November 21, 2018, 08:04:39 AM

Author Topic: Does anyone like prophesies in novels?  (Read 874 times)

Offline Skip

Re: Does anyone like prophesies in novels?
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2018, 03:19:44 AM »
I like that idea!
And it could be the people who interpret the prophecy that are wrong, not the prophecy itself

Glad you like it. Alas, that story is about third in line just now.

I'm going to let the validity of the prophecy itself remain ambiguous. Not sure how I pull that off in the story, but that's the goal.

The part that's wrong is the guy. My working title for the book is Tuck the Unchosen. Think of it as if some other dude had pulled that sword out instead of Arthur. And Arthur was still the Chosen One only the other guy--let us call him Tuck--pulled the stupid sword out first and everyone hailed him as the Chosen One. Maybe Arthur just went back to farming but was never really satisfied with his life. Think of all the damage Tuck could do in the meantime.

It's all still in the Kicking Around stage.

Offline BradCarsten

Re: Does anyone like prophesies in novels?
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2018, 01:40:34 AM »
No. I find them too rigid. It doesn't matter what they say, 90% of the time they are going to be accurate which spoils everything. Another problem with the prophecy is that it usually points to a chosen one, and that's another trope that I'm not particularly fond of.
Riftwalkers (The King and Guardian): An Epic Portal Fantasy.

Offline Skip

Re: Does anyone like prophesies in novels?
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2018, 03:17:45 AM »
I like prophecies in novels. It's the ones outside novels that make me nervous.  :-\

(a riff on the classic: Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.)

Offline Justan Henner

  • Barbarian who pronounces are, our and hour all the same way
  • Writing Group
  • Auror
  • ***
  • Posts: 1015
  • Total likes: 546
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Does anyone like prophesies in novels?
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2018, 08:42:48 PM »
I struggle with this one. I have a story I want to write that involves a prophecy, but the wrong guy gets chosen. Everyone around him assumes he's the right person because all the Signs point to him, but he's simply not the right guy.

I know the setup and the conclusion, but it's the prophecy bit that has me stalled. If prophecies are real, then All the Signs cannot point to my hero. A prophecy that's wrong isn't a prophecy, it's just a bad guess. And if the prophecy is right, then it's absolutely iron-clad and there's no story there.
I like that idea!
And it could be the people who interpret the prophecy that are wrong, not the prophecy itself

I like it too. Especially if you wrote it where the other guy was fulfilling the prophecies just sort of in the background, while everyone else is still certain it's the guy they picked. Bonus points if they get increasingly indignant about how right they were, even when things start to go wrong. Sounds like a good comedy.

Offline Neveesandeh

Re: Does anyone like prophesies in novels?
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2018, 09:20:18 AM »
I claim to hate prophecies, but some of my favourite series have used them. The two that spring to mind are the Mistborn trilogy and the Faithful and the Fallen books. But, vague spoiler here, both of them subvert the prophecy.

I guess like anything, a prophecy can be done well, but a big problem might come from the fact that a lot of these prophecies in fiction are just the same prophecy repeated over and over again.

1. There was  Dark Lord who was evil.

2. Dark Lord was defeated, but he'll be back for a rematch soon.

3. Only the Chosen One can defeat him.

The only alternative to this I can think of is when the world has some large collective problem and only the Chosen One can fix it.

Maybe a break from this structure could make a prophecy story much more engaging.

Offline J.R. Darewood

  • aka Duckly Breadgood
  • Writing Group
  • Master Namer
  • ******
  • Posts: 2100
  • Total likes: 1211
  • Gender: Male
  • Zork. And it was all downhill from there.
    • View Profile
    • Nerd Empire
Re: Does anyone like prophesies in novels?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2018, 08:59:10 AM »
If I ever get past my first book, later in the series I'm eventually planning something that's not exactly a prophesy, but someone who gets the ability to see flashes of the future in dreams.  There's one flash in particular that gets feathers ruffled, but its sort of the reverse of the trope where the MC (not really the chosen one) *becomes* the dark lord.  It's somewhat misinterpreted of course, but it does actually happen so it's meant as a hook to both create immediate conflict among the characters and for the reader to wonder how it's going to happen.

I'm reading Brent Weeks atm so I do like the way he uses prophecy-- it gives you an opportunity to see how the seer is sort of betraying his friends to achieve an optimal result in a field of probabilities.

The Augurs in the Licanus trilogy are interesting too (and the time travel bits), making you wonder how things are gonna get so f*ed in such a short period of time.

So yeah, I think it can be a useful device.