Prompt: Myths in New Places


“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words… Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.” ” – Joseph Campbell

It never fails when I need something to write about to read folklore or mythology.  It’s like instant inspiration for me.  So many of the stories are so rich and yet so bare.  They feel like playgrounds to me.  They beg to be told from different perspectives.  They seem to yearn to have details filled in.  They taunt me with the questions, ‘But what happened after that?’

But this prompt is not about retelling.  This is an exercise in setting.  I will admit that I often do not give the setting of a story enough thought.  Setting changes everything.

Pick a random myth or folktale from the (amazing!) collection at the University of Pittsburgh’s website here.  Some fun things I’ve tried: tales starting with the same letter as my name, a character’s name —   you get the point.  Then spin a globe and pick a random place to set your story.  Or, better yet, use the antipodes map to set your story on the exact opposite side of the globe.  Set the story in modern day to change the setting even more.

I would be super interested in seeing what other people come up with, so if you do this, please share!

 

Creative Commons love to Tina Bell Vance, from flickr for the photo.  Please check out her work.  It is amazing!

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “Prompt: Myths in New Places

  1. This is an awesome idea and a fantastic post.

    I LOVE Joseph Campbell; he never fails to inspire me and this seems like a great way to combat the writer’s block I currently find myself in :p

    Thanks so much for this prompt! You’re fantastic! :D

    P.S. Will post another comment once I tackle it ;)

  2. Sadly I’ve got a couple of deadlines to cope with but will come back to this to write something. The picture reminds me of a – I think it’s Russian – children’s film that I watched on German TV in which an evil witch had a house on legs. Ever since I saw that folktale turned into TV film, I’ve been wanting to write about a mobile house that picks up its skirts and runs off on chicken legs to either chase the witch away or follow its own prey.

  3. Pingback: Changeling Bridge ~ A Short Story « Be not afeard

  4. I think I might work on this – I would work under strict page/wordcount guidelines, but that would be to simply get it done! And as someone had previously commented, a great cure for writer’s block!

  5. It looks like a very fun idea to me :) I’ve always been in love with modern adaptation of mythological stories and folklore .. Would be really interesting to see it in writing :)

  6. I feel the same way about folk and fairy tales!
    ” So many of the stories are so rich and yet so bare. They feel like playgrounds to me. They beg to be told from different perspectives. They seem to yearn to have details filled in. They taunt me with the questions, ‘But what happened after that?’”
    Nice post!

  7. Pingback: Prompts to Start the New Year | Lightning Droplets

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s