Tag Archives: stories
The protagonist in your book is there to be the hero (presumably). The protagonist will go through the plot, being sure to grow along the way, and save the world. That is the protagonist’s purpose and the character will probably come to terms with that along the way.
What about the protagonist’s dreams, though? Sure, perhaps they dream of the world being safe or of the Bad Guy reforming, but what did they dream about before being thrust into the hero role?
What your protagonist has always dreamed for themselves will shape the way they carry themselves — body, mind, and soul — throughout the story. Will the dream change along with them as the plot goes further along? Will the dream steadfastly stay in their heart for when everything is all over, to keep that simple hint of normalcy in their lives, even if the plot has made everything change forever?
Which is the better ending, for a protagonist’s dreams to grow with them or to stay the same as they were before the protagonist’s journey, no matter how bittersweet it may have become?
I’ll admit, I personally haven’t given much thought to some of my protagonist’s dreams outside of the plot of their story. It’s something that I want to work on, something that I want to explore about their psyches. What dreams will be put on hold for the plot? Will those dreams be waiting when the plot is done?
More importantly, will the protagonists recognize their old dreams when the plot is over?
Blight – Part Two
The Blight was not a friendly part of the castle city, not even to someone in a respectable uniform of one of the noble houses. The alleys stank of piss and sex, the natural musk of those who cared only enough to live in order to survive.
Emery did his best to move out of there as quickly as his dignity could manage.
“There you are.” Ridge let Emery back in through the servants’ entrance of the Harding estate. “You’re in one piece, to boot. How did it go?”
Emery shook his head. “Not too well. Thieves apparently are only interested in their own pockets. They want to be certain they get rewarded no matter what they do.”
“Well, it was a long-shot,” Ridge said, helping Emery shuck off the soldier’s uniform and change into his fitted tunic and breeches. “After all, what could a common foot soldier offer to the scourges of the Blight? They have no idea who you are, right?”
“I used the name Dax Cabot whenever I had been asked,” Emery said. Ridge gave him a quick glance over to ensure Emery hadn’t been looking as if he crawled through the dirtiest part of the city, then led him out of the servants’ area.
“Wasn’t that the name of your old tutor?” Ridge asked.
Emery shushed him, but nodded. Talk of Emery’s trip to the Blight ceased between the two friends as they made their way through the manor. Gods knew Emery didn’t want any gossipy maids overhearing that their prince had tried to make deals with thieves.
Ridge changed the topic to a teasing, “My parents are seating you next to Leandra again at dinner tonight.”
Emery gave Ridge a sidelong glance. “You know nothing is going to come of this.”
“Of course,” Ridge said. “You would never be able to handle my sister. It’s why it’s such fun to tease you about my parents trying to set you up. You can’t blame them for wanting the match, though. I heard they had to petition hard to have the crown prince himself go through his squire years at their estate.”
Emery gave his head a soft shake, finding no words. He had no doubt that once he did return to court there would be women lined up as potential brides, both from his parents and from the other noble houses alike.
“There are times when I wish Leandra and I cared enough about each other to go through that,” Emery admitted quietly. “She would never want to be queen, though, and I wouldn’t want to force her to play the part.”
“As her brother, I suppose I’m thankful you care enough about her to think of her feelings like that,” Ridge said. “That and, let’s be real, she’s not delicate enough to be a queen.”
“I’ve no idea where you’ve come up with that thought,” Emery said. “Queens are anything but delicate.”
“Well, yes, I’m sure,” Ridge said, waving off Emery’s words, “but they need to play that part, don’t they? Your mother is the gentle hand compared to your father’s iron fist. Leandra would end up insulting most of the court. Under her, a rebellion would have happened long ago—”
Emery gave Ridge a hard jab in the ribs with an elbow. Ridge glared at Emery but said nothing, grudgingly accepting the admonishment.
“Come on,” Emery said, quickening their pace through the estate’s hallways. “We’ll be late for sparring practice.”
Back in April, I did a more general Break the Tropes post. This time around, I wanted to focus more on tropes that are found more in fantasy novels. Feel free to comment what you’d add to the list!
- Instead of the Legendary Artifact being found safe and sound, have it be a dud.
- You know that magical sword that will cleave through the darkness? Have it break on the first swing.
- Have the wise old wizard be a laid-back young necromancer.
- Heck, instead of having the necromancer be an intimidating character shrouded in darkness and death, have them use their powers to bring back to life their old pets.
- Seriously, have the “Cat Lady” of the story be the “Cat Necromancer.”
- Mistake who is actually the Long Lost Heir to the Throne.
- Make the Chosen One actually be the antagonist of the story.
- Make the elves buff instead of lean and limber. If they’re still in their natural forest habitat wielding bows, they should be some of the most muscular characters in the book. Climbing trees and using bows takes much more strength than swinging around a sword!
- Imagine underground elves.
- Imagine forest-dwelling or even seafaring dwarves. Get the bearded guys out of their caves and mines to see how they react.
- Have the kingdom of the Dark Lord or Bad Guy be the place with the happiest citizens or the area of the land that gets the most sunlight.
- Instead of having mages use elemental magic compatible with their personalities, give them magic that goes against their nature. Have the calmest mage use Fire abilities, making it difficult to stir up enough passion to start a flame, or the energetic Earth mage having a hard time settling down enough to persuade a plant to grow.
- Those stories about characters being the Descendant One of a powerful, magical being that lived eons ago? Yeah, genetically speaking, there’s probably a good couple of dozen Descendant Ones now.
- Let a princess rescue the prince.
- Let a princess rescue the princess.
- Or a prince rescue a prince.
- Have the dragon rescue whoever is trapped in the tower.
- Have the dragon be whoever was supposedly trapped in the tower after learning magic from the witch that had trapped them in the first place.