Twice a month our merry band of scriveners gathers at the local Applebee's to discuss matters of state. These meetings usually start out well enough, but usually devolve into raucous (and often ribald) dialogues. I have been told that this happens, more often than not, when I arrive, though I doubt the veracity of this (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Be that as it may, at this last meeting we fell into the topic of how we all were experimenting with plots outside the norms for our particular genres. I don't remember how we got to this particular point (beer may or may not have been involved), but the underlying truth of the matter remains. Each of us is trying to break out of the conventions found in our particular genres.
If you've been reading my blogs at all, then you'll know that I write mainly fantasy. It isn't the only genre I dabble in, but it is the one I enjoy most. Now, my dear reader, please be aware that I'm going to make a few generalizations that in no way are intended to encompass the entirety of the genre. That being said, I will posit that the overall theme of a majority of fantasy novels is "farm boy becomes king". There are hundreds of variations on this theme ranging from the little boy who lives in the cupboard under the stairs to the Roma learning to be the greatest magician of his time to the orphan girl learning to be akin to a deity. All of these follow a similar path and for a logically good reason. It works.
Yet, I have never been one to follow the tried and true path. I know that is hard for some of you to believe, but it is true. No. No, really, it is true. If everyone is going straight, then I'll usually go left. Thus, when it came to my novel, I had to find another way. As I am fond of telling people, there are three books encompassing the story of how my main character came to be where he is at the start of the current book. I never intend to write those books. I have them plotted out (more or less), but they are nothing more than backstory. I allude to their storyline throughout the novel I did write (and am currently re-writing), but they are comprised of the story that everyone has already seen a thousand times over. Where I really begin is what happened next. Yes, poor little Darby learned to face his fears and killed the villain - if only by a terrible stroke of luck - and got the girl. Happily ever after is a cop out in my mind, so we begin the actual series ten years after those events. It is true that this also has been done, but not often. I am hoping that this tactic takes my story down narrow and less travelled paths in such a way that readers are willing to follow.