Why I Use Mythology in My Writing

Fiction is litered with references to mythology. It's true. You can't scroll down a page of genre fiction, on any retailer website, without finding something that's been based on mythology, and that doesn't just include tales about the gods. But why is this? I can only answer that from my experience. So, here we go.

I love mythology

I can't help it. I love stories that are based around ancient mytholgy.

When I wrote my Midgard Born Series (based around Norse mythology), I read numerous versions of the Norse myths before starting and they were all different. Yes, the stories were basically the same, but everyone had their take on them. I loved the characters, from the mischievous Loki, to Thor and his magical hammer. But it wasn't just that. All the stories were larger than life. I wanted to recreate some of that feeling. I wanted to use those characters. I wanted to devise my own take on the myths.

The characters are nuanced

In most of the myths I've read, and I'm not just referring to the Norse myths, the characters are never completely good, or bad (although, their good and bad is often at extremes). That is definitely a good basis for all characters. It is believed that the point of many of these myths was to teach people about life and how they should act. This is one of the reasons these stories speak to us.

There are monsters

Who doesn't love a good monster? Dragons, hellhounds, kraken, there are all sorts of mythical beasts in Norse mythology and a monster always livens up the action and heightens the stakes for the rest of the characters.



The gods and the humans often interact

Gods in these stories are a physical presence. They can decide to fit in, by looking human, or they can change themselves to trick people into believing they're something they're not. This adds a new dimension to any story. It's a bit like being visited by sneaky aliens, I guess, because they could definitely be walking amongst us without us knowing.

They aren't all beautiful

Yes, I know the film representations of most mythical characters, certainly the gods, are stunningly beautiful, or at the very least, nicely chiselled, but that isn't the case in the original myths. They were just like us, came in all shapes and sizes. Hurrah!

There is no shortage of choice

There are so many gods in the myths that you are spoiled for choice. If you want to write about a god that has a particular connection with something in your life, you'll probably find one. Okay, probably not for computers and other modern technology, but for many other things, and because there might only be one tale about that god, you can weave away to your heart's content, filling in the background.

They aren't rigid

This comes back to the multiple versions of the myths. It's not only the myths themselves that have different versions, but interpretations of mythical creatures can vary greatly, which means that, with a little magical thinking, you can do the same yourself.

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Mythology is such a rich source of material. If you haven't tried using it already, why not give it a go? And if you're interested in reading my take, my books are all listed in the menus above.


March 2019



Image: Dragon by OpenClipart-Vectors on pixabay.com