Orphan Protagonists

Orphan Protagonists2 From the seasoned story boarders at Disney to the aspiring authors on Wattpad, there seems to be a high rate of orphan protagonists in stories. I understand the need to remove parental supervision (after all, who would willingly let their kid go on long adventures, gain questionable allies, and battle deadly villains?) but is there another way to go about this without making it a story trope? Since it’s a proven method, should another generation of tales continue on like this? Here are some possible alternatives:

The protagonist:

Lives a double life, and keeps questionable actions a secret from parents.

(Branching off from above) Argues with parents and, as a result, is distant.

Is recruited/drafted by parents to go on an adventure.

Runs away.

Is ignored by parents.

Has parents that are busy (ex: working 3 jobs) and do not have time for protagonist.

Is sent away to a foreign school/relatives, or other destination.

Is lost (ex: while on a trip).

Is kidnapped.

Pro tip: Make sure to keep the parents three-dimensional and interesting, to keep the reader on board. The last thing you want is for your audience to skim over parts of your story or put it down altogether because of flat parental figures. Don’t get stuck with paper doll characters!

Have anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!


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