Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States.
She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend. This moving, often hilarious story is for anyone who has ever shared either fear. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning…. Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal.
The Chosen One
Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world. Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer.
If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war. When Henrietta Howel is forced to reveal her unique power—the ability to control flames—to save a friend, she fears she will be executed. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her.
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Perhaps the character has the right hair color or a nose of the right shape and indeterminate parentage. If the character has some accomplishments, that's even better. Or if you have enough "royal" options, perhaps the grifter simply makes the description fit the character. The most qualified orphan becomes the heir. If that character won't work with the grifter--the next most qualified orphan becomes the heir. One idea would be to use the trick Stanely Kubrik used in his screenplay for The Shining. There was in fact a telegraphed Chosen One, it was obvious who he was, he had the info and skills needed to save the day, and he was killed at the beginning of the third act.
This left the remaining characters to have to try to find a way to save themselves, with their lesser skills. By showing how your hero earns his spoils through work, effort and luck, not prophecy or choosing. If the reader can follow his evolution from ordinary person to hero of the story, and there is no "he's the one" moment anywhere, it becomes clear to the reader that while the hero is extraordinary at the end of the story, he is so because of the journey he took and the decisions he made and the prices he paid.
You can spot such elements in movies like Rocky , which show you the toil and pain and failures! Have your character tell the stories of those around her as if she were a leaf blowing in the wind. The story unfolds from her interaction with the other characters, but the focus is never on her, instead she is the mechanism by which the focus is moved through the intricate weaving of the other characters stories.
Then after having read the story of her interactions we will have learned something about her, not that it is special but she like her encounters is equally relevant. A teacher who recognizes that each student is on his or her own path allows the non-disordered students to play a minor character in the classroom without having to act as if their whole life is unimportant.
If you have a strong narrative thrust and a simple conflict, the Good Guy has to be easily identified. Go read Conan the Barbarian stories. How do you get around this? Other answers have interesting ideas. Probably the biggest and best current example of this is Game of Thrones. Presumably, there's going to be a victor, but at this telling there's no lack of uncertainty among the fan base. You might the call this the. Of course, so far this has taken 7 seasons on TV and six very large books. Are you up for the challenge?
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It takes a lot of effort to establish a credible, sympathetic character who deserves to win. Once you've done that, it's hard to put in the effort to develop another and another and another and There are other possibilities, of course. One is to make the road to victory so painful that you blunt the thrust of the hero's progress. In GOT terms, for instance, you have. Jaime Lannister losing his right hand, Sansa Stark getting raped by her husband s , Arya Stark going through a very rough road to becoming a Faceless Man and arguably becoming a sociopath , and Bran Stark becoming paralyzed.
Not to mention Jon Snow getting stabbed to death. None of the contenders for the throne are unscarred. But this, of course, makes for a messy, nasty story, not a clean one with a clear goal and a virtuous, deserving winner. I think in large part this is due to the fact that we're all the hero of our own stories, and so when we read a story about someone we adopt some of their story where it fits with our worldview. I'm not sure if there's any really interesting way to write a story without at least some of this feeling.
Unless your character is simply an observer, and not really a part of the story. An example I can think of is Bean from Ender's Game. He was a fairly minor character in that book, but in later books he was the hero of his own story. Maybe the reason that it's so tough is just the fact that every single one of us is who we are and nobody else - and while most things we could do could be replaced by someone else who could probably do them just as well, there's the undeniable fact that I'm the one writing this response and it's not anybody else - if it were someone else it would probably be different in some subtle way, and maybe not enough to matter.
I think if you want to avoid that feeling of chosen you'll have to be able to make your conflict such that they literally were just in the right place at the right time and happened to make the right decision You can try adding a twist. Follow the usual pattern, and when the final battle comes, the prophecy is about to be fulfilled - it turns out Maybe even exaggerate the "chosen" aspect a little. Works well for putting emphasis on "overcoming odds", "last minute help" or "extra despair" effect in 1A, 1B and 1C option, respectively.
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If you want to kill the whole Chosen One aspect altogether though, either make sure there is no goal clearly more important than any other events in the story, introduce multiple very important characters or avoid having a single MC throughout the whole story, switching between multiple characters as you progress or move to other character after a few chapters. For example, any slice-of-life story is pretty much immune. It doesn't have to be a mellow story at all, by the way.
I can imagine a SoL taking place on the battlefield during a non-pivotal battle in a long war, following a group of regular low ranking soldiers. Not one of them being protected by a plot armor, no chance of the war ending anytime soon, result of the battle we observe from their point of view not entirely relevant. But you really have to flesh out the characters to make it interesting, I think this really tests ones skill to write deep characters with real personalities. Quite often you can get away with shallow heroes because there's a lot of shiny explosions and flashing lasers - here you have nothing but the characters.
By the way, I recommend checking out a game called The Longest Journey - can't spoil the story, but let's just say it works really well with this whole thing, in my opinion. Including the main heroine contemplating the trope as well. One approach is to give the chosen one a flaw that she must overcome. It is fine if she has ability. I agree with Mason Wheeler; special ability, particularly ability that demands training and attention to sustain, is not the same as being born a prince, or born with more magic than anybody else. Having an innate aptitude for music is great, but it doesn't automatically make somebody a world class violinist or pianist; that takes years of grinding work.
The same thing goes for fighting, the world's best swordsman will undoubtedly have a great aptitude for the task, but isn't born the world's best, and doesn't get to be the world's best without decades of practice. That said, one way to counter the "chosen one" feeling is to give your MC not only a gift, but a curse. Something they are terrible at. Maybe more than one thing, and so much so that this may sabotage their mission.
Alienate their friends. Endanger their comrades. You can make them arrogant, or so self-assured they don't listen to common sense. Let them use their skill to win battles, but make it so they can't win the war unless they can overcome their flaws. Admit they were wrong. Beg for help. Make amends. Reconcile a hatred. Become a better person. Then that becomes the real breakthrough in their story, and the victory over the villain is not just a triumph over the evil of the villain, but a triumph over the flaw in their own soul.
My advice: Look at real-world examples of historical heroes and how they got into that position. I think the answer about Frodo in LotR is excellent, but it basically tells you that the main protagonist should not be a typical hero, but rather someone who is not up for the task, but still tries to. That is only one way to write a protagonist, though a very cool one. But consider that there are real action heroes in history. People who did awesome feats and who are interesting enough to write about. Jeanne d'Arc, Arminius, Alexander the Great In your fictional world, it can be the same without being in any way related to a boring Chosen One stereotype.
It is not a problem to want to write about a very interesting and very capable person who also has a background that made it possible for them to come into the position they find themselves in!
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So I would argue that you do not have to overcome the hero protagonist, but the Chosen One framing of them. And looking at the life of historical figures can help in that regard because these people were not Chosen Ones. Look under which circumstances they rose to prominence, and think how something like that would work in your narrative. Have a bit of happenstance in there, some goodwill from other characters, and frame the special circumstances of her birth as something that was important , but did not make them destined to be a hero.
It's a tightrope walk to be sure. But consider yourself a historian of your fictional world. The reason you are writing about this story is because it is so extraordinary.
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The Thomas Covenant series presents a different way to avoid the "chosen hero" trope. Covenant is a person of many flaws, which never go away not least that he has leprosy. He never forgets his own flaws. Although he moves back and forth between his own world where those flaws are evident, and a fantasy world where he seems to be the hero, he never, ever is comfortable in his "hero" skin when in that fantasy world. He may even be lauded in that fantasy world, he may even be the chosen one in that fantasy world, but he never ever accepts it.
If you want a good example of a hero who lacked any appearance of being chosen for the role, I recommend watching the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. One of the themes was that Ranse Stoddard the hero was only seen as a hero in retrospect, after Liberty Valance had been shot; up until that point he can barely handle a gun, and his only real qualities are a strong sense of justice and the incapacity to shut up about it.
There's a spoiler here for those who haven't seen the movie:. Stoddard isn't the one who shoots Liberty Valance. As Stoddard is facing down Valance, and it looks like Valance is about to kill him, Tom Doniphon shoots him from a nearby alley. Doniphon lets Stoddard take the credit, and for a while Stoddard who shot at the same time as Doniphon believes that he had done it, but Doniphon disillusions him later in the film. However, in a greater sense, Stoddard is the real hero here; he is willing to face evil from a position of weakness, whereas Tom Doniphon faced evil from a position of strength.
I'm going to assume you're not writing 'and so the totally-not-chosen-one was victorious despite overwhelming odds and impossible circumstances. I don't think there's any way an author or director can portray luck that won't be felt by many to be equivalent with 'fated. Write out luck. People talk about Tolkien, and luck certainly plays a part, but think about say, Shelob meeting Sam and Frodo. It had already been established that the greenskins made patrols, it had already been established that Galadriel had some visionary capacity etc etc.
Everything that occurred in the conflict made sense because Tolkien went back and made it make sense, not copping out and saying "hey cool he rolled all 6's" or giving Frodo some magical ability other than a friend loyal beyond all reason. Frodo could well be the inoffensive chosen one, that is, chosen because he and those around him had qualities required to succeed. As opposed to the 'affirmative action' chosen one, who is needs a leg-up from the author in every scene to succeed. We all of course grew up in a world where people have been inventing magical effects, items, potentials for decades, it's hard not to just cop-out and give characters the ability to do the impossible once you've come up with a scene or goal, rather than simply making the scenes possible through you know, writing character interactions and stuff.
You can write a character who reluctantly ends up being a hero by an accidental circumstance of just being in the right place at the right time. Real life heroes aren't "chosen" - most of the time they are just doing their job and a situation of disaster comes to them. Take for example, the pilot Sully Sullenberger who landed a damaged passenger airplane in the East River of Manhattan.
He was a hero to many and received a lot of national press coverage, but he was just a guy doing his job. So to avoid a "chosen" situation, the "hero" is just some person who's doing what anyone would do given the surrounding circumstances and the inevitable outcome of doing the right thing makes that character a hero. The fact is that in the real world there are doers and slackers; fascinating people and dullards. Usually an extraordinary person just pops up out of nowhere.
No-one in their family was particularly famous or skilful. The chosen one by contrast is almost always royalty brought up as an ordinary person and their intrinsic royal qualities shine through and are eventually discovered. This is unrealistic - Royalty is inherited by birth not by ability. In time of crisis sometimes a person of extraordinary qualities will crop up, Winston Churchill and Gandhi come to mind. At other times e. Brexit no-one will rise to the occasion.
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Situations based on an MC where no hero appears simply don't make for good stories - unless we have a charismatic villain. A hero is simply someone who happens to be in the right place at the right time and by chance has the right character to tackle that particular situation to the benefit of others. In some cases they don't even have the perfect set of abilities and have to struggle through by sheer determination. Game of Thrones comes to mind. Every character seems to be important and yet they die with such frequency that you can't ever know which are important enough to make it to the end.
If when u start to write and it always seems like your are going towards the chosen on cliche. Thats cos thats the most primitive feeling we feel. We want to be different and special, and if you are chosen boom no effort you are already different. So you have to question your roots and mould a different personality when ever you write, as the details are just adding onto the personalities of your characters and their fusion. So u need to set the personality of the story, place, setting..
The overall feel. There are a lot of stories and, movies where its not a chosen one situation. Like forrest gump, it feels very personal and not choosen at all. So think abt who is writting, what does he want to be. Cos thats what he is writing. Not to be confused with Giving the Sword to A Noob , where there is someone clearly more qualified that is able to do the job.
Cale: For your information, I happen to be Humanity's last great hope. Preed: I weep for the species. It is written: Only Link can defeat Ganon. Prophetic stone head: "The wheels of prophecy e'er turn, Gorion's ward hath come. Crossroad of past, present and future, The one foreseen, the one foretold. Fry: "So I really am important? How I feel when I'm drunk is correct?