This week: Know what came before.Edited by: ember_rain
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The first fantasy story I ever wrote was also the first story I ever wrote. It was about some kids that explored a cave only to find a hidden chamber with cave drawings that lead them to a different world. It wasn't all that original but, it was the first thing I ever did that someone praised instead of saying I hadn't applied myself. I was hooked. Today, I write about everything from ancient primordial spirits, to the Fae, to vampires and werewolves. Mine don't hate each other so much as that they have a lot in common.
My goal for this newsletter is to make you think. Help you get outside your box and do something new and original. After all, fantasy is everywhere. Virtual Reality is all about putting people both into their own fantasies but about creating worlds we can all spend time in to exercise our imaginations. One could even argue that there is no such thing as reality as that our impression of life is just our own fantasy.
First and foremost a fantasy writer has to be a historian. Whether you're writing about the fae and vampires or science fiction, if you don't know what came before you can't know where you're going. No science fiction writer worth his salt would write about space without knowing everything they could about possible missions to Mars, mining asteroids, and our research into traveling at speeds close to the speed of light.
So too no writer of Vampires or Were-kind would write without researching different cultures and their beliefs as well as games and ideas that have become cannon in lore. For me, a lot of my work mentions the Gods of Old. Through my research, I found out that Hecate was not merely a dark goddess in the Persephone/Demeter story but a triple goddess in her own right and the only Goddess that was called the Queen of Heaven. Not even Hera got the honor of ruling Olympus with Zeus. That honor went to Hecate. She was there when we were born and there when we died. But, history, the passing down of stories, and the fall of empires brought about the idea she was never more than a dark goddess.
This week, I saw a post by a friend on facebook that was the sharing of a link about the truth of Medusa. She wasn't just some beautiful priestess of Athena, abused by Poseidon and then cursed by her Goddess. No, rather she predates Greek/Roman mythos and can be traced all the way back to early African society. There she was worshiped as a Sun Goddess. You will notice, in most of mythology there is very little about female sun deities. Men could not deny that the earth was female. They begrudgingly called the moon Luna and made her earth's sister but they needed to fit somewhere so they destroyed most of the evidence of female sun deities and claimed the raw power of the sun for themselves.
It is completely understandable. You cannot take men out of the creation story. Women do need them the way the earth needs the sun. But, in order to do this, they had to first demonize the Goddess. So, her snake hair became something to fear rather than dreadlocks or something to represent the movement of the sun's rays. She was made mortal instead of immortal and turned into someone no one could look upon.
All of that happened but not before she made her way into Egypt. She can be seen in Basts headpiece. The sun symbol of Ra prominently in the center of what appears to be snakes. I didn't know any of this. Without knowing this, I would do her story a disservice if I ever used it to help forward something I was writing.
Just as a good science fiction writer would make sure they knew as many tech terms as they could so they sounded like they knew what they were talking about so too should a fantasy writer know the history of fantasy. Mythology regardless of your religious beliefs is first and foremost the first Fantasy stories. It sets the foundation for all of fantasy writing. Before you write, make sure you know of what you write. You never know when you're doing a famous character a disservice because you simply didn't dig deep enough.
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