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Description question

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by MiaC, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. MiaC

    MiaC Minstrel

    Hello, so my book has to do with Greek Mythology. I was wondering if it is acceptable to change some things about the myths? Or if it's better to stick to original myths? Would be minor changes.
  2. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    This will depend entirely on the reader. Some people accept changes, some don’t, some people will accept some thing but not others… SO! do what works for you..
  3. MiaC

    MiaC Minstrel

    Lol title is wrong, sorry.
  4. cak85

    cak85 Minstrel

    I think this is a pretty common problem/concern with fantasy writers.

    I'd say go ahead and make changes but keep in mind that there WILL be people out there who won't like it or will call you on it. I say this because it happened to me. In my one of earlier projects I decided to call my spirits jinns and several people in my writing group said it threw them off because that word reminded them of spirits who made wishes or spirits of smoke and fire. Now instead of using the word jinn, I all my spirits feral spirits and the feedback I have gotten has been mostly positive.

    I mean Stephenie Meyer made a career and a ton of money out of vampires that sparkle in the sun. So what do I know!
  5. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

    Depends on whether you're retelling the myths or riffing on them.

    If your book includes a straight retelling of the Minotaur story where Theseus gets eaten by the Minotaur and it's Daedalus, not Icarus, who falls in the sea and drowns, that will annoy the reader. At least, it would annoy me. But if it's a riff, clearly not a verbatim retelling, it's okay to fracture it. You could, say, have Icarus narrate the story and say, "You might have heard how me and my dad escaped from the Minotaur on wax wings and I flew too close to the sun. That's not really how it happened, here's the real story...."

    Basically, if you're changing the myths, you have to make it clear that you know the original story and your change is deliberate. Otherwise, you just look sloppy.
    mc_ likes this.
  6. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

    The Greeks themselves played fast and loose with the myths. There are loads of variants on them, both as myth and as material for poets and writers in the more sophisticated days of Greek and Roman civilization.
  7. There are several wonderfully written, recent examples of this trend: The Song of Achilles, Circe, A Thousand Ships, and The Witches Heart, to name a few.

    All look at classic Greek or Norse myth and then, while keeping true to most of the old myths, each offers a fresh twist from POV characters who were no more than minor characters in the original myth. Personally, I've loved every one of those four and look forward to seeing more like them. The thread running through each is the author knew the subject matter intimately and was able to coax new stories and deeper emotion out of what had been written before. They didn't reinvent them so much as they added/drew upon depth of character which, for me, was often missing in most all of the older, heroic tales. There's so much more there to be explored.

    Good luck Mia!
  8. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

    Percy Jackson is super duper popular and in that Athena and Artemis have kids. Personally I am very salty that they did that, but I also get very salty when they use the wrong bird noises in shows/movies. Also Percy Jackson has had a big movie, a broadway play and now they're going to get a disney+ show, too. It's a hugely successful series. And look at disney's Hercules, too, I'm pretty sure Zeus wasn't a philanderer in that one, they changed a lot of things in that, too.
  9. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

    To clarify what I mean about looking sloppy: I once read a short story that was a sci fi riff on the Biblical story of Abraham nearly sacrificing his son. The characters go back in time, in a time machine, encounter Abraham, and he thinks they're God. One of them tells him to sacrifice his son. Another stops the sacrifice when it's about to start.

    So far so good. But what really annoyed me was that the son he was going to sacrifice was Ishmael. I was half screaming at the page, "Isaac, not Ishmael!"

    Now, I know that in the Koran's version of the story, it is Ishmael, not Isaac, who's nearly sacrificed. But the story made no mention at all of the difference. All the characters in the story were Jewish, Christian, or secular but culturally Christian, and there's a mention of going back to "Biblical times." There's no sense at all that the Koran's version of the story would be appropriate. Instead, it looks like the author made a very sloppy mistake in retelling the Bible version. Furthermore, if you're writing in English, it's a safe assumption that the majority of your readers are familiar with the Bible, not the Koran, if they're familiar with either. If the story were written in Arabic or Farsi, that wouldn't be so, but that wasn't the case here.

    Bottom line: if there had been some indication in the story that the author was deliberately using the Koran version, I wouldn't have cared. Since there wasn't, I'm still annoyed by that story.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
    mc_ and Demesnedenoir like this.

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