Mangling Myths

Or, how to be original when everything has been done already.

I was worrying out loud to Amanda and Sarah about being original, and they both teased me about it. We talked about how you can take material, and make it your own, and sometimes even better than the original. Sarah pointed out that Patricia Wentworth had lifted a plot wholesale from Dame Agatha Christie, and had done beautifully with it. And I think we can all come up with authors who paid homage, or wrote fanfiction with the serial numbers filed off well enough to tell a good story of their own.

While I have no urge to do either of those things, it is comforting to know I need to worry less about creating something entirely new than giving readers what they want. With Pixie Noir and Trickster, I was trying to write within a style, to blend Noir with the urban fantasy I actually enjoy. Not the sex in leather pants stuff, but the magic unseen behind the modern facade. It was a lot of fun.

Right now I’m working on the sequel to Vulcan’s Kittens, which means mythology. My own take on it, which mingles all the myths, pointing to a common root in them, ever-living beings with a very scientific background. I had fun writing the first one, and now that the plot of this book has snapped into focus, I’m rolling right along with it and enjoying it immensely.

In order to mangle my myths into something mine, I needed to know them better than I had. I had gotten a copy of Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Beresford Ellis, and I started to research the specific mythic figure I chosen for a central role, Mannanan Mac’Lir. But to my amusement, while I was looking at the foreword, I discovered that perhaps my fictional creation was not so far off after all. Oh, I don’t mean the parallel world and advanced science. But it seems that Celtic myth and Indian myths have a lot of common roots.

Read More at Mad Genius Club (including a snippet of the work in progress)…


4 responses to “Mangling Myths”

  1. Some of the best stories I’ve ever read have been lifted wholesale from older or other sources. I’ve read multiple versions of the Anabasis for example, or the Odyssey. So, I don’t see a problem using a well known story and making it your own.

    1. There are only so many plots… and the good ones hold up to repeated use, fortunately.

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