Finding a Fresh Origin Story

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The Assassin, the Orphan, the Thief, the Princess. All of these backgrounds have been done to death. Have you considered a different type of origin story for your protagonist? Let’s explore a few different origin stories to freshen things up. 

The Couch Potato Origin Story

You know the type, always up for adventure–as long as there’s a screen in front and something cozy beneath. Usually covered in crumbs. Showering’s become optional, just like pants. But what if they were thrown into an adventure? They have skills from the gaming world. They know how to adapt and they can make sure no one starves because–missing a meal? No way.

Could this origin story show a transformation over time? There’s a lot of potential for finding strength in oneself here. This could be a great transformation story. 

Potential Genre Adaptations:

Fantasy- This is the quintessential Whiney Hero. Think about any Hobbit. Seriously, they’re all couch potatoes. And, what town doesn’t have gambling? What if this character was a gambler, a very comfortable gambler who is more at ease with dice than a blade?

SciFi– If your worldbuilding has included a society where people are economically sound, there’s bound to be a Couch Potato. What’s their story? What does the gaming community look like in a Galaxy Far, Far Away …?

The Wanna-be Soldier

This character’s trained their whole early life to be part of the military. They can’t wait to run into battle, but they’re only a pre-teen. Or, perhaps they left the idea of military greatness behind and became a dance fanatic.

Then again, like pre-abtastic Captain America, they’re not built for physical combat. What if Steve Rogers never ended up in the program? What would his story be? He had heart and a strong moral compass, that’s a great origin story regardless of the transformation. 

Potential Genre Adaptations:

Fantasy- This character could have been the scrappy kid on the sidelines always watching the real soldiers head off for battle. However, they might never reach their ideal physique due to illness or bad genetics. 

SciFi– What would it be like to defy the phrase, Survival of the Fittest? If you were born less buff than everyone else on a planet filled with super-soldiers, what would that look like? If this character has heart, it should make up for their lack of muscles. 

The Pizza Delivery Worker

Everyone needs food delivery (especially these days), but what’s their backstory? Being a delivery person gives you eyes and ears into a wide range of people’s lives. You also need to learn how to interact with other humans, be punctual (if you want a good tip), and be proficient at some sort of travel–bicycle, automobile, motorbike. 

Potential Genre Adaptations:

Fantasy- Food delivery amongst royalty? What does the carrot delivery person to the castle have to say? What do they see and hear in the shadows on the way to the kitchens? 

SciFi– An intergalactic food delivery person has me laughing! I would love to see this short story. What’s it like to bring fast food to ships in space? Or, on another planet? When you’re about to ring a doorbell, worrying about aggressive dogs is one thing, lurking beasts from another world is another! What skills would you develop to guarantee your own safety while on the job?

Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Let us know about your suggestion. 


About Author

Heather Rigney is a fiction writer, blogger, journalist, and art teacher based in Rhode Island. Author of The Merrow Trilogy--a dark, historical fantasy novel that deals with homicidal mermaids, the colonial suppression of women, and a present-day alcoholic funeral director trying to make sense of it all. Her writing has been featured in Motif Magazine and Stone Crowns Magazine. By day she teaches art at an all-girls Quaker school and at night she tries to be creative while avoiding too many sweets. You can read more about Ms. Rigney on her website:

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