Japan, Dragons, Vampires and Mythology

We  are still  dealing with the ongoing nuclear disaster in
Japan. Chuck Reindle, a relative who is living in Japan writes:

“I’m getting overwhelmed by the daily media coverage of first person accounts.  For example, a young mother was found dead still clutching her 1 month old baby. Multiply that 7 days a week, and it’s overwhelming. But I keep watching so as not to forget their pain and suffering. It’s not just money, but mental support that’s also needed. We’re all asking what can we do to help. I hope I can use my knowledge from my Masters course in psychology to help, somehow. My wife is a mental health counselor for the government. I hope the government finds a way to utilize effectively their mental health professionals. The victims are sorely in need of mental support and care.”.

The organizations whose links are below this paragraph will take
them food, and help them to rebuild their lives. They will do what ever it
takes to help bring back some sense of normalcy for the people who must daily
cope with the wreckage of their lives. They help with other dreadfully impacted
nations, and your donation can be designated for the country you wish to help.
We can’t bring back their loved ones, or take away the horror of what they are
living through but we can mitigate it in some way, and I urge you to consider
making a donation to one of these fine charities. This is the real world, and
it is often no fantasy for those who must live it.

The American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/ is out
there fighting the good fight.

Also Catholic Relief Services http://crs.org/ is on ground zero helping
anyone that they can.

Samaritan’s Purse is highly recommended to me as a world class
charity. http://speu01.samaritanspurse.org/t/219286/1732115/23/0/

However, my personal favorite of all these charities is World
Vision http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/ibeCZzdMinisites.jsp

God bless all these people and the people they work so tirelessly
to help.

I also live in the Realm of Fantasy. For me mythology and legend
ARE the fantasy world. We draw on them each time we write a God into our tale,
as in the case of Odin; or even a great wizard as in the case of Merlin. A good
background in myths and legends really helps you when you are looking for a
setting to base your tale around. It is not wise to copy them wholesale unless
you are writing a compilation of historical myths; but think about them and let
your fertile mind develop a way to make the old tales work for you.

Certain creatures and beings have common features, and we ‘know’
this because of the myths and legends we have grown up hearing or reading:
whether they sparkle or not, vampires drink blood. They may keep it in the
refrigerator fresh from the blood bank, or they might drink it from rats in
order to avoid killing humans; but in the popular consciousness, a vampire that
does not require blood to live is not a vampire.

Myth is defined as a traditional story about heroes or supernatural beings, often attempting to explain the origins of
natural phenomena or aspects of human behavior. It is an excellent stating spotfor creating the backdrop of your fantasy world and offers immense possibilities for ‘what if’.

Legends fall into two categories as described in Encarta: countable and uncountable.

1. [countable] A legend is an old story about famous past events.
One such tale could be a story about famous people and events in the past, such
as the boy who pulled a sword from a stone and thereby proving his birthright
to be King. Legends are not usually true.

2. [uncountable] Legends considered as a group: Vampires, King
Arthur, groups of tales built around a particular hero or supernatural being
with many commonalities in each disparate tale.

An excellent resource for writers of fantasy is the website The Arcana Wiki http://arcana.wikidot.com/ that helps RPG
game-builders build their worlds with more depth and life to their story lines.
They describe a Myth in this way, “A myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and mankind came to be, often
closely linked to religion. The cultures originally telling the myths generally
considered them to be true. Myths often explain natural phenomena, or how
various customs were established.”

I draw on the Mythology and Legends of my real world to build the
cultures and values of the fantasy worlds I call home. These fables provide a
framework of reference when crafting a strange new world out of whole cloth;
they are the ideas from which my new stories are spun.

Let’s continue with the concept of dragons from my previous blog.
We know that I did not invent dragons. The NewWorld
states: “It is known that ancient cultures, such as the Greeks and Chinese
found fossil remains of large creatures they could not easily identify. Such fossils have
been held responsible for the creation of other mythical creatures, so it is possible that the
belief in dragons could have been fostered in the remains of real animals.”

Because of the myths and legends that already exist I had an idea
of what a dragon should look like; all I had to do was build it and put it in
the context of my tale.

When I was growing up I had an insatiable love of Arthurian
legends, and Merlin. I read any book I could get my hands on that detailed the
life and times of King Arthur and his wizardly advisor Merlin. Later, as an
adult, I was enchanted by Marion Zimmer Bradley’s masterful retelling of that epic
tale in

The Mists of Avalon

Her use of the Celtic and Saxon myths interwoven with her own idea
of how the story might really have happened was brilliant; and she used them to
create a tale that was so believable that it felt historical.

The use of mythology and legend to provide a framework for your
own story does not limit you to Gods and Dragons. The conflicts that they
detail, such as Good against Evil (Star Wars) the wise adviser to the young
hero (Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter) are stories that can be told in an
infinite variety of forms because in each retelling they still speak to us and
resonate in our collective consciousness. For me, finding the humanity in the
epic struggle, and giving it a new life is the eternal quest that keeps me
writing. Each rejection and rewrite brings my tale a step closer to producing
the story that not only will express my core idea well, but also will get the
reader involved.

And that is the point of spending all these hours locked away in the Room of Shame (also
known as the office), writing impossible tales about impossible people.


1 Comment

Filed under Adventure, Books, Dragons, Fantasy, Japan, Literature, mythology, Romance, Swashbuckling, Uncategorized, vampires, writer, writing

One response to “Japan, Dragons, Vampires and Mythology

  1. Great info, Connie – thanks!