1. kiki-snow
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    kiki-snow New Member

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    Gods and monsters

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by kiki-snow, Feb 2, 2016.

    I'm writing a fantasy novel. I wish to include characters that are gods. My major problem here is how do I write a God in first or third person without making them look mortal or making my work sound stupid. I mean homer makes it seems so easy with his gods in the odyssey. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I'd say that Homer makes his gods look very mortal. They have human desires, are subject to petty squabbles, and even flee from battle when injured.

    The simplest trick a lot of writers use to make their gods seem more than human is to imply that they know a lot more than humans. In this formulation, each god is a chess player, and everything they say and do serves to move one or more pieces around the board, often without the "pieces" having any idea they're being played.

    Other writers go for gods that can't be communicated with, or in some cases even directly perceived. It's a bit like worshiping a river--you know the river exists, and you know it brings life to your land, but you can't sit down and have a conversation with it. (Of course, this makes it a lot harder to put them in first person.)

    What purpose do the gods serve in your story? How long do they appear "onstage," and what do they do during that time?
     
  3. kiki-snow
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    kiki-snow New Member

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    The gods will have their ongoing plot like the beings and humans in my story. Separate plots but they will converge at certain points in the story. Of course the choices made by the gods will influence the plots and outcomes of the humans, but mainly without any direct contact or confrontation. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Niel Gaiman write a lot about God's. He makes them seem like everyday people, or like some politicians like to think of themselves.
     
  5. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    I recommend checking out Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson. Not only is it a good book, but also freely available. (PDF) The book centers around a pantheon of gods who live in the physical realm, and hold court over the world. On one hand, they are deities (having immortality, great power, worshippers, etc.) But on the other hand, they are quite imperfect. If you're interested in seeing how the author writes the viewpoints more specifically, take a look at page 44 of the PDF I linked to. The character Lightsong is the main god viewpoint of the novel, so you can find the scenes focusing around him pretty easily by searching for "Lightsong" in the PDF.

    These things are probably best learned by looking at how others have written gods in the past, though. And there are plenty of works more recent than Homer that incorporate these elements. There are many ways to write a god, although I'd recommend making the characters feel human, at least in a way, no matter what you do. Fiction is about people, in all their forms: humans, aliens, robots, and gods. All of these are given human traits and emotions so we can related to them.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Never really read any god characters in fiction except for The Shack, which is a book within the Christian genre where a character meets the Christian God in all 3 forms: Father (or rather, in the book's case, Mother), Son and Holy Spirit.

    Another source to look at might be the Bible. Whether you treat that as fiction or non-fiction, Jesus is regarded as deity in Christianity and he walked the earth and taught the people. There might be something to glean from the way he speaks. To be honest, any religious holy book might help you here where God is recorded as having any direct speech. Not read other religious texts so can't comment on others, but the Bible is filled with it.

    I'm not sure there's any real need to try and make your god-character sound non-human. A completely perfect being who makes no mistakes and who is all powerful would make for a very boring figure, because it becomes too predictable. Whatever he does or says will happen, and will succeed, and no one can beat him, and everything he does will turn out all right. That's pretty dull for a novel. There's a reason why gods in fiction in general have flaws and sound pretty human I think!
     
  7. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    I think if you want to take an extreme approach then you consider our basic needs: Food, Water, Shelter and if you don't want to go nuts companionship- think long term folks. And then start with how they differ in those basic aspects. Also they are going to have different prerogatives then we as humans do. However the "gods" created that world and everything there is a reflection of a piece of them. So pull important characteristics of your world and species to form and mold your gods/goddesses.
     

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