Ancient PropheciesA Lesson by Dusty
Prophecies are a dime a dozen in fantasy novels. Learn how to make yours stand out....
To write a fantasy, it is usually best to avoid prophecies and ancient lore or predictions, because while it may add to the story, it also has the potential to destroy it. Real life isn't predictable, and how many prophecies have you known to actually come true? Granted, this is a fantasy, but what makes a fantasy book great is the fact that it can be thought of as real. Am I confusing you yet? I hope not...
Anyways, if you think a prophecy is needed for your fantasy story, then allow me to give you a bit of advice.
1.) Don't make it predictable. "There will come a son of Adam speechless from the mountains to slay the Great Dark Lord that hath done some evil deed unto the Fated One" is not a prophecy, but a summary of your story. If you HAVE to use a prophecy in your story, make it vague, and your character can have an interesting time making out the impossibility of the prophecy.
2.) Do not try to make the character fight against the prophecy when we all know it will happen anyways, that is just a boring waste of pages in your book.
3.) Remember that if your protagonist knows who is the prophesied one, most likely the antagonist knows as well. Plan your story accordingly, unless your antagonist is a blubbering idiot. =P
5.) Include a debate. A prophecy has many open sides, especially if you make it vague like it should well be. Perhaps there is more than one person who fits the qualifying features of the Fated One, maybe they form sides. Confusion and disagreement among one side while they are still fighting another would make for great conflict and emotion.
6.) This is just a warning. If you include a prophecy in your fantasy story, the ending is already written in stone and predictable if you follow the prophecy as it usually is. Don't make your protagonist seem like an idiot by making them surprised by the time they finally fullfill the prophecy. Whatever the reader knows, by the end the protagonist should know it as well. If the prophecy says that someone will die, perhaps even the protagonist themselves, you can incorporate that into your story. A great sense of realization and dread or acceptance and courage with a small dose of dark self-pity could make a great conflict in your protagonist as they decide whether they are willing to pay the price of the prophecy.
7.) Remember, prophecy automatically eliminates surprise in a story if you plan on having it come true. Don't make yourself seem stupid by trying to surprise the reader in the end even though the entire story has been about the prophecy and the reader knows fully well how it will end.
Now, prophecy does not have to make a story predictable. A prophecy tells the reader the beginning and ending of a story, but not the middle, and that is what really makes the story count. Nobody wants a sandwich of just two slices of bread, they want to taste the meat in the middle, have thick slices of cheese that can combat the taste of meat. Make your sandiwch a triple decker. Put so much in between the already predicted beginning and end that the reader forgets it is there.
Added on December 23, 2009
Last Updated on December 23, 2009
Crown Point, IN
AboutHey everyone! My name is Aly. I am 15 years old and live with my mother and brother in a house with our 7 pets. We have two cats -Matti and Amber, a dog- Skunky, a hedgehog- Harley, a hermit crab -Aug..