In my book, my main character has unfortunately lost her parents. But before the plot, I have nothing. I don't want to do an orphanage, foster homes, or give her a family at all. The idea of her living on the street is okay, but I would have to change her whole personality for stereotype purposes. In many novels parents die, then the character goes on to live somewhere else. Harry Potter goes off to live with his aunt and uncle. But I don't like the sound of her going to live with another family because later in the book she discovers a new family. I had come up with a really original idea, but I don't like the sound of it either. 1. Its too complicated, 2. It just won't go well with the story. So the question. What should I do? Where should she go after her parents die? Cause I'm lost.

  • 1
    In the famous children's story From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a brother and sister run away from home and end up living in a museum, hiding from security guards. Depending on the age of the character, she could pretend to be older, forge ID, and so on, and actually live in her own apartment. Or she could find some kind of abandoned or otherwise empty house and move in … Jun 8 '20 at 23:53
  • 1
    Hi, Devyn. Welcome to SE Writing. I know this might surprise you, but we don't answer "what should I write"-type questions here. Please check out this article on where to get free feedback: writing.stackexchange.com/questions/19522/…
    – rolfedh
    Jun 9 '20 at 0:41
  • This article will help you ask on-topic questions here: writing.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
    – rolfedh
    Jun 9 '20 at 0:45

In orphanages one doesn't always get adopted and will continue to be raised by the orphanage until they come of age to leave it. This can however change the personality it depends on whom she knows and whom (if any) she makes friends with. You could have her go on a adventure to disavow the death of her parents for a time and process her grief.

Ultimately you have one thing that has made a defining impact on the character and her personality now what else is she suppose to have? Build backwards the reasons from there and it maynot come from one sit down maybe months or years later you'll find the it thing as to why she is this way.

For instance say apart of her persona is self reliance which she'll need to avoid getting picked up by someone noticing she's parentless. Does she remain in the house till it's condemned by the authorities because she sucks at up keep?

You will have to figure out how she avoids everyone knowing she's not alive someone knew this girl existed prior to her death and people talk so if no one rolls into town to claim her everyone is going to wonder why not and will take action themselves she'd have to literally run away then its your job to narratively to explain why because she doesn't know about these future parents unless she's insane or sees visions and has some Joan of Arc visions that tell her a mysterious family will pluck her from the obscure which then could be anyone and you've got her doe eyed for the first people she sees and they could be axe murderers!

Time period matters if you don't have that down yet look into different time periods for the poor children she could go to a poor or alms house be cared for or put to back breaking work. In other eras she might bounce from home to home with lots of other kids their caretakers more like a toss up between duty bound strick people who aim to teach her a useful skill but by useful I mean dull like dishwasher, seamstress, or maid or she could get the for profit caregiver that locks her in the basement till she comes of age they can kick her out while collecting the payouts for her being alive and falsely claiming what she learns.

Your what do I do is too broad you have to look at

Her age - this will determine if she's willed enough

Her parent's attentiveness/abandonment - this will tell if she's got skills to exist far outside someone's care w/o death. A 3rd generation suburban girl isn't going to thrive on the Appalachian Trail for instance not even if she went to girl scout camp.

If you don't know who she is at the start then whom is she when she meets these new parents?

Why is she willing to give them a chance or them her?

What are the strength and weaknesses mentally, spiritually/personal soul, physically, socially?

Greif, physical, perceived, emotional abandonment harm and change people. Here are some movies for help on abandoned or near abandoned children. Note how they are effected (some more deeply then others) about the physical or connection loss of parents in no particular order try to imagine your character as anyone in these films if it helps figure out traits that will bestow upon her for going through the whole or parts of the plots.

(1) Pippy Long stocking - yes we all know it happy girl gets into trouble but really look at it she's abandoned!

(2) Winter's Bone (Hulu) - a teen with a dead beat mother who if she did die wouldn't change how alone and left in burden caring for her siblings is told her also dead beat father better get found or they lose everything she embarks to find him to save her pitiful shack of a house for her family. Grit, self reliance, tactfulness, stubbornness, sacrifice, perseverance,

(3) The lion woman (Netflix) - she struggles to deal with what her life is and find a way to thrive on being like everyone else. Alone while being surrounded, self reliance, determination.

(4) The Motherland Fort Salem (TV series Hulu) - the main character is still traumatized by her mother's death this character is walking grief and trying in a lot of wrong ways to solve it while being in the military's. Greif stricken failing at life. Each girl is dealing with family and dysfunction just some more with family in the picture then others.

(5) I kill giants (hulu) - girl would rather fight skyscraper high monsters then deal with her own life. Greif and imagination dropped into high gear.

(6) IO last on earth (Netflix) (I think boring but she is alone and parentless) self reliance in the face of sure death. self reliance, hopelessness, team work, sacrifice, abandonment

(7) The girl with all the gifts (Netflix) - Alone but with strangers you get to see child who grew up with abandonment yet still strived to be normal but it turns bad. Abandonment, self actualization

(8) The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane - While this one is the no parent, in hiding from society, and girl living alone like your character it is a dark movie. With a pedo creepy guy whose onto her ruse but it does show a pretty dark and possibly more realistic setting to what can happen in what you want for your character as far as no parents, no orphanage, and no one knows she's without. I am placing the warning in it because the creep be creepy and nothing in the movies things set that part up. Self reliance, self protection.

(9) How I live now - multiple teens abandoned after a nuclear apocalypse they do try to hide at first, then get taken in, then their lives get worse and blows apart. Sacrifice, self reliance, others above self,

(10) First they killed my father (Netflix) - a young girl is separated from her family during the war and she is forced to survive her life getting worse and worse before it gets better. Abandonment, strife, perseverance, adrift.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.