On Writing Mytho-Poetic Works

It is not necessary for the underlying mythology to be published in its own volume for a work to be mythopoetic in nature. But it is important that the underlying mythology exist, first of all. It should be coherent and accessible. And inasmuch as that mythology exists in a form in accord with its own nature, the mythopoetic work gains in stature.

And this is what I mean when I say that few writers today have truly endeavored to create a work of mythopoeia. Few grapple with their invented mythologies on its own terms. Few fully explore the depth and implications of their mythology. Few follow it to its natural conclusion.

That’s because mythopoeia isn’t an easy art. This is hard stuff to write. Because it isn’t just back-story. An invented mythology needs an invented people. Okay, yeah, and fantasy writers deal with that difficulty all the time. But real people rarely exist in isolation. Which means a realistically portrayed history of an invented people will have them interacting with other invented peoples, which means other invented mythologies. And there are a lot of details to creating this history. You need timelines and sequences of events. You need personalities to become your mythic figures. You need conflicts and plots. In fact in creating a fully developed underlying mythology, you in fact double, if not triple or more, the work of creating a novel, because you have to do all the same work. And then as you compose the actual novel, you have to weave this stuff through the actual narrative in a satisfying way.

– the Author

Jan 10, 2018, 10:47 PM

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