Myths, gods, creation stories… they are an important element in fantasy, yet not all stories need to explore these things.
If you’re going the Tolkien route though, you can be sure you have to figure these things out! But don’t grieve, for I’m here to help you with your journey! So go, take a cup of coffee or tea and let’s figure out how to write myths and gods!
Tip One: Figure out if you need a “creation myth” for your story and if so, write it!
Not all stories have to include a myth about the creation of the entire world, but in my opinion, it adds a layer of realism and wonders into the story. Tolkien wrote a lot of backstories for his books, including the story of Eru Ilúvatar and how he created the universe. Personally, I love writing deep backstories and I’ve written a story for my current project.
Of course, it might seem foolish to write something you probably won’t talk much about in your books, but there are still things you can do to make the myths important. For example, I wrote a myth about Amtor and Shinara (Lovers who happen to be Gods) and their arrival at the mortal world. They fell into the sea and walked into the mainland. The first place they walked on, was the beaches of Valnoria. In my story, that very beach is the land where the human capital is built, for the land is holy for humans.
By doing this, I give the reader a glimpse at a more vast picture of my world, without giving them a huge info-dump.
I highly suggest you create some form of story. You don’t have to go full-on detail, for the overall picture is more important. Create divine being/beings and let your imagination fly! How was the world created? Sketch something down in your notebook!
My story is not focused on magic and supernatural elements, so I didn’t have to work so hard on the Gods and magical elements, but if you want your story to be filled with magic and supernatural elements, you have to focus on this first step a bit more!
Tip Two: Create your gods and other divine creatures.
It’s advised that you do this as you create your creation myths, but if you have more than one god in your story, you’ll design many more afterward, so start brainstorming! You can look for inspiration from the ancient greek and their gods, or you can start writing your own gods from the scratch.
There are a few ways you can approach this:
You can create gods for different elements. This will create a good number of gods for you. God of Fire, God of Water, God of Wind and so on. The good thing about this approach is the fact that you’ll end up with a wide number of gods and it doesn’t take that long. There are cons though. Your gods can be a bit “lame”. If a god has one element to it, it won’t feel pretty real.
Another way is to just create gods like you’d create characters. Not every element has to have a god. Not every emotion has to have a god. Start creating the gods like they’d be characters in your story, for in some cases, they will show up. In my story, there are a few gods. Akrestu, Sylthor, Amtor, Shinara and many others are divine beings, but their powers are not so simple to explain. Amtor controls the sea and weather, but he’s also a master smith. Shinara is the bringer of life and she’s also a beautiful singer, who can sing things to life. So they’re not just a God of Water and Goddess of Life.
Those are just a few ways you can approach the subject. My favorite is the last one, for I like making deep characters and oh boy, I wrote a lot of backstory for the gods, even though they will only be mentioned in my books.
Other divine creatures can be angels, demigods, or even spirits. There are endless possibilities. My stories include demigods, who are basically the children of a human and a god. Intriguing stuff, aye?
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Tip Three: Decide how the gods will influence your world, if at all.
So you created your gods and your mythological story about the world’s creation. Good! Now, you have to figure out the importance of those things. Will your gods answer to the prayers of the mortals? Or will they be forever silent, like The Seven in Game of Thrones? Whatever route you choose to take will greatly impact your story. If your gods are silent, it can turn the world to a more wicked and dangerous place as the faithful pray for their creators in times of need, only to be answered with silence. This can create heartbreaking moments and tragic deaths!
There’s also the possibility to make the gods walk among the people! They can move and talk with mortals like it was a regular thing and do a divine intervention from time to time. Be warned though! If you make a god the protagonist of your story, it can easily lead to a Marry Sue or otherwise overpowered character. It’s still possible to pull off, but you have to create some cons to your gods.
The way I approached this was to make my gods powerful divine beings, who lived outside the world. But then, they entered the mortal realm, which stripped them off from their full power, leaving them with weakened bodies and less power to use. I basically made sure they won’t overpower all their foes, by forcing them to make a sacrifice, if they wanted to help the mortals! Intriguing, aye?
That’s all for today! These were just some of my thoughts on the subject and I hope you found some inspiration and help from this post! If you liked this, be sure to like it and follow my blog! Don’t forget to share it with your fellow writers!