The recent post about oracles called up a story idea that I pursued for a while then abandoned because I couldn't work through the logic of it. But I really sort of want to write it, so I'm throwing the raw ideas onto the floor here and inviting the lions in. I have the title: Tuck the Unchosen I have the concept: someone gets designated the Chosen One, but he's the wrong fellow. Hilarity (or tragedy, or both) ensues. The nature of prophecy is what I can't seem to twist into proper story shape. So, the Chosen One appears because of some prophecy of person who is the one to Save The World [tm]. All the circumstances of the prophecy appear to be in place. Tuck bumbles onto the stage and somehow is universally acclaimed as the Chosen One. [sidebar: why isn't it ever the Chosen Two or Chosen Five? Might be a potential there....] One possibility at this point is that the Wise Ones--you know, the ones who recognize the Chosen One as, well, Chosen (because how else are we to know?)--know that he's not the right guy, or they soon figure it out, but for some reason don't call him out on it. So it's a fraud. Another possibility is that it's a gigantic coincidence. This fellow, Tuck, just happens to meet the criteria. He pulls the sword from the stone. He rises from the Kyffhäusergebirge. Whatever is the prophesied event, Tuck appears to fulfill it. But every scenario I come up with cheapens the prophecy itself. It would be easy to say, oh it was all just nonsense in the first place. But a prophecy isn't really a prophecy unless it's true; otherwise, it's just a sad or comic mistake. That's one problem. Another is coming up with a prophecy that sounds legit. Too many prophecies are either vague to the point of nonsensical, or are some (usually rhymed (badly)) bit from some book or other that sounds painfully contrived. At least that's the case with the runs I've made at it. It's all very well to say there's a Chosen One and a Prophecy, but coming up with a prophecy turns out to be more than a little difficult. So I sort of gave up on it. Finally, a third difficulty is figuring out what to do with Tuck. If he really is the wrong guy, and he makes the prophecy come true anyway, then wasn't actually the right guy after all? In which case the title is just a cheap piece of trickery. But if the prophecy doesn't come true, then it wasn't really a proper sort of prophecy at all. To put it another way, if it's a prophecy, then it's a lock. Success is guaranteed, and there's no suspense about it. It's just a script that everyone unwittingly follows. No free will. And if it's not guaranteed, then it's not a prophecy, it's just a guess. I'm not really looking for solutions right now. I've got an entirely different story to write next. But I'd be interested in reactions, responses, etc. Especially the etc.