Saturday, November 16, 2013

Just Because You Can

There's this weird trope in stories that I come across often enough to remember. It's when a character finds themselves in a position where they can make some very significant action and they tell themselves that because they have the opportunity to make this decision, that they meant to do it all along.

This trope kind of makes sense in storytelling. Stories love to have legends and prophecies, gods and fates, and all manner of ways of saying exactly that a character was meant to do something and basically had no choice. 

The problem is that a lot of stories don't have devices of fate, and in those cases, this trope is unwarranted. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you were meant to do it all along. But it does mean that you can do it. 

Stories with fate are about characters struggling with accepting that they have been chosen to be special. Stories without fate are about characters struggling with the decision of what kind of person they are going to choose to be. 

Both of these are valid and potentially interesting story themes. They are simply effective for different reasons. 

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