Kath here. Please welcome back L. B. Gale to WU. The response to her first guest post with us was so positive, we asked her back for another, and happily, she agreed! L.B. works in education as a literacy specialist in New York City. She studied comparative mythology and fantasy literature for her Master’s degree at the University of Chicago. While aspiring to become a fantasy author herself, she blogs about speculative fiction and writing at www.lbgale.com. She’s sold a short story to Lightspeed magazine, and we’re certain more good things are in store for this talented writer. Follow her on Twitter @lbgale.
Write Like a Comparative Mythologist
Whenever I write something, someone inevitably tells me about some story I’ve not read that sounds an awful lot like the story I’m writing (the story I thought was unique). Usually the same thoughts flash across my mind: Okay, it’s been done. I’m an unoriginal hack! All that work for nothing. I’ve got to start all over.
William Gibson, author of the much celebrated science fiction novel Neuromancer, ran out of Blade Runner after watching ten minutes of the film, consumed with terror that his novel-in-progress was now no longer as original as he thought.
It happens to all of us.
After I let the initial terror wash away, I usually think back to my college years. I once aimed on becoming a scholar of Comparative Mythology, but after receiving my master’s degree I decided that Ivory Towers were not for me. Nonetheless, my years studying myth have helped me deal with this fear.
The lesson those years taught has now become something of a mantra I repeat to myself: any resemblance between your story and another story adds to your story—if you think about it properly.
Here are three steps to getting into the right frame of mind. [Read more…]