The Orphan King … falling into the plot trap

Part II… Following on from Writers Block and St Petersburg.

I want to introduce you to The Orphan King, the story, the character and the concept which emerged in my little befuddled mind during my visit to St Petersberg …

As the title tells you, my main protagonist is a King and he is an Orphan, this already provides you with some unspoken information. Firstly his sex, apart from my use of the pronoun ‘he’ a King generally refers to a Male. (though I expect someone, somewhere has altered Regal gender roles in their literature).

In this case my King is male, he is described as an ‘Orphan’ … Now an adult who has grown up, sired children of their own and outlived their parents are not generally referred to as an Orphan… Hence my King is very young… The ‘Orphan’ title also suggests that a major tragedy has befallen our young King, instantly providing my character with a whole back ground story which has lead him to the position of a King… and how does one so young maintain a grip upon his precious position?

Intrigued? Hooked? Bored?  … instantly compared to ‘Game of Thrones‘… (Which I confess I have not read) but anything fantasy based with regal conflicts automatically appears to get referred to Game of Thrones… IMO… However this is always going to be a challenge for any writer, that their work is instantly compared to existing examples of literature within the same genre, usually the most famous names and most popular stories…

However, I was hooked by my own plan and spent any free moment I could grasp frantically scribbling down ideas, names, characters, place names, guild names, relations, countries, days of the week and even religion… My world development flourished as swiftly as I had a plot structure and timeline for my young King, his kingdom and closest companions, deadly enemies and love interest…

The pencil skipped across the pages in my notebook in a flurry, my handwriting resembling arcane hieroglyphics as my hand struggled to keep up with my flowing thoughts.

Then I hit a sudden horrible realisation in my work… I had reached a stage in my story where everything ‘classically’ goes wrong, that point where the whole kingdom falls down around his ears and everything I had built up, his trials and tribulations dissolves into chaos… The character ‘crisis’…

My pencil skidded to a halt when this understanding finally gripped me… I had fallen into a plot trap… as much as I wanted to create something unique and intriguing, as much as I thought, believed, fooled myself into believing… I had still hopelessly (and unconsciously) followed a classical story outline… I’m not sure how I had fallen into this trap… but there is was staring me straight in the face and I ceased writing.

How could I pull myself up out of this swamp? How could I prevent my story and my sweet young King from becoming another cliche?

Do I kill him? Or do I go with the flow and keep to ‘The Heroes Journey’?

Truth is, I don’t know – I stopped writing at this point and since then I have not written another word of this story. My young King as his entire empire is frozen in time, static and immobile trapped within writers block, as I struggle between complying with the rules that we are expected to adhere to, or creating a path of my own.


Anne Harrison 11.07.16




2 thoughts on “The Orphan King … falling into the plot trap

  1. You do what every writer does. You finish your story and then chuck out the bits you don’t like and re-write them when you edit. The most important thing is get the damned thing written then you can mess with it to your hearts content once it’s done. It’s how all the big names do it, trust me xx


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