Story Starter Trope Twist: The Chosen One (Part I)

Voice is a hard thing to pin down, but it’s what gives each story its special zing. That’s why similar concepts written by different authors can be wildly different and uniquely entertaining.

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of overused tropes, especially in YA. But sometimes a little twist is all it takes to put a fresh spin on an fatigued format. Three Swoon authors (including yours truly) were tasked with taking an old tale and putting their unique stamp on it. Today's trope? The Chosen One.

An added challenge? We had to write the opening to the whole story in 150 words or less.

Take a look at how everyone interpreted the challenge!

Helvetica by Temple West

My name is Helvetica Bleu, but you can call me the Chosen One. According to my attic-dwelling, hookah-smoking grandmother, I am destined to save the world.

Unfortunately, she might be right. I can do magic. Not cute little feather-floating magic, I mean heavy-duty stuff. On my fifth birthday, I went to blow out the candles and accidentally blew out the power for six blocks. We’ve had to move. A lot.

Gram loves me, but she keeps me at arm’s length. Thinks I’m a changeling. Her granddaughter in name, but not in blood. She took one look at me and decided I was destined for great and terrible things, like saving the world, and possibly competing on a baking show. She confuses me with my sister sometimes.

But how, exactly, am I supposed to save the world? Gram shrugs when I ask. Details, details. 

The Key to Her Stomach by Kimberly Karalius

The council chose Bridgit because she kept secrets. They pulled her into the stone wall surrounding the village.

“The Man in the Red Hat is here,” said the eldest councilman, stroking his beard. “He’s looking for this. You need to hide it.” He handed her a silver key the size of her pinkie finger.

She asked for a glass of warm milk. With three mighty gulps, she swallowed the key with the milk and felt it slide down into her belly.

Bridgit left the village the same day. Fires broke out behind her. The stone walls crumbled. The Man in the Red Hat caught up with her on a dirt road three days later with a knife suited for gutting fish.

“Where is the key?” he demanded.

Bridgit coughed until her throat went raw, but what slid back out was not a key but a sword.

 The Chosen One by Danika Stone

There were things that you didn’t talk about. Things that frightened people in ways scary movies didn’t. Made them stare at you until it hurt the inside of your chest.

Knowing was one of them.

Liam had asked his teacher about it.

“There’s nothing to it,” Ms. Miles said with a laugh. “I mean, it happens, yes, but there’s a reason.” 

“Like what?”

“Our brains record at a slightly slower rate than events occur. Throw a blip into the system and–Bam! It’s like you’ve seen something before.” 

Liam’s eyes widened. “Have you?”

“No, dear. It’s a formatting error, no more special than your phone closing an app by mistake.” She ruffled his hair. “Make sense?”

“I guess so…”

Liam wanted to argue, but he also knew that Ms. Miles had exactly three weeks left to live. Given that, it seemed the wrong thing to say.

Now it's your turn! How would you interpret the "Chosen One" trope in 150 words or less?

About the author - Temple West

Temple West, debut author of the YA paranormal romance Velvet, is as nerdy in real life as she is on ...

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8 comments on "Story Starter Trope Twist: The Chosen One (Part I)"

Michelle K. Pickett on July 18, 2017, 1:47 p.m. said:

Michelle K. Pickett

"In Fear of Her"

They feared her. Hulking guards with biceps larger than her thighs, who towered over her like hundred-year-old oaks. And her—chained in a cell at the end of the hall. But still, they feared her.

As children, my brothers and I were told stories about her as we sat around campfires. The crackle and hiss of burning wood answered by the haunting calls of loons nesting on a nearby lake. Chills ran up our spines like fingernails chafing our skin. And we feared her without ever laying eyes on her. Without really believing that she existed.

But we believed now. Everyone did.

Her birth was foretold. Her mission laid out. She’ll cleanse the earth with fire and blood. Wash away the impurities and disease. Sins. Lies. The evil things we do when we think no one is watching.

Think you’re immune? Think you’re pure? Think you’ll survive?

Think again.

Michelle :)
The Stock

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Pamela Delupio on July 18, 2017, 9:33 p.m. said:

Pamela Delupio

Yo have a knack for some brutal concepts. I totally mean that in a positive way! LOL I'd read it ;)

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Michelle K. Pickett on July 19, 2017, 5:23 a.m. said:

Michelle K. Pickett

Ha! Thank you. :) Another writer friend said she'd hate to live in my head--that it'd give her nightmares. I said, "What? Me? I'm all rainbows and unicorns in there." LOL!

Michelle :)

I can't get any of the comments to expand so that I can read everyone's posts. That's never happened before.

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J.M.Colbert on July 18, 2017, 2:24 a.m. said:


When Heathcliff went to bed that night all he had been thinking about was the math quiz he had forgotten to study for, it was in his mind so clearly that it showed up even in his dream. In the dream, he was in a space ship, out the window was a million stars. Not constellations or planets, just the cosmos endlessly waiting. He glanced to his watch wondering if he still had time to study for the quiz. The minute he looked from the window, gravity seemed to get the best of him and his head spun, his socked feet slipped on the smooth floor. Heathcliff fell, toppling into a bookcase on his way down. A large green book hit him the eye and the pain was sharp and real. Not like a normal dream.

Behind him, a voice rang out, “Really this is the chosen one?”

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HxH on July 17, 2017, 4:54 p.m. said:


I was so sure I’d see my name on the paper that my brain burned it over other letters, wrong and foreign and confusing, seemingly floating out of order and off the page as my whole life ticked to a halt.
Allison Hawthorn.
Allison, who flunked nature studies. Who ditched training sessions. Who wouldn't appreciate this opportunity. It had to be a mistake. Why should Allison of all people be chosen to represent Earth? If Novatre wanted to educate a human about their world, to let one of us walk among them and be the first to study their biology, their history, their geography…why her?
I crumpled the paper in my fist. Technology had gotten it wrong. But no one would have to know it wasn’t supposed to be Violet Tearley on the scan; that it wasn’t Violet Tearley who matched the faulty algorithm.
The mission to Novatre was mine.

I decided to make my character steal the role of chosen one rather than have it unwillingly thrust upon her. The conflict and consequences of stealing someone else’s destiny and discovering she’s bitten off more than she can chew would be awesome to write. Pair her up with a hot co-ambassador in a cool alien atmosphere and we’ve got a story cooking.

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Pamela Delupio on July 17, 2017, 5:27 p.m. said:

Pamela Delupio

Well done!

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HxH on July 17, 2017, 5:28 p.m. said:


Thanks! This was a fun writing exercise.

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Pamela Delupio on July 17, 2017, 2:54 p.m. said:

Pamela Delupio

Every person on this Earth would like to believe we’re special. But when you find out you truly are it’s more frightening than you could imagine.

I was sixteen when something in my blood was awoken. Suddenly, I could move things with my mind. I kicked a tree in anger, and it flew a hundred feet into the air. I fell off my roof trying to fix the cable signal, and when I threw my hands towards the ground I never felt the impact. I flew upwards instead.

When my mom witnessed me flying, she finally told me the truth. My father, who I never met, was in fact not from a distant land but a distant world. The message he left my mother was this: I am a gift from his kind to solve humanity’s ills. But I am just one little girl. Can I truly change this world?

That was super fun!!! :)

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