Monday, October 8, 2012

BEND IT DON'T BREAK IT (using mythology in your story)

See, here is the problem with being the Monday Word Whore, you have to directly follow up Jeffe's brilliant posts.

That being said, I love this topic because I love to play around with mythology. I have been a mythology fan since I was a wee child and found Bulfinch's Mythology in a set of book and encyclopedia we had at home. I read that book cover to cover, my little mind sparking and firing. Ancient gods were like superheroes to me. I mean there was an automatic connection for me with Thor being a Marvel Comics superhero AND a Norse God of Thunder.

I dug on the Greek and Roman mythology. It was cool. Hercules did some stuff that tripped my trigger, and Perseus had a great adventure. I really like the godlings (half god/half human offspring, usually sired by that horndog Zeus who couldn't keep it in his pants. I mean a LOT of ancient Greek chicks fell for that "Let me show you my thunderbolt" line)

But then I turned the page and found the Norse.

Thor, Loki, Odin, Freya, Sif, Baldur, Vikings, Ragnarok, Valhalla, Valkyries, berserkers, and all the other things that went with it, now THAT was the stuff. I loved it. Still do. These are things that are rooted deep in my writer DNA. You will see them pop up over and over again. I have two stories in my head, one where the ancient gods fled earth and are now back to cause mayhem and another with Thor told as a sword and sorcery all Robert E. Howard style.

I also love Biblical "mythology" and play with it a LOT in the Deacon series. I twisted the story of the Crucifixion and the legend of Longinus, the Centurion who pierced Christ's side, to give my vampires a new origin. (read book one BLOOD AND BULLETS) I did no disservice to the history, just spun a terrific little "what if" that became one of the coolest things I have written (IMHO).

My newest WIP is based in a newer mythology though. It's taking it's start in the Lovecraft Mythology, Cthulhu, Dagon, Azathoth, and Nyarlathotep all show up. It's a lot of fun and I am twisting that mythology HARD. :)

Myth can be a great place for story ideas, things you can pick up and run with, but it's also something you should read to  understand STORY. Almost every genre story is a hero cycle. If you want to know what the hero cycle is all about then read mythology, that's where it's based from. Plus, you get the best monsters from mythology. Write me the story where Cerberus gets loose and Hades has to come up and find him. He comes up to this world and discovers the modern world and modern women, falls in love with a Humane Society worker after centuries of separation from Persephone.

On second though, scratch that, I'll keep that idea. :)


  1. That is the cutest picture of Cerberus I have ever seen in my life.

    My feelings on mythology are these: as long as we're still playing with it, it's still alive! And while it lives, it's only natural that it should suffer from revisions and twists and turns and changes. The Greeks and the Romans and the Norse did it! But um. That doesn't mean it should be a crappy story (Clash of the Titans remake, for example).

    1. Though if you think about it, the original Clash of the Titans wasn't much better - it messed up the Greek stories terribly and mixed them up with Norse mythology on top of it. I'm not sure what it is about Pegasus that makes movie directors ignore the story. I mean...Pegasus was born from Medusa's body when Perseus chops her head off - but I suppose a flying horse is more interesting than flying shoes. *shrugs*

    2. Not that the original Clash of the Titans was any better - it was a hot mess from the standpoint of sticking to the original story. (Not to mention it nicely mixed some Norse mythology in there too.)

      I've never understood why movie directors insist on messing with Pegasus here tho. Pegasus springs from Medusa's neck *after* Perseus cuts off her head, so.... (guess a flying horse is more interesting than flying shoes tho. LOL)

  2. Aww shucks, Tuck! Now I feel all warm and fuzzy. And I read that exact same version of Bullfinches Mythology (I'm betting), which I picked up at used book sale and inhaled that same day. It's still on my shelf, too. :D

  3. OMG, you have to write that Hades/Cerberus story idea. Now. Go on. I'll wait.

    I feel like a toad because I never read Bulfinch's. I got addicted to mythology when I discovered D'Aulaires Book of Greek Mythology in the school library. I just kept checking it out, over and over, all year long. Man, that following summer I went through withdrawals.