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?

Author spotlight

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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