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.
This week we have:
Urban Fantasy & Young Adult author
Talking of Vampires.
I’ve often said that any treatment of a folklore/mythological/fairtytale creature says more about the interpreter than about the creature itself.
A good myth is a shapeshifter, or, more precisely, a screen upon which the storyteller projects her own deep-held ideas. Any good monster, mythological or otherwise, can be revisited again and again, each form speaking volumes about the artist and the cultural medium s/he is swimming in.
Take, for example, vampires. They’ve embodied the deep-seated fears of the Victorian era (Dracula and Carmilla, in their different ways), ambivalence about technology (the Horla), wish-fulfillment fantasy (Twilight), sexual transgression (too many to count), raging against mortality and loneliness (Lestat), dreamlike cannibalistic family secrets (the Scarabae), fears of modernity and the paradoxical fear of the past (Don Simon Ysidro), and—well, the list is well-night endless.
A Standup Dame and the small, fragile, imperiled child of the upcoming Fireside Magazine story Maternal Type. My first YA series hinged on hate-filled, murderous vampires and their half-human children, locked in a seemingly-eternal battle. There’s even vampires in The Damnation Affair, though you’d have to scratch off a little of the dust and zombies to find them.
I have a couple theories about what makes vampires such Protean creatures. The one I like best is that the mineral traces of the myth—blood, decaying corpses, a loved one reaching from beyond the grave to drain the living—are buried in the deep rich soil of universal human fears and experiences. (I won’t tell you some of my other theories. Not just now.)
To be a storyteller, or indeed any kind of artist, is to drive a taproot into that dirt and soak up those traces. Much of how any artist approaches a monster depends on the shape of their seed, and the particular traces in the cultural soil they’re rooted in. The end result are flowers fantastical, strange, grotesque, or luminous, but you can tell they’re all related. The next iteration of your favourite monster may well just be another strain of flora in the jungle.
In the end, all monsters are fun to play with when you’re writing a story. But be careful.
Some of them bite.
Lili Saintcrow was born in New Mexico (which probably explains everything, given the nuclear testing) and spent her childhood bouncing around the world as a military brat. She fell in love with writing in second grade and has done it obsessively ever since. She currently resides in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her children, dogs, cat, and assorted other strays, including a metric ton of books holding her house together.
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