What is the Role of Prophecy in a Story?

In the realm of storytelling, a prophecy is a pronounced prediction that adds intrigue and drives the plot forward. It gives the readers a clue about future events and sets the journey for the protagonist or characters.

The Nature of a Prophecy in a Story

A prophecy in a story is not just a simple foretelling, but often an impetus for the heroes’ quest. Ranging from seeking a magical object to overcoming a significant adversary, these careful revelations keep readers engaged and curious. Prophecies must be written in a way that is simultaneously transparent and mysterious, providing just enough information without giving the entire plot away.

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Elements of a Prophecy

    • Foreshadowing: This is the primary aspect of a prophecy. It hints at future happenings, providing a layer of suspense and eagerness in the minds of the readers. Foreshadowing allows authors to tell readers that something important is about to unfold, without explicitly stating the specifics.
    • Symbolism: Prophecies rarely interpret events verbatim. Using symbols and coded language not only adds depth to the prophecy but also makes it intriguing to decode. It encourages readers to probe deeper into the potential meanings of the prophecy.
    • Vagueness: A good prophecy conveys essential plot points without revealing exactly how they will occur. Vagueness or ambiguity offers room for interpretation, stimulating speculation among the readers.
    • Being Personalized: Personalizing a prophecy to suit the character’s personalities, choices, or appearances can enhance the connection between the character and the prophecy.

The Creation of Prophecy

Creating an effective prophecy requires several steps such as identifying what the prophecy means in a simple sentence, converting characters/events in the prophecy into symbols, making the events less straightforward, adding diverting elements and using personalized elements to suit a character.

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Distinction in Religion

In religious context, prophecy often bears a divine or supernatural connotation. Prophets, individuals deemed with a divine gift, make these predictions which are often viewed as the manifestation of divine will or instructions from a supreme entity.


Writing prophesies can be a distinct challenge. However, it is a crucial narrative device that can deeply impact a story. With careful crafting, prophecies can transform storylines, creating mystery, intrigue and anticipation among readers, enhancing readers’ engagement with the story.

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