As part of my preparation for my current work in progress, I have searched the web for similar ideas a bit, just to make sure I’m not producing a carbon copy of anything else. In the process of dispelling my fears on that account, I noticed something I’d seen before, that I think is worthy of comment. Namely, the particular YA female verson of the “chosen one” archetype story.
You don’t have to actually read this kind of story to notice it. I’ve read it before, of course, but I also see it in many different blurbs. It often contains elements like this:
1. The main female character is different from everyone else, due to special abilities or special linage, or both. She may begin her story with varying degrees of knowledge, or lack of knowledge, about her uniqueness. Whenever she does find out, however, she often chalks it up to being something wrong with her.
2. Often part of the process of her finding out her specialness involves a mysterious male character who knows more about her abilities than she does herself showing up and becoming her guide to the new “world of specialness” that she now finds herself a part of. He and she become attracted to each other, which complicates whatever romantic/possible romantic relationships existed in her life prior to that point. However, her relationship with the guide is often conflicted because, while she is naive about her abilities, she tends to be more special than her guide.
3. She discovers that her specialness puts her in a unique position to save the world as she knows it, making her greatly in demand by both leaders of the specialness world and villains alike. Perhaps she’s already been selected for mission XYZ because she’s the only feasible candidate. She didn’t chose this destiny, and it bothers her.
4. Throughout her process of discovering this, she will never, ever ever, confide in her parents or primary caretakers about what’s going on. Instead, she may confide in her best friend, or even her potential boyfriend. Should she chose to do so, her friend will instantly believe her, after maybe a few token comments of “I can’t believe this is happening but wow!” only to join her as an ally till the very end, when the villains or powers that be must snatch them from her so she can deal with the climax on her own.
5. Her specialness puts those she loves in danger as the villains use their evil powers over her family to get to her.
Obviously this isn’t in every female centered YA story out there, but I’ve seen it more than I expected, and I’ve wondered, is it over all good or bad? Parts of it, like the creepily all knowing male guide, I definitely have some issues with, but I see the value in female empowerment stories as a whole, and it certainly doesn’t do any harm for teenage girls to read about finding inner specialness. But the question I have is: Has this particular type of so called “female empowerment” story been way way way over done, or is there still room for more? Anybody have any ideas on how to make it a bit more realistic? Let me know.