The Dangers of Messing with Destiny
Writing a story that involves prophecy or destiny can get messy. The main problem is that you might end up sounding like every other prophecy that has ever been written. For example, ‘promised ones’ and doomsday prophecies have been done almost to death. What you need to do is branch away from the typical idea of destiny or prophecy. Here’s what needs to be considered.
The promised one
Let’s start with the hero. Forget about the ‘promised one’ idea. It’s been overdone. You do, however, have an alternative, for example you could tweak the idea of the promised one or add a few twists. For example, what if the promised one turns out to be someone other than the promised one, like an unexpected hero? It may inject some comedy into the story but that depends on how you present it. What tone will you use? There could be some random event which changes everything concerning the prophecy and the role of promised one gets given to someone else.
The prophetic event
The event that needs to be prevented could do with an original twist. The world has ended too many times. It’s also been besieged by too many demons. The quest for originality can be really tough sometimes but if you pull it off, you’ll score a lot of points with your readers. In this case, it may not be enough to tweak the idea; you may need to come up with something altogether different.
Where does it happen?
The setting could also do with a change. We’ve seen prophecies being fulfilled in ancient cultures, in alternative dimensions, and in a realistic, easily recognisable urban world. That makes finding a different setting pretty tricky. But think outside the box. Most stories involving prophecies usually involve travelling, so why not make the setting static? The hero has to reach his goal but he doesn’t have to go anywhere else to do it.
Artifact or no artifact
In some stories involving destiny or prophecy there’s an artifact that supposed to help fulfill the prophecy. In many cases the artifact is a sword or a book. Artifacts help drive the story; they give it some purpose. But they can be clichéd. You need to decide if you can create the same sense of purpose without an external tool.
The rest falls into place
As you can see, writing about destiny takes a lot of thinking. Creating a story involving prophecy that’s original is quite an ordeal. But that’s the quest today in the arts. Being original is one of the aspects that need to be focused on when writing a story. There are other issues that go into it, but getting an original idea will help a great deal. If you didn’t have an original idea, you’ll have to work a lot harder to sell the story.
Written by David Hendricks
Image credit: Keoni Cabral, Cc BY 2.0, via Flickr