Flash Fiction Fridays

Have you ever stopped to consider where many of our mythological creatures originally came from? I mean, okay, I’m not talking about the Sasquatch, who obviously came about when a frightened hiker saw a grizzly-bear in the woods and exaggerated it to save face, but what series of events would lead to someone coming up with something like a unicorn? What could someone have possibly misinterpreted to come up with the chupacabra?  What kind of lizard would lead someone to imagine winged, fire-breathing monsters?

I’ve often wondered about the births of such creatures in human myth. You see, I have this theory that the human mind is incapable of creating such images from scratch. I believe that anything that has ever been conceived by the human brain must have some basis in truth…these things must have come from actual visual contact with something. In other words, in order for someone to come up with something as fantastical as a dragon, they must have actually seen something frightening that flew and spit flames.

I’ve believed my entire life, and I’ve traveled for a long time and a large distance in order to prove my theory to the world. I’ve been laughed at on every continent, but I’ve always known that if I searched long enough, worked hard enough, someday I would prove that mythological creatures – in one form or another – truly exist.

And as I lay here, my feet and wrists bound with vines as I stare into the fire that is meant to roast me up for dinner, all I can think is, Damn…it turns out Sasquatch is actually the real one after all.

Mythologically Speaking

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

46. Myths about writers

There are a hell of a lot of myths out there about writers and writing in general. Do a quick Google search and you’ll be bombarded by everything from stereotypes about people who write, to complete BS about how publishing “really” works. I’ve plucked out a few particular ones that I hear quite often and thus feel that I can comment on them.

1. All writers are insane.
Obviously this one is a generalization, but it does actually have some basis in truth. Writers do tend to be a little…off the deep end…but that’s just because of the overwhelming mixture of creativity and passion. Here me out: writers have all this creativity in them, all these stories that need to come out, and there’s a desperate passion to make that happen. But putting a story to paper is a lot more difficult and time-consuming than non-writers think. In order to put that story down you have to give up things…time, sleep, a social life…and you’ve got to be at least a little bit insane to do that.

2. If you’re talented, you’ll get published.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The only other myth that’s as far off the scale as this one is “you’ll never get published without natural talent”. In a perfect world the talented writers would get all the publishing contracts and the no-talent hacks would never get anywhere near a published book. But this isn’t a perfect world. Unfortunately wonderful stories will get overlooked for a number of reasons, the least of which is not a publisher’s desire to publish what is currently “popular”. Publishers are like any other business…they’re in it to make money, and if they get a wonderfully-written fantasy epic and a crudely-written vampire-porn, they’re probably going to publish the vampire-porn because that happens to be what’s “in” right now.

3. All you need is an idea: the rest will come easily
Oh my laughable lord, no. I don’t think anyone really understands the writing process until they’ve done it, but as with everything else in life people will always talk about what they don’t understand. Sure, getting an idea for a good story is definitely an important part of the equation, but it is hardly the only variable. For one thing, a plot is nothing without good characters, and good characters need subplots, conflict, and personalities that allow us to relate with them. And even with all that you need a multitude of scenes, tension and climaxes, and a reasonable conclusion, and that’s a lot more difficult to figure out than it sounds. Also, all that isn’t taking into account that you have to find the words, the proper words that make everything sound right. All I’m saying is, try it first, judge the difficulty later.