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Modernising Mythology

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

For our genre module at Uni, we've been asked to write either a short story or the first couple of chapters of a novel. This can either be in the genre of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror or Crime.

As I spent my Bachelor's writing mainly fantasy and sci-fi, I thought I'd try my hand at something new. Now, reading Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and not being able to work out for the life of me who the murderer was or what was going on the whole time, I figured that if I can't read crime, then I probably won't be much good at writing it. Which leaves me with the Horror option.

Unfortunately, I hide my face when watching horrors and can't even stomach the Saw movies. In fact, I can barely handle anything with blood and gore in it. But, I do like a thriller - something with a little less chopping and slashing and a little more psychological terror. Something that relies on a storyline and an element of mystery. The Haunting Of Hill House for example, was probably one of the most elaborately plotted 'horrors' I have ever watched. Also one of the most unpredictable and heart-wrenching too. Similarly, Mama hit a nerve. It was just the right balance of horror and emotion - something I hope to replicate in my own writing.

So, as squeamish as I am, I will be embracing a darker side to my storytelling. Perhaps not on the level of Tom Six (The Human Centipede writer and filmmaker) or Leigh Whannell (Saw series) but on more of a psychological scale.

One particular idea I would like to feature in my writing is the combination of mythology and contemporary issues. This stems from the very current environmental crisis of unnecessary overconsumption. I would like to be able to incooperate this into a story where I could raise awareness. The theme of Greed is essentially going to be both the main theme and the downfall of the protagonist, who will only become aware of her flaws when it is too late - an unfortunate reality we as the human race will likely face ourselves. The mythological element will revolve around the legend of the Wendigo - a human that has been cursed for their greed and, in the most common folklore stories, cannibalizes themselves and other human beings it comes across.

The mythological creature is believed to have first been used in stories by the indigenous people of North America/Canada to deter people from cannibalism. However, in my own story, I will only be utilising the original myths to create a modern adaptation that will reflect the flaws of today's society.

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