Monday, April 1, 2013

Mythical Monday (5)


It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

This week we have:
Paranormal, Humor, and Mystery author Adrienne Jones
Talking of Angels.


Melting Pot

The best thing about using myths and legends in fantasy fiction is there's really no wrong way to do it. We hear a lot of talk about artists 'reinventing' certain established legends, mythical creatures and folklores. But myths by their nature are not a solid thing. Myths are fluid, they have variations from culture to culture, details that change based on religion or region, and an ever compiling series of add-ons collected through time and interpretation.

In my novel The Hoax and the recent sequel Teeth of Gods, I chose to play around with angel mythology. The roots are deep and wide with these mythical creatures, and like fairies, vampires, ghosts and other big time players in fantasy fiction, you're not working with a single blueprint. By choosing an established myth, you're already starting with a used car. You can change the bumpers, replace the engine and add some bling, create your own custom hybrid, but some of the original framework has got to stay in place. Despite the huge emphasis on avoiding clichés and twisting your artistic vision into a unique shape, you chose to play with an established myth, and that means your base building blocks are borrowed from past ideas.

So what are you going to keep and what are you going to toss out, change, take apart and put back together? Research of past interpretations creates the foundation, but it's the imagination of the author that twists all this rusty old metal into a new shape. Angel mythology exists in historical writings around the globe, including most religions, and while there are similar threads running throughout, it varies greatly. The wings didn't show up in artistic interpretations until around the 4th century – so do you use the wings, or ditch the wings? Do you go with a religious fiction or science fiction theme? I always loved the old Prophecy films, but knew from the start that I wanted to veer away from traditional religious mythology when it came to my characters. No Lucifer, no falling from Heaven and the like. While the crux of their background includes breaking through from an alternate existence, I wanted my characters' story to be less magical and more visceral, violent, and closer to our reality.

My fictional hybrids don't exactly lean toward the Chariots of the Gods spectrum, but there is definitely a more alien, science fiction basis to their origins. But that doesn't mean the more popular myths and legends of angels are not included at all, I simply chose only the aspects I could work into my unique story angle. The parts that didn't fit got tossed in the scrap bin, or melted down and reshaped to fit.

So while we strive in mythological fiction to create something unique, to reinvent, we're paying homage to previously established ideas about the legends we choose to write about. Something about them lures and fascinates, and that's what motivates us to take them on. It's a risky choice but a challenging one, to present an ancient idea in a new light. You risk trampling on clichés and trudging through an oversaturated swampland of like-minded concepts. But the longevity of such myths, the fact that they have remained and morphed through the ages means they still hold interest to the masses, and that's the benefit on the flip side of the challenge.

I had a great time ripping apart my mythological used car and building something new from things found in the literary junk yard. And when I look at the final product, I like what I see. Of course the final challenge is hoping others will pick it out of the lot, drive it home and enjoy the ride...or the flight, depending on whether you added those wings or not. Either way, you've just tossed your coins into the mythological melting pot, and only time will tell what comes of it. With any luck, it will endure – even if it gets scrapped for spare parts.  


You can Find Adrienne Jones:
Facebook:  Adrienne Jones
Twitter:  @adrienne_jones




20 comments:

  1. Great idea for a post Melissa. I enjoyed reading about what other authors use for inspiration or idea-sparkers.

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    1. Thank you Cat Montpelier. Glad you liked the post! :) I really love the idea and hearing what authors think and twist to make their stories. :)

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  2. The Hoax/Teeth of Gods have my favourite take on angels I've ever read, hands down. <3

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    1. Skyla, you are another that kills my TBR pile. I need to get these so bad. :) Thank you!

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    1. Oh Adrienne! You are so welcome! And thank you for agreeing to do the post! It's amazing and the exact reason why I started this guest post meme. :) Thank you!

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  4. Oh I like it when authors make new creatures for us to get to know. Sometimes all those spare parts make for good backgrounds as well! :)

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  5. Fun idea for a post! That's one reason why I adore myths...they are so open and fluid. :)

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    1. Thank you Carole Rae! So glad you like the post idea. :) There will be one every Monday for as long as I have authors to post. :) The myths can be anything we want them to be. :)

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  6. Sounds unique I love authors you create new things, and I have heard good things about this series.

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    1. Wonderful Kimba! I'm so glad you had heard of these books too. :) I love when things are twisted a different and new way for us to absorb and love. :)

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  7. What an absolutely fantastic post! I love everything she says about reinventing the wheel. It's so very true and why some stories work and why others don't. Thank you so much for sharing! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

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    1. Jaclyn Canada, I have to agree with you on this post. 100%. Adrienne has said exactly why I started doing these. :) Thank you!

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  8. I love new things authors' can come up with. That's what makes reading fun. We are at the whim of the author's imagination.

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    1. Jennifer Bielman, and I'm A-okay with being at the whim of the authors imagination. :) Thank you!

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  9. I don't understand why people get mad because they change what we know about certain characters. They do have variations all over the world and each author is free to make the characters fit into their story. No one is forcing them to read anything. I like finding new characters and rules in every story.

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    1. Rivie Bleu, I know! I love when things are changed. It brings a new view and excitement to the world and ideas. :) Thank you greatly!

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  10. This is an excellent post. I love hearing about an author's thought process. While angels don't really appeal to me much, at least not the ones I've read about so far, I like Adrienne's approach to using myths.

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    1. Bea, Adrienne is a perfect example as to why I started doing these posts. And you never know, maybe Adrienne's take on angels could work for you, or not, but with the changes each author does, it opens so much for for the readers. :) Thank you!

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