1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    How to tackle a prophecy

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lea`Brooks, May 27, 2013.

    Hello all!

    I'm writing a YA fantasy novel, and I'm having trouble starting my prophecy. Now, the prophecy isn't the story driver (though it very well could be if I could get it down right), but I'd like to have it, as it will help to introduce a semi-important character later on in the series. I've written some poetry in my day, but never tried a prophecy and I'm having trouble starting. I know basically what I want it to say, but.. it's still a task for me.

    So, any suggestions on how to write one? Is there a certain set of rules one should follow when writing a prophecy? How long should it be? I've tried to mimic the professional, to no avail. =(


    Any ideas? =)
    Blessings,
    Lea
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You've mentioned attempts at poetry in your question; thus, I am led to believe you feel the prophecy must be in some sort of poetic form or structure.

    Must it be? That would be pretty limiting to me. I could really only read such a thing once in a story. If it popped up more than once the twee factor would escort me out of the room. Can the characters not just give the elements of the prophecy in their normal speech pattern, interwoven into the dialogue delivery?
     
  3. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    That is a big question...

    Prophetic messages can come in many shapes and sizes, from visions to written records. Most prophecies in books seem to follow the "In the time of x, the great evil x will arrive, and the x (usually end of days) will begin. Only the x (usually hero) whose heart is pure (can be replaced with 'heart is true, virtuous, strong, kind etc.) can stop the evil x and save the x! (Whatever it is that is in danger and needs saving.)

    I get irritated when I read that form letter prophecy in books. Especially when so much of actual human prophecy is told in much more interesting forms. Poems, songs, paintings, have all served as prophetic mediums (or at least imagined prophetic mediums.)

    Just, try and make your's unique and different.

    Hope this helps! :D
     
  4. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    I've been doing that exact same thing in my book, and coincidence, it also happens to be a YA fantasy novel! If you plan on doing a more "poetic" version of a prophecy, i suggest looking at books with prophecies or other poetically structured themes. Example: Redwall, the Tagerrung. (not sure if i spelled it correctly but it is a wonderful read)

    Now, you can do this kind, or you can do whatever style you come up with, but I find this to be the easiest method for me: do only basic rhymes at the end only and keep your rhythm similar for every two lines. It allows a lot of freedom but still keeps that structure that gives it more of a prophetic feel. Here's a clip from mine:

    Born beneath the new moon on the night of the shadowed death,
    Comes the child, born of ice, to be blown away in fate's breath.
    Her gaze shall mirror the Eye, and her heart gifted with wisdom,
    But beware the moss that grows upon the bones who sing a deathly hum.

    That ended up coming from memory as my files weren't cooperating, and I'm sure people will comment that it could be improved, but the message is clear enough in my opinion. Now, this prophecy does not control things in the book, but it does hint at what will come and what will be. My characters find tidbits of it through visions, hearing the dead speak, or finding old tapestries or ruins with tablets. They make their own choices, however, and this prophecy involves many people -namely the Starshade and her Guardians. That adds yet another twist that laves the readers guessing just who is mentioned, so they don't know EVERYTHING that is going to happen and to whom.

    There are also other variables mentioned, such as the "Eye", which is a necklace that the MC wears. Now, your book is your own, but I find that if there are several important items (say, a sword, a necklace, a dagger or a ring) they may be worth mentioning as well.

    Hope my ramblings can be of use!

    -Sydney​
     
  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I don't know if anyone's read the Percy Jackson books or not.. But he relies heavily on prophecies in them, which I really enjoyed. Because he makes them very vague and mysterious, so the characters are all worried that they're going to die or something bad is going to happen, and it ends up working out for them in the end.

    I know it doesn't HAVE to rhyme.. If I could get a solid idea, whether or not it rhymed wouldn't be a big deal. I just wonder if it's easier to make a vague prophecy if it's in a poetic form. I definitely don't want to just say "In year x, bad guy x comes to destroy x."


    Alright, I'll just tell ya what I want it to say. There are these Gods right? Nine of them. Well, one God gets arrogant and starts doing whatever he wants (breaking all the rules and such). The other Gods are like "Aw, heck no" and tell him to stop or face the consequences. Well, he doesn't stop so he gets dethroned and exiled. Well, he's so bitter about being exiled that he starts building an army to destroy the other Gods.

    But then there's a prophecy! The seer of the book delivers a prophecy that basically says, Mr. Destructor God is going to find a wife, and together they are going to destroy the world. But before Mrs. Destructor God comes along, a girl will be born that is stronger than even the Gods and will be strong enough to defeat Mr. Destructor God by herself.

    So then Mr. Destructor God wants to kill the girl while she's young before she can kill him, and the other Gods want to protect her until she comes into her powers so she can kill him (so I guess it's a stage setting prophecy more than anything). I don't just want to come out and say all that though, because I want Mrs. Destructor God and the girl that can destroy Mr. Destructor God to be the same person. So the prophecy has to be able to be misinterpreted by the reader so that they don't see the twist coming.

    It's kinda confusing once I lay it out like that, huh? lol
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keitsumah: That actually was very helpful! That's exactly the kind of thing I'm trying to do. I don't want to prophecy to reveal anything or give it away, just be a hint towards what's to come. Once it gets published, I wanted to put the prophecy alone on the first page and reference it throughout the book. It was one of the first ideas I had and I really don't want to do away with it, but it's such a challenging task. The start of my book is centered around how the events described in the prophecy are starting to happen, so I guess it is KIND of important...

    Thanks again!
     
  7. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    oh man that is a good twist! hmmm.... you could talk about the girl and the wife as if they are two people, but hide little details like -oh they just happened to be born on the same day or something else like that- then, when you do reveal it, it makes sense and everything clicks. I love seeing people when they just realize the twist and their faces .... oh the faces are purrrrfect!

    no problem Lea! I find that helping others is really fun when it comes to these things. Even though I'm only a young writer yet, I can't help it when i feel like a mentor soo... well im a little greedy per say but it helps others so I'm not sure how else to put it :D
     
  8. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    You say that you know what you want it to say. Write exactly what you want it to say, no fluff just write it. Edit it and revise it 'til it is said perfectly. then you can decide what form you should put it in.
     
  9. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    You could also make it sound biblical. Makes it sound more believable to me
     
  10. DeathChamberzMusic
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    DeathChamberzMusic Member

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    What's the form the prophecy is written in and how will it be found and used. is it one prophecy to one clue or a bunch of prophecies that come together
    How easy or difficult should people find the prophecy How obvious or obscure
     
  11. The Byzantine Bandit
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    The Byzantine Bandit Member

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    I'd go for quatrains with a simple AABB or ABAB rhyme structure, like in Bryan Davis' Dragons in Our Midst.
     
  12. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Try googling prophecies in different religions/cultures. It will give you some ideas of how to word things. I also agree with Pheonix. Mix it up and make it interesting. Prophecies are typically very metaphorical. At least the ones I've seen that were not in pop culture but rather legends or religious texts. I like the idea of making it poetic. Sounds like it will be more interesting that way.
     

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