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Thread: How do you feel about a 'Chosen One'?

  1. #1

    How do you feel about a 'Chosen One'?

    The MC in my WIP would likely be referred to as a Chosen One (though I'm not entirely sure yet if he is or not!).

    I have no issue with this—I think it’s fun to have a singularly powerful character, as long as there are appropriate limits, costs, and balances—but I know there are many fantasy fans who are getting sick of this ‘cliché’.

    What are your thoughts?

    What ideas do you use in your own work to develop a relatable Chosen One, or transform the concept completely?

    I’m happy to give more details about my MC, if anyone is interested.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CupofJoe's Avatar
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    If it's "Chosen" like it is in the Hunger Games? Then I'm all for it.
    Chosen can mean very different things, from a fated life to walking around with a target between your shoulder blades, being revered or reviled or any of a dozen other things.
    It's what it means in the story and to the character...
    Do they know or like that they are the chosen? Would they rather not be so named?
    I don't think I can write a "chosen" hero.
    I tend to have MCs who are almost peripheral to the main event, or at best a small cog in a bigger machine. I like the freedom and distance it gives me to write.
    Gibson: No, I... I have to write some letters first.

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  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by C. A. Stanley View Post
    I think it’s fun to have a singularly powerful character, as long as there are appropriate limits, costs, and balances—but I know there are many fantasy fans who are getting sick of this ‘cliché’.
    I like "singularly powerful" characters but prefer ones who earn it through hard work over the usual chosen ones who are just "gifted" and can access unusual levels of power with little or no training/experience (although they would probably still need a good amount of inborn talent to be far above most others even with a lot of training and experience, but they don't tend to have unique supernatural gifts, just tap into their (exaggerated) physical potential more). My typical MC type is a cute girl who has years of combat experience, carries around a gigantic weapon and can slay kaiju sized monsters in straight physical combat. Rather than being a green kid they're more likely to be the ones calling someone else "kid" although many of my heroines are still in their late teens to twenties, but they're old hands (and full of scars) experience wise. Often they're similar to a big sister/mentor type character in a more standard story, but as the lead.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. A. Stanley View Post
    What ideas do you use in your own work to develop a relatable Chosen One, or transform the concept completely?
    As hinted above mine basically choose themselves. They want to be strong (or to get strong to be able to survive/protect others) so they are. XD
    Last edited by glutton; 4-21-17 at 9:54 AM.
    My heroine fiction blog featuring The Rosy One! http://bklynbill.blogspot.com/

  5. #4
    Basically the MC is born in the right place, at the right time, to the right parents (or is it the wrong place at the wrong time? ). He is chosen only by circumstance (though, that circumstance is intertwined with a 'natural force' that rules magical energy in the world).

    His specific lineage, and the approximate time of his birth (leading up to a time of great global 'stress', in this instance an inevitable, intercontinental war), means he has control of 3 forms of magic rather than one (usual) or two (uncommon). He can hide this if he chooses (once he figures out that he is 'special'), but the position of Terishar is rare, and he feels that for once in his life he may be accepted (the Terishar is seen as an almost mythological figure, revered by some, reviled by others).

    I hope to show the two sides of power, which might be a trope in itself... He has the power to save the world, or destroy it. He will both love his position of power, and hate it. He will be a flawed protagonist (not just too trusting or anything soft like that), and will rely heavily on those around him.

    I totally appreciate your final comment - I imagine it's nice to have that freedom, whereby your MC is involved but not integral. It gives you the opportunity to show events through a wider perspective, and have the MC discover things at the same time as the reader. I haven't written that perspective yet, but I will surely give it a go.

  6. #5
    Great point, power has to be earned or learned. It's difficult to sympathise with a character who doesn't deserve what they have!

    They're great characters--the ones who already have training and proficiency--I just prefer to have them as secondaries, so that my MC can display the same awe that I would myself always useful to have one or two around in case things get messy.

    This cute badass you reference... in the same vein as Sucker Punch, by any chance ?

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by C. A. Stanley View Post
    This cute badass you reference... in the same vein as Sucker Punch, by any chance ?
    Kind of, but more visually obvious and imposing ie. usually scarred up and likely with intimidating looking weapons and/or armor. This is my favored aesthetic (ignore the impractical outfit, I mean more the confidence, weapon size and hint of dirtiness):

    My heroine fiction blog featuring The Rosy One! http://bklynbill.blogspot.com/

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    Senior Member Mythopoet's Avatar
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    I'm fine with it if they've actually been "chosen" by someone or something for rational and compelling reasons. (No, no, teenagers are NOT the right people to select to protect the planet.) Half the time you have a "chosen one" who has been "chosen" by some vague concept or even nothing at all. I hate that. Make it make sense.
    I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly. ~Edgar Rice Burroughs

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mythopoet View Post
    (No, no, teenagers are NOT the right people to select to protect the planet.)
    Cavet: if the teenager is already proven and considered one of the best fighters on the planet (real life example: Mike Tyson at age 19) and what they need is a fighter... although I'd guess that's not functionally the same as the type of teenagers you're thinking of.
    My heroine fiction blog featuring The Rosy One! http://bklynbill.blogspot.com/

  10. #9
    Moderator skip.knox's Avatar
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    I don't have strong feelings about ideas. Plot ideas are to writing what a sketch is to a finished building.

    I react to writing. Write well, and I'm in. Write badly and it doesn't matter how clever or unusual the ideas, I'm out.
    Skip's Writing Tip of the Day: write.
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    Senior Member TheCrystallineEntity's Avatar
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    For me, it depends on how it is used. If it is used as a deconstruction [like in Harry Potter of Tales of Symphonia/Tales of the Abyss] or with clever twists and turns, then I find the premise interesting.

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