Quick, name a Chosen One narrative.
Okay, I’m hearing Star Wars, I’m hearing Harry Potter, Percy Jackson… Did someone actually say Disney’s Hercules?
All right, now name one with a female protagonist.
That isn’t Buffy.
(Leave your answers in the comments.)
Most Heroines– at least the ones of the past 30-ish years– don’t get chosen but rather choose their adventure. Mulan decides to take up her father’s sword and join the Army. Katniss volunteers in place of her sister for the Hunger Games. Merida’s entire story is about how she should have the choice of what her life will be. It’s hardly ever seen in Sci-Fi; Ripley isn’t a Chosen One, neither is Capt. Janeway or Dana Scully or the Doctor’s Companions (pointed stare at Moffat). Chosen Ones tend to deal with prophesies and mysticism and fate, things more often associated with Fantasy.
There’s also more to girls who are Chosen Ones than being princesses with curses, or being Buffy. They follow certain patterns, the same that the guys follow. There are essentially three different types of Chosen Ones; Type One, the kind that has an explicit prophesy attached to them; Type Two, the kind that is chosen by the gods/the universe’s higher power; and Type Three, the kind that simply has a unique power and is “Great Power, Great Responsibility”-ed into being the hero. Types One and Two are the easiest to write, but the hardest to write well due to just how many of them there are, and Type Three works best for serialized stories. I’ll talk some about each of them, with some of their higher profile examples, as well as some writing advice to nail the character arc.