I was looking for something to blog about today and couldn’t think of anything. Than got me thinking about this weekend when I was trying to work through a story component and couldn’t move any further. In the end, I solved it because I started thinking on certain things and that led to some story ideas that I had been pursuing and before long I was ping ponging between plot points, ideas, and myths until I had the whole scene figured out.
Now, what was I thinking about? Mythology. What kind? I’ll get to that in a minute. The first point I want to make is the value of those stories that came before us. Way before us. Everything from Beowulf to to fairy tales to Olympus. A lot of these are tales we’ve been telling for thousands of years, but everyone puts their own twist on them. Their’s an idea that a lot of writers try to tell new writers, and I know that it’s something I’ve taken to heart since I am still trying to leave the nest. Nothing is new. Every story has been told, all you can do is put a twist on things. You can make it fresh, you can invert things, you can add things, you can mix things, but there are just only so many ideas.
And even better, you are not going to be able to duplicate anything. Even if you were to try and flat out rip someone off (don’t do that) it will be tainted by your own experiences and ideas. Your imagination. How you perceive the world.
And that’s what I did the other day. I know that this particular character is involved with certain aspects of Christianity, particularly an angel. Now, don’t misunderstand, I am not saying Christianity is mythology. Far from it. But, and this is a big but, we do have a mythology in our religion. For every book of the Bible, there is one that was considered noncanonical. And there is some fascinating stuff to be found in these stories. Type in the Grigori in Wikipedia, it will blow your fucking mind. Beyond that you have certain aspects of Catholicism, various sects that are forgotten now, who thought things about Christianity that would now be considered heresy. As Christianity developed, was ingrained into cultures, people’s beliefs merged together. Going even farther, you have several Islamic and Jewish tales and ideas about the Old Testament that many Christians are not even aware of, let alone believe.
Don’t just think about the simple stuff. A lot of our fantasy is based on folk tales and European mythos. The Dark Ages and a few of the commonly known mythologies. There is so much out there to dig around in. There are tales you don’t know about. Type Alchemy, Seraph, the Arabian Nights, and Dreamtime into Wikipedia. I guarantee you that you will have some interesting reading and these types of things help stimulate your imagination.
What a lot of people forget, is that our society today is watered down by logic and science and reason. I think it is hilarious when people talk about what we believe now as being silly. Scientology ain’t got shit on what people thought about Zeus and Christianity is barely even comparable to Catholicism in the days of Luther. We have never been as bad, as bloodthirsty, as crazy, as paranoid, as any of our ancestors have ever been. To be honest, we couldn’t even begin to hold a candle to these people. The human race has thought, worshipped, imagined, and believed things that are ripe for fiction. Lore that has been told and taught for hundreds of years, hones through dozens of generations.
You can’t make this stuff up. And you don’t have to. Someone already has. Use it.