I read this book called, Deeplight. It’s about two orphan boys who just try to survive in a fantasy world where there once existed deep sea monsters, or Gods. The gods are dead and the people collect the parts of the monsters and they are highly valuable. The boys try to steal some of it but one gets caught and they are seperated. One of the boys, Hark, is conflicted, on the one hand he’s loyal to his friend but to the other he likes his new life and he realise the other boy hadn’t been very nice to him. He hopes, secretly that he never sees him. But Harks friend does show up and threatens to expose him if Hark doesn’t help him.
So far so good. I love slice of life stories like this, very grounded and relatable. Nothing too major is happening, it happened! Harks friend is infected with one of the monsters and he grows more and more powerful until he’d become a new sea god if he isn’t stopped. From here, the main character Hark becomes a dull character. It’s almost as if his choices aren’t his own anymore and he’s just pushed along by the author to hit those plot points.
Before, Hark did things because that was his character, later, he did things because that’s what he was supposed to do. That in itself could be interesting to explore but they don’t. I skimmed through the last half of the book and I knew exactly what would happen all along.
I don’t know if I felt this way because I’m a writer, that I think about these things everyday or that regular readers catch on too and that they are just unable to articulate the problem? Or maybe it’s just me. I feel like the characters in our stories have more agency than we realise. I have certainly tried to control their actions before and that is too much trouble than it’s worth.
It’s also not very fun.
(If you find this topic familiar it’s because I redacted the original post. It was embarrassingly bad)