Meena Rose No, I have not begun in earnest… I look at the prepared material and I keep thinking I need one more piece to fill it out.
Claudette Young Have you figured out yet what that piece might entail?
Meena Rose I mean it is fantasy story about two societies where magic, ritual, and real world survival intersect.
Claudette Young That’s true.
Meena Rose It seems like I need to “feel” out the cultures. What myths does one subscribe to that the other does not?
Claudette Young Have you had any clues yet as to what they’re really like?
Meena Rose What myths have been handed down to both?
Claudette Young It may be that they’re mirror images of each other. Perhaps, given some of the background material, that if you find the key to one, you’ll automatically have the key to the other. The myth itself may be about the split between the two that used to be one.
Claudette Young The problem with worrying about what the beginning is that you don’t know where you’re starting from when you begin looking for the start of it all.
Meena Rose I ran into that, too. So I decided that each Society will have its own “how is it we are here story?” and “what makes us the favored ones over the other”
Claudette Young There’s something that I learned a long time ago in one of my anthro courses. When an anthropologist begins an investigation of a people, she must begin with what is, and then slide along the timeline back a bit at a time to see where the major changes have taken place and how they came to be. Do you have their belief structures in the present time figured out?
Meena Rose Yes
Claudette Young Okay, what was the last major event that changed those structures?
Meena Rose There is a “key artifact” that I am working through at the moment. This is a “journal” discovered in the now about a historian lamenting the break. There was a common threat to the people and one side opted for action, the other for a wait and see.
Claudette Young Okay. You have a journal. When was it found? What was the impact of its finding? What changed within the structure of the society after its discovery?
Meena Rose Ah, so the journal is found by the MC (main character) quite by accident… the MC has grown up with the story that they are two warring people. What this journal reveals to him is that they used to be one and the why of the “needed” split.
Claudette Young Is he the only one who knows about this journal?
Meena Rose The MC is the only who knows but he is having trouble reading it… the language is much older and some of the vocabulary is not making sense
Claudette Young Then you and he are at a crux in time of impact. Use this as your starting point.
Meena Rose That is where I find it interesting.
Claudette Young Perhaps he can copy a small portion, verbatim, and show it to the wisest and most knowledgeable person he knows. Perhaps a wise man/shaman, whatever. Have the old one identify the age of that portion of language. Then he can look for the history of that bit; find what was happening when that type of language was used.
You don’t need each and every tiny detail to build your history. You only need key points in time. Muse will fill in things as you’re working without you having to micromanage.
Meena Rose If I was to tell the story the way we tell them in the middle east, we never start in the middle.
Claudette Young But if you don’t start in the now, it has no relevance anyway. When you’re telling a story in the old way, is it a story that you’ve heard before?
Meena Rose No, but that is how my storytelling genes are wired.
Claudette Young I see. So, when you see a prompt photo, you have the whole story, with every tiny detail, flood into your head without thought. I ask that, because that’s how it works with me.
Meena Rose Basically…Ii take a stab at the dialog at times and paraphrase it.
Claudette Young Okay. Let me ask you this. In your thoughts, does this world already exist?
Meena Rose Yes
Claudette Young So, it has a now. Correct?
Meena Rose um no… so I understood the question wrong. I can walk into my world studio as often as need be to research elements. From a story line perspective, I need to see how to go from A -B while passing through C, D, E, and F; when that is “seen,” I tell the story. Many stories are possible in that world and I need to be consistent with which one I am writing.
Claudette Young Let me see if I understand your thought processes. Okay?
Meena Rose ok
Claudette Young From your perspective, the story is already in existence somewhere, has already been written somewhere, and what you’re doing is exploring, from wherever you’ve entered the story, to find the beginning. Is that close?
Meena Rose Ah, yes!
Claudette Young Okay. Let me ask this then. If you meet someone that you’ve never met before, and get to spend three days in their company, are you likely to be privy to every detail of their lives before you met them?
Meena Rose Depends on the people and my curiosity.
Claudette Young Let’s say that you’re fascinated by them. They have something that just draws you to them.
Meena Rose ok
Claudette Young On that first morning, they tell you something really cool. You ask them, how did you learn that? They tell you. And when they get back to that point, you ask, where did that come from?
Meena Rose I am not sure I follow the second part. My experience is (and I am not sure I am answering your question) here.
Claudette Young You want to know how they arrived at the knowledge, or at a certain destination, whatever they were talking to you about. They keep going back in time with their story to fill in your gaps and explain how they’d arrived.
Meena Rose gotcha
Claudette Young Each time you ask for more, they go back in time for the explanation. What I’m getting at is that a timeline works both ways. No matter where you come in, there’s always a past to tell you how something came to be, and there’s a future yet to write.
Meena Rose I ask one thing and a long set of dominos fall. True… I conceptually get that about a timeline. I just *personally* can’t stand a lot of re-works, so, I have to formulate A-Z before I write… call it being lazy or finding writing hard… I try to minimize how much major rework needs to happen.
Claudette Young But that’s how life is. One thing always leads to more, and that one leads to still others, and so on. What you’re need to do is trace backwards on only the key events in the history that involves each people until you find where they were joined. When you get there, you’ll discover why they’re no longer one people.
Meena Rose I hear you, Claudsy, about figuring the key points in the timeline… It is the weaving of the story I am talking about… “justifying an action” halfway through when there was no basis for it. I remember breaking someone’s arm in a story and 4 pages later he was playing piano with 2 hands, and I had not even removed the cast.
Claudette Young I have a friend who does this for a living, who says, when you spend all that time building these beautiful worlds and all they entail, you’ve left out the major ingredient. Spontaneity. At least, that’s her opinion. Muse has been removed from the formula and all you’re left with is just the formula. The life has been sucked out. But, I see what you’re saying. That’s a continuity issue, not a plotting or event issue.
Meena Rose Well, think about this way… my grandmother used to say “tell the story as though you are telling it to the prince himself… there is no chance for error.” She passed down the Oral Storytelling baton to me despite our lack of physical contact.
Claudette Young Okay. I can’t and won’t argue with Grandmother on that, and I’m really not trying to argue that one way is better than another.
Meena Rose So from my perspective: I have to tell myself the story before I can write it… in that sense, I I’m but a scribe, but the Muse had her way during the early part.
Claudette Young I used to try doing what you’re doing. I worked on the same novel for three years and never got past chapter three because I kept thinking of those tiny details. It waits for me to find the key elements.
Meena Rose Every flash fiction piece is that way… I actually say it out loud.
Claudette Young I believe it. For you, it’s already been written. You’re just reading it from the inside of your eyelids.
Meena Rose Something like that.
Claudette Young Most people cannot do that. I only do it with flash fiction because I have to “word” room to do anything else. For me the world exists now. It has history and some type of future. It’s my job to write the future and let the past take care of itself. I’ll let my characters fill in the blanks when I need those bits on info.
Meena Rose I will say that I have written some stories in the now… but they are the minority by far.
Claudette Young The thing is that, for me, I’ve figured out that all stories begin in the now, no matter where in the world’s history I’ve walked into it. The history of the world is relevant only because my characters keep talking about this or that from the past. No matter how far into the story I get, I can only move forward. Even a flashback happens in the now of the story, for that’s all the story has, just like life.
Meena Rose So, I am thinking about two particular pieces you wrote lately where I was clamoring for more.
Claudette Young Part of my job is to skip those bits of now that have no real relevance to that final scene. Which ones were those.
Meena Rose One was about the harpy and other one about the observer becoming the MC.
Claudette Young Ah, yes. What about them? Did you just want details, history, more of the future, what?
Meena Rose I JUST realized I wanted to know more about the “myths” and the existential questions of that world… most writers reveal those over the course of the novel.
Claudette Young And in novels there is room to put some, but never all, of those things.
Meena Rose Yes… you can only reveal so much… in one novel… the larger the tapestry, the more can be woven.
Claudette Young The only parts that a story needs, really, are those parts that are so critical that having them missing, leaves the story without meaning or purpose.
Meena Rose I suppose for me it is a bit different due my natural slant of being a student of theosophy… it my curiosity that I am satisfying.
Claudette Young Some tapestries are so grandiose, though, that viewers tire of looking at all the detail. I understand perfectly. There have been books that could never have put too much detail in for me.
Meena Rose While I may never share with the reader, I the author, the creator, get it.
Claudette Young At the same time, the reason I will never forget those books is because the story left me with mysteries and questions that tantalized me. I still read them over and over to see if I miss something.
Meena Rose I can tempt the reader that we are about to reveal a truth… perhaps one they can relate to.
Claudette Young Of course!
Meena Rose The last FWF piece I wrote about the woman in the rubble and her inner dialog… you proof read that one for me. Many people responded to that brief “snapshot” in time. Yet I saw her happily married life, her eager young husband, their furnished place, the new couch she just bought and was SO happy about.
Claudette Young Of course you did. But the reader didn’t need that info in that story. It was irrelevant to the event that was taking place at that moment in time.
Meena Rose She was wondering what to make for dinner, they had guests coming over. Then the building collapsed.
Claudette Young That was relevant because it showed her state of mind. It kept her human during this event, gave the reader something to relate to.
Meena Rose Exactly… I really do not “create” for the reader… I “create” for me… the reader get a story in the end.
Claudette Young You’re right about that. I write stories for me to explore and have an adventure.
Meena Rose So as I said, you may say the details are not relevant to the story… only share enough… I would say that is ok if I was creating just that story… most cases I am not, and that is how my muse works in the end.
Claudette Young And time runs out for reading as if does for brainstorming sometimes: again.
- How Does Language Intersect With Culture, Heritage and Myth? (2voices1song.com)
- Thoughts Tumbled & Ideas Brewed Over All Things Regency (2voices1song.wordpress.com)
- The Myth and the Mundane: Reflections on Women in Society (dunthor.com)
- Journey to Cascadia: Building a New Global Mythology. Designed & Produced for the 2012 Study of Myth Symposium. Willi Paul, openmythsource.com © 2012 (openmythsource.com)
- Isis in Big History, Part 1: From the Big Bang to Agriculture (humanisticpaganism.com)
- sound symbols, archetypes & the power of myth: an alchemic journey with Nature begins, Willi Paul, openmythsource.com (openmythsource.com)
- Patterns of a Hero’s Journey……….. (unbiasedtruth.net)
- The Power of Story, The Truth of Myth (dmhamby2.wordpress.com)
- Country diary: Wenlock Edge: A festival of ale, honeysuckle shadows and ancient tales (guardian.co.uk)
- The Myth of the White Knight? (clutchmagonline.com)
- Homer’s Facebook Suggests Iliad is True (psmag.com)