the entire novel fighting to stay alive or keep her friends alive at each new attack.  She was reacting, not acting, which made her a passive and boring heroine.  

No matter how complex the worldbuilding in your novel is and no matter how Byzantine the politics are, they aren’t the plot of your novel.  The main character’s struggle to obtain her goal is the major plot of your novel.  Don’t forget that as you create the complexity of the world that main character lives in. 

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