Discussion Is making a character an orphan a cheap trick?

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by Bad Storm, Jul 10, 2021.

?

If you're an orphan, do you think your life would still be as stable as it is?

  1. Yup, I'd like to believe i can forge my own path despite the odds

    8.0%
  2. Nope, losing my past means losing the current me

    20.0%
  3. Maybe, i think i would be worse off than current me

    40.0%
  4. Maybe, being an orphan would make me more resilient and thus better than current me

    12.0%
  5. others

    16.0%
  6. *noms skullie*

    24.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Bad Storm

    Bad Storm »I feel the chemicals kicking in«

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,727
    Likes Received:
    38,925
    Reading List:
    Link
    I've seen this around in a few novels. The MC being an orphan, gets transmigrated and thus doesn't mind if he or she could never go back to their original world.

    And more often than not, said MC takes the identity of the person they transmigrated into and somehow just live that life as if their previous life was nothing but an unimportant detail other than skills they acquired from that past life. It becomes more plausible because MC is an orphan (not always the case tho) and they don't have attachment to their previous life so sometimes it feels more like a cheap trick.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Arbelbyss

    Arbelbyss Leviathan

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    1,748
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Reading List:
    Link
    It's a Cheap Trick like the Stand from Jojo.
     
  3. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,529
    Likes Received:
    52,218
    Reading List:
    Link
    That the mc should start farming skulkie and revolutionize the meaning of food
     
  4. Arbelbyss

    Arbelbyss Leviathan

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    1,748
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Reading List:
    Link
    Then they wield the Bantyo Blade
     
  5. Bad Storm

    Bad Storm »I feel the chemicals kicking in«

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,727
    Likes Received:
    38,925
    Reading List:
    Link
    ...but why?
     
  6. Eternal Emperor

    Eternal Emperor SelfAware-PieceOfShit

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    545
    Reading List:
    Link
    The thing is I think I’d hate it more if they said the MC had family back in his world and dealt with that poorly… So it can come off as a cheap trick sometimes but if the rest of the story is great I wouldn’t mind this much.
     
    Toralk and Bad Storm like this.
  7. Bad Storm

    Bad Storm »I feel the chemicals kicking in«

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,727
    Likes Received:
    38,925
    Reading List:
    Link
    It just feels like a wasted opportunity to me sometimes. I would definitely prefer if they have a family and it was dealt with well.
     
    Eternal Emperor likes this.
  8. Saorihirai

    Saorihirai Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2020
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    462
    Reading List:
    Link
    I mean yea it’s a cheap trick because it’s a bit hard to deal with stuff like family. But most people reading transmigration stories don’t care about the previous world so we overlook it.
     
    Bad Storm likes this.
  9. Bad Storm

    Bad Storm »I feel the chemicals kicking in«

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,727
    Likes Received:
    38,925
    Reading List:
    Link
    True that hahaha. Most of the time it's more like an afterthought than a proper setting :blobrofl::blobrofl:
     
  10. Eternal Emperor

    Eternal Emperor SelfAware-PieceOfShit

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    545
    Reading List:
    Link
    But unless the MC finds a way back into his previous world wouldn’t this just end up making him feel melancholic due to a lack of closure…? Is that something worth showcasing? And sometimes they make the family or friends transmigrate too and I’m not a big fan of that…
     
    Dr_H_16 and Bad Storm like this.
  11. Vi2

    Vi2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2018
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    67
    Reading List:
    Link
    It depends on how well the author writes the character probably. For example if they're the sort of person who doesn't care about the past and accepts whatever happens to them, they don't have to be an orphan to explain why they're not attached to their past life, but then the author should probably show they have the same attitude throughout the new life unless it's character development. Usually, in novels I read where the character is still attached to people from their past life, it's because their past life family/friends are important to the plot. So it makes sense and makes things less complicated to make MC an orphan. Even if it's a cheap trick, if the rest of the story is good, then it doesn't really matter much to me.
     
    Bad Storm likes this.
  12. Bad Storm

    Bad Storm »I feel the chemicals kicking in«

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,727
    Likes Received:
    38,925
    Reading List:
    Link
    same, i don't like fam and friends transmigrating too. But I'm interested in the perspective of a transmigrated person who wants to return back. it's a little hard to find balance between past life and current life but maybe someday we'll see one and it would be like a breath of fresh air.
     
    AliceShiki, Eternal Emperor and Vi2 like this.
  13. Deleted member 367916

    Deleted member 367916 Guest

    Reading List:
    Link
    The following reasons, imo:-
    1. Familiar love is essential 'cuz if u r loved then you will love.
    2. It ends the 'I-want-to-back-to-my-world' train of thought.
    3. A Happy ending after a series of trials and tribulations in the transmigrated world is well received (since it adds a pinch of spice to the story).
    4. Transmigrated worlds are in vogue!!! Since it satiate our fantasies. So, an orphan wouldn't think of goin' back as there will be no one waiting for them.~^^
     
    Toralk, Bad Storm and Vi2 like this.
  14. Toralk

    Toralk Certified Grouch

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2018
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    598
    Reading List:
    Link
    Rather than a cheep trick, I would call it an easy out to avoid pointless drama. Why the **** is the author making us care about people that wont appear except in flashbacks (if that) and add nothing to the storyline? Worst of all is when the MC immediately starts looking for a way back and acts wronged if he can't find one. I hate MCs acting like a victim because they're "forced" to live in an exiting fantasy world with god like cheats and a harem of beautiful women.
     
  15. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,529
    Likes Received:
    52,218
    Reading List:
    Link
    It's a cheep trick for the author to start a story with no stakes. If no one wants the MC back, then the MC can be a blank state. If the MC is a blank slate, then he will have no history to define him or help shape him as a person, until something is needed and can conveniently be used as a memory of something that happened long ago. By keeping the MC a blank slate, readers will have an easier time associating their feelings with the MC and vicariously live their desires through the character.
     
    Dr_H_16, bkwusa and AliceShiki like this.
  16. Shizukani

    Shizukani Sparrow ⸜₍๑•⌔•๑ ₎⸝ ⚓『Southern Bird』∠( ᐛ 」∠)_

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    12,724
    Reading List:
    Link
    Yeah... Sometimes it feels like it's done for plot convenience :sweating_profusely:
     
  17. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Magical Girl of Love and Justice』

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    22,891
    Likes Received:
    90,726
    Reading List:
    Link
    In the case of isekai, yeah, totally, definitely a cheap trick.

    It's also a cheap trick for stuff like D&D RP characters because it makes your character have no attachments nor anyone you need to worry about whatsoever.

    I don't think orphan characters are bad per se, and it can still be interesting to play with them. About how they envy people with parents, about how they cared for some specific people at the orphanage, about how they suffered from a trauma in the day they became and orphan... Orphan characters really have a lot of wiggle room for themselves~

    Just well, gotta actually play with those elements... But in an isekai as a way of making them having no attachments? Yeah, it's totally a cheap trick, but not really a bad one in all honesty. It gets its job done after all~
     
    Dr_H_16 and Nimroth like this.
  18. Lissi

    Lissi 『Queen of Lissidom』『Holy Chibi』『Western Birdy』『⚓』

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2021
    Messages:
    3,329
    Likes Received:
    18,245
    Reading List:
    Link
    I mean.... I never thought of it as a cheap trick before, just a regular plot setting. I did kinda marvel at the abundance of orphan protagonists, but that's about it /shrug

    Does cheap trick have a really negative connotation? Because that's what I'm feeling...
     
  19. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    2,965
    Likes Received:
    2,738
    Reading List:
    Link
    I'm a bit disappointed in this thread. Based on the thread title I thought this was going to be a rant about orphan protagonists to begin with. I was hoping for a whole bunch of naming names, and calling out Dickens for being the hackiest hack who ever hacked!

    Anyways, the answer is no. And reason why it's no is that isekai protagonists who have strong ties to their previous life make for better characters. And the reason should be pretty obvious: a character with stronger ties would make for stronger tensions, and stronger tensions is great for all sorts of storytelling.

    Now obviously not every book is interested in exploring this idea so you're not going to see it all that often. However, if a book doesn't want to address this idea, all it has to do is to not bring it up! Making the protagonist an orphan doesn't accomplish anything in this case. Usually the only time a protagonist being an orphan is relevant is to contrast his old life with his new life, but that's good writing. I can see bad authors creating orphan protagonists because they assume that it makes it easier to write, but it doesn't make any real difference. All in all, I don't know why anyone would assume that it's some sort of cheap writing trick.

    It's supposed to have a negative connotation.
     
    Dr_H_16 likes this.
  20. Fluffums

    Fluffums 【R-18 Researcher】【Seeker of Moe】

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    3,405
    Reading List:
    Link
    It's better than "I had a hobby of cooking in my past life" -> food revolution that amazes everyone

    Or "I was an engineer" -> able to create an industrial revolution from nothing

    Or "I watched a tv show one time" -> able to do literally anything