I am in the beginning stages of my story and am stuck on whether I should make my protagonist an orphan or not. I know it is easier for the protagonist to cut ties and live out their adventures when they are orphans, but it is rare to see parents alive in contemporary fantasy books so I don't want to "jump on the bandwagon" so to speak. For a little background information, my story is set in an alternative reality in which werewolves exist and the world progressed based on alchemy rather than other sciences. Alchemy is a science but also has a bit of magic to it as well. The story is set in the United States, which was once one of the leading world powers but fell after a terrible economic downfall. Years later, the alchemists discovered a substance in American soil that could be used as a superconductor for alchemy, and their land possessed 70% of that mineral, giving them an edge which helped them regain power. The country is still in its reconstruction stage. Werewolves, who protected the country from invasion while it was too weak to defend itself, are no longer needed, and the territories that they once lived on have been taken over for mining. The tension between the humans and werewolves became worse over time as werewolves lost territories, fell into poverty, and now mostly work in the dangerous mines. I toyed with the idea of making my main heroine an orphan, her parents the victims of a massacre that occurred in her childhood home, a werewolf commune on the outskirts of a metropolis. I thought that her parents being dead would reflect the times in that many werewolves living outside of the designated metropolises are subject to harsh discrimination and violence. But now I am wondering if I should keep her parents alive. Are your protagonist's parents alive? Why did you choose to keep them alive at the beginning if so? Which do you prefer and why?