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My female MC is physically and emotionally incapable of defending herself in the beginning of my story. She is rescued by a powerful and boastful paladin from whose point of view the story is told. Due to the nature of what's happened to the priestess, her recovery takes quite a long time and this paladin (who gets all of his self worth from his strength and ability to physically protect people) spends a huge chunk of the story looking out for her.

I can't change the whole damsel in distress thing without writing an entirely different story. I was just wondering if there were some things that I should try to avoid or be sure to do in order to keep the story interesting and avoid annoying cliches within the... genre... I guess? There is plenty of character development planned with the priestess learning to be more assertive and the paladin learning to be more humble, and both of them gaining a better sense of self worth and so on. And this is NOT a romance story by any means, its more of a drama/ adventure.

So what do you love/ hate most about those "knights slaying dragons to save the princess" kind of stories?
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PKMN Breeder Aello

So what do you love/ hate most about those "knights slaying dragons to save the princess" kind of stories?


A good story.

I like Shrek, I like Sleeping Beauty, and I like Black Cauldron.
As long as the girl is likable as a character and it makes sense for her to be unable to do anything, I don't see a problem with it.

What I hate is when the girl is a damsel in distress at first, but then you find out that she's actually has some great power that she didn't use to help herself earlier for reasons unknown. Or the opposite where she's able to take care of herself just fine, until she is suddenly kidnapped and playing the helpless maiden when there is no reason why she couldn't get herself out of that situation.

Oh, I also don't care for love at first sight, but that doesn't seem a problem with what you've said.
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Kairi Nightingale

What I hate is when the girl is a damsel in distress at first, but then you find out that she's actually has some great power that she didn't use to help herself earlier for reasons unknown. Or the opposite where she's able to take care of herself just fine, until she is suddenly kidnapped and playing the helpless maiden when there is no reason why she couldn't get herself out of that situation.


Sounds like the trope Dumbass in Distress, where they're capable until a possible sex partner arrives and they suddenly can't breath on their own.

I'm more worried about Women in Refrigerators at the moment.
Kairi Nightingale
As long as the girl is likable as a character and it makes sense for her to be unable to do anything, I don't see a problem with it.

What I hate is when the girl is a damsel in distress at first, but then you find out that she's actually has some great power that she didn't use to help herself earlier for reasons unknown. Or the opposite where she's able to take care of herself just fine, until she is suddenly kidnapped and playing the helpless maiden when there is no reason why she couldn't get herself out of that situation.

Oh, I also don't care for love at first sight, but that doesn't seem a problem with what you've said.


There's a strong reason for the state she's in, and I do plan on her recovering and becoming capable of taking care of herself by the end of the story. She's the silently suffering type and really doesn't enjoy having to rely on anyone else, so when she can do anything herself nothing is going to stop her. She does have a power unique to anyone else in the story world, but it actually doesn't work on her own self, so she has to develop other skills in order to do that.

Thanks for your post!
I_Write_Ivre
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So what do you love/ hate most about those "knights slaying dragons to save the princess" kind of stories?


A good story.

I like Shrek, I like Sleeping Beauty, and I like Black Cauldron.


I do realize that a compelling story line can overcome cliches. It would help more if you could tell me what you like about those stories instead of just a general statement that you like them. =/

I'm looking for specific examples that I might have overlooked in story planning. When you're so close to your own writing something that's obvious in other works doesn't always stand out to you in your own. At least, that's the case for me.
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What I would keep an eye out for is how the story itself is framed: is a character's worth within the story based on their ability to look out for themselves in a combat situation? I have plenty of characters that I think of as complete badasses (and I do think they come across that way) who would go down in five seconds flat in a fight-- they're just not in the sort of story where that's what's most important.

It's good to see that you've noticed how the guy's sense of self-worth is based around his ability to protect others, now you just have to ask yourself: in what way is he wrong.
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I_Write_Ivre
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So what do you love/ hate most about those "knights slaying dragons to save the princess" kind of stories?


A good story.

I like Shrek, I like Sleeping Beauty, and I like Black Cauldron.


I do realize that a compelling story line can overcome cliches. It would help more if you could tell me what you like about those stories instead of just a general statement that you like them. =/

I'm looking for specific examples that I might have overlooked in story planning. When you're so close to your own writing something that's obvious in other works doesn't always stand out to you in your own. At least, that's the case for me.


Ah. Women in Refrigerators and A Case of the Not Gays. I'm not sure if you know what those are more or less short for.
I_Write_Ivre
Kairi Nightingale

What I hate is when the girl is a damsel in distress at first, but then you find out that she's actually has some great power that she didn't use to help herself earlier for reasons unknown. Or the opposite where she's able to take care of herself just fine, until she is suddenly kidnapped and playing the helpless maiden when there is no reason why she couldn't get herself out of that situation.


Sounds like the trope Dumbass in Distress, where they're capable until a possible sex partner arrives and they suddenly can't breath on their own.

I'm more worried about Women in Refrigerators at the moment.


lol yes, the first one is exactly what I was referring to. Not familiar with Women in Refrigerators.

PKMN Breeder Aello


Glad to hear it. ^.^

As long as you can pull it off, it should be alright. Good luck!
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Kairi Nightingale



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Women in Refrigerators is when a female character is hurt and/or killed purely to motivate and anger a male character and no other use in the story. Everything she goes through has no point but for the guy.
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I_Write_Ivre
A Case of the Not Gays
That sounds hilarious. I was looking for it, but couldn't find it. Link?
The biggest pitfall I can see is the pacing. You've got a character who is completely inept at protecting herself, and she's going to be a leading character in an drama/adventure story. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're not careful she can easily slow down the plot with her helplessness.

I remember reading a book called "The Hidden Worlds" by Kristin Landon. I liked the characters, the setting and the premise, it's just... the plot was nothing but the two leads getting captured repeatedly, while they just sort of ignored the call to adventure.

Seriously, I think the climax went something like this (spoiler warning):
The female lead is captured by the Not!Spacer's Guild and is released, but onto a planet that they were just going to blow up. She's captured by a group of rebels who think they can totally ransom her to the Not!Spacer's Guild, and the male lead goes off to rescue her. He's captured by those rebels in like, under a minute. Then some evil robots show up, and capture the two of them, along with some rebels. They escape, only to be captured by the male lead's creepy cousin. That doesn't really last very long, and then they escape. There's a MacGuffin on a planet somewhere, that everyone kept telling them to recover, but they just of d**k around on another one, because there was a "chance it might have been dangerous".
I_Write_Ivre
PKMN Breeder Aello
I_Write_Ivre
PKMN Breeder Aello

So what do you love/ hate most about those "knights slaying dragons to save the princess" kind of stories?


A good story.

I like Shrek, I like Sleeping Beauty, and I like Black Cauldron.


I do realize that a compelling story line can overcome cliches. It would help more if you could tell me what you like about those stories instead of just a general statement that you like them. =/

I'm looking for specific examples that I might have overlooked in story planning. When you're so close to your own writing something that's obvious in other works doesn't always stand out to you in your own. At least, that's the case for me.


Ah. Women in Refrigerators and A Case of the Not Gays. I'm not sure if you know what those are more or less short for.


I just went and googled that stuff. xd

The priestess isn't a plot device for the paladin-- at least not intentionally. The story is actually meant to be more about her than him. The priestess is seriously confused and has pretty much been brainwashed and would be an unreliable narrator. I want the reader to understand the truth of what her life has been before she does. The paladin can see that and she can't, so that's why I chose his POV.

As for A Case of the Not Gays, I've thought much less about that. I didn't want them to be in a romantic relationship because I feel its distracting in a story that's not about the romance in the first place. I never had the idea that he was compensating for any kind of perceived lack of masculinity, though. Abstinence is expected from the church that they were a part of, but when the story starts they are excommunicated for running away and what keeps them apart is more of a lack of it being the right time to kindle a romance more than anything. I was thinking that what drives this paladin to seek out people to protect and save is more of guilt for his reason for signing up to be a paladin being the flashy armor, automatic respect and reverence for his position rather than the spiritual and selfless motivations that are accepted and expected.

Thanks for mentioning those things, they were really helpful!
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Kita-Ysabell
I_Write_Ivre
A Case of the Not Gays
That sounds hilarious. I was looking for it, but couldn't find it. Link?

Part 2
Maltese_Falcon91
The biggest pitfall I can see is the pacing. You've got a character who is completely inept at protecting herself, and she's going to be a leading character in an drama/adventure story. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're not careful she can easily slow down the plot with her helplessness.

I remember reading a book called "The Hidden Worlds" by Kristin Landon. I liked the characters, the setting and the premise, it's just... the plot was nothing but the two leads getting captured repeatedly, while they just sort of ignored the call to adventure.

Seriously, I think the climax went something like this (spoiler warning):
The female lead is captured by the Not!Spacer's Guild and is released, but onto a planet that they were just going to blow up. She's captured by a group of rebels who think they can totally ransom her to the Not!Spacer's Guild, and the male lead goes off to rescue her. He's captured by those rebels in like, under a minute. Then some evil robots show up, and capture the two of them, along with some rebels. They escape, only to be captured by the male lead's creepy cousin. That doesn't really last very long, and then they escape. There's a MacGuffin on a planet somewhere, that everyone kept telling them to recover, but they just of d**k around on another one, because there was a "chance it might have been dangerous".


Thank you, I'll be sure to be mindful of the pacing.

That book does sound a little frustrating to read. Sounds like they kept deliberately getting in over their heads, wondering why they kept getting snatched despite being responsible for their lack of ability to prevent it, and then just gave up when saw a pattern forming instead of trying to remedy it and continue with their goals. xd

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