1. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Creating an own "mythology", so to speak

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Man in the Box, Dec 9, 2012.

    The title doesn't really encompass all of my questions...

    After some thought I've decided to set my story in a semi-fictional modern reality, but I'm having problems with creating a distinct mythology with magical things and the sort, an explanation for the existence and the flow of magical energy, and so on... It feels like whenever I have an idea, someone else already did it better than what I had in mind, and I'm just copying. Harry Potter didn't even explain magic in its world, or why some muggle people were born wizards, but because it was initially a book for children, JK Rowling was spared an explanation. I want to give it an explanation, though.

    Another problem I have is with names of places and characters... For example, I want to name a demon, but don't want his name to sound cheesy, like I just took an existing name and twisted it, maybe something with meaning...

    And, finally, the creation of special, physical symbols (emblems, logos for example), is also something that's troubling me. For now I just have placeholders, but I'm afraid my knowledge of this stuff isn't vast...

    How to create a convincing mythology encompassing all the elements I've described above?
     
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  2. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I think most of the things you're looking for are down to your imagination.

    For the symbols it may help to do some research into ancient scripts, but by the same token, such research may also stifle any 'uniqueness' in what you come up with.

    As far as magic is concerned, I wouldn't veer too far from what readers of magic fantasy will expect. If Rowling didn't mention it, it was because she probably didn't need to. For one thing it wasn't necessary for what she was writing about, and for another she probably felt those readers who were into magic would be happy presuming it was just 'normal' magic and nothing particularly special (if there can be such a thing as normal magic). I have to say I've never read her books though so can't be sure of how she's dealt with the subject, I tried the first HP book but it didn't work for me.

    Character naming has been covered in other threads here.
     
  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I thought I stumbled by a website one day that had a random name generator. It can come in handy if you get stumped and it starts hindering your ability to write. You'll have to first figure out what type of magic you are wanting to use. Is it witchcraft? Is it druid type magic? Is it Merlin the magician type magic? Pick what kind best suits the outline of your story. If you are using demons, one of your best bets is a druid magic, which involves a lot of natural magic that works to fight of the evil and protect mother earth. So that it's just a few ideas. If you need anymore help feel free to send me a private message.
     
  4. Elfin
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    Elfin New Member

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    I think your world mythology should support your plot, the story that you are trying to tell, not the other way around.
    I think it is relatively common to want to create a cool world, have it all explain and then work to put a story in it. The fun of creating world different then our own is huge! Totally agree about that, but for a story to be compelling it needs a strong plot to drive it, other wise it becomes a manual of "how this world" work, interesting mostly to its author.

    That is why the world of J.K. Rowling worked : it supported her main plot. It is relatively easy to poke holes in it afterward but that was not the point! She probably created and thought about way more then what she presented in the books but she did not tell us everything, only what was relevant to character development and moving the plot along.

    My two cents, carry on!
     
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  5. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Hello,

    I was struck at Ursula Kroeber Le Guinn's system of magic and how it works; she combines the two above stated problems into one: the names
    are actually the magic (or magical). I do not know the way she makes up the names in her books, but they're brilliant and such is the system that defines
    spells and all kinds of sorcery. I am not some self-apointed DnD master, but the way I made up new names was this: I just closed my eyes and let
    my subconscious name roller roll at random until I got something that rang a bell. I then took it and re-arranged it a bit and played with the word.
    (for some reason the final form of the name somehow distantly resembled vulgarisms, which was the source of never-ending entertainment of my players
    and drove me mad)

    And as for logos, what do you mean ? Their actual appearance ? Do you mean the visual aspect ?

    As for originality...well, in today's world, characters may be original and the plot, but so much has been written that it is virtually impossible for a whole original idea.
    I have personally given up on this goal. My goal is to be good and entertaining, which is accomplishable.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A mythology im this context is nothing more than a back story.

    Don't bother.

    Focus on your story, not the back story. Yes, you will need to know how magic works in your world, at least insofar as how it behaves: what you can and cannot do with it. The rest, let it rest. Bits and pieces will come out as relevant to your story, and that's plenty.

    If you write enough stories in that world, a mythology will grow and take root.
     
  7. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    Back story? Do you do screenwriting?
     
  8. DDNeal
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    DDNeal Member

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    The TV show Lost is by far my favorite modern mythology and it lived on by never really telling you what was really going on. If that isn't what your going for by you want a more full blown and open mythology it's always good to study existing ones. There are mythologies ancient Greece, Rome and Norsemen along with Hinduism and Catholic Saints. Few people are intamently familiar with these, but most have heard bits and pieces. If you find a name that sounds similar to one from an existing mythology it will be easier for people to get the drift about what you're talking about.
     
  9. Chris H
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    Chris H New Member

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    If you want to explain how your magic works find some books or online articles that discuss quantum physics. At the quantum level things go wierd and defy rational logic. An object can be in two different places at once, a four dimensional creature could turn a three dimensional object inside out, everything has an 'opposite,' solid objects should go throught other solid objects not bounce back off them etc. Base your magic on theoretical science.
     
  10. Krazyskooter
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    Krazyskooter New Member

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    I like the answer Chris H. posted, your story is set in an alternate reality earth that allows for magic. You don't have to give a science lesson on why it works. I also like writing backstories for my world and characters. I find it helps keep the story consistent. Since this is an alternate Earth perhaps a religion that is obscure to us has gained prominence in your earth. You could adopt the symbols that are part of that religion; maybe a political view has morphed into a full blown religion of its own. (The founding fathers of the U.S. are worshipped, for example.) anyway, all you have to do is write about it and the ideas will fall into place.
     
  11. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I don't think there is any "back story", i believe it's extremely nessacary for a vivid world the reader can be sucked into. It's your story, you can do anything with it.
     
  12. WoodenPaw
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    The very basic what you need to start is thelangague, I mean the language your characters are going to speak which you are translating to English for us as a story. I am not asking you to create a new language but if we take a example of AVATAR the CGI movie then you can see how they created a new world and some myths too which were science for Humans. so just imagine that your characters in your head conversing with each other and they are speaking in a very strange way but only you can understand it but when you try to write it down those sounds or words it does not make sense. Its like you are watching a another language movie with subtitles which only you can see or read. ..yeah I know its little weird but its the power of imagination. Lets take an another example, The Orcs in lord of the rings speaks Orcish language but we are able to understand it and same as Elves but the difference is there way of speaking and expressing themselves, now this point creates a very good and unique culture or society here and when you are able to differentiate this uniqueness from Orcs to elves then you get names like Azog and Legolas. so this uniqueness, the way of behaving and expression creates a trend in them and the same trend creates unique names. Another example here is that Orcs cannot pronounce difficult words or sounds and elves can easily create most difficult words and easily able to define them with other similar words, so by taking this example whenever you get a cheesy sound or word keep them for orcs or orcs like species or society and whenever you get hard words in your mind keep them for elves like society and order those words in a trend which you see in your characters.

    Now first you need to think that nothing has been overused, its the approach of subject which makes it overused. The werewolves looks good in horror but werewolfs were in BEN 10 too as aliens and they were also very cool, so the overused thinking is a state of mind which blocks your Imagination. if you are creating a superhero who spins webs and swing around while shooting them then its you have to be good in deep imagination and to think about its uniqueness not thinking about or fearing that its spiderman, have you seen the Phantom 2040, its has the same shooting web thingy but its black striped and of course its look way cooler on him. Example: Halo Master Chief suit. Crysis nano suit and Ironman are almost same concept of wearing an armor which makes them special but its the imagination which makes them stand out and keeping the uniqueness.

    Mythology is what we consider as didn't happened or cannot happen but today's wonder is Myths for future. So creating a myth means you are creating something which never happened or most likely will not happen in future, example: the Barsoom series which depicts life on Mars and they have advanced scientific and yet barbaric society, just thinking about it gives me thought that how good and simple imagination was to imagine life on mars and writing story on it, but yes the life on mars is a topic of science from last 200 years but imagining and creating society and myth out of it is the real deal here. same goes for you, you just need to think that looking for a grand idea is wastage of time, creating a simple and visible idea into grand imagination is real deal. Lets take your example of magic and its source, Now first thing about the question, What is magic? its a way of doing things breaking the law of common sense, logic or physics also without sacrificing anything valuable which makes magic cool. like boiling crow feather, eyes of frog, horse pee and claw of rabbit makes love potion. the ingredients does not make sense so when love potion works in a story it give us thrill and we start thinking about how cool is magic. the magic in Harry potter series is all around this idea which makes children readers very curious and also JK rowling imagination was also very good keeping the cool feel of magic by giving regular magical things like alive paintings which acts almost real, open magical roof, talking hats, platform number 9¾. my point here that keeping this cool thing in myth makes them interesting.

    And about a source, you can always create a imaginative source with maths in it or sense of calculation in it define its boundaries and yet with proper way it unlocks unlimited power with conditions. like prayers in context of gods which gives them power to fight demons and yet condition of faith applies to prayer to give power. same as in kung-fu, the more you train the stronger you get but the condition of new ways of training keeps the cool factor and boundaries of it.

    I know I have written a long text here but I found that you are in same situation as I was previously and after thinking deep I came up with these ways to create stories and myths for me and here I am sharing with you, I will wait for your Myth and will be ready to get amazed.
     

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