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Wednesday Writing Prompt: Myth Making by Rochelle Melander

file731266510154Last summer, when our family visited Shelburne Museum in Vermont, we took in Elizabeth Berdann’s exhibit Deep End. In her miniature portraits, she portrayed “humans as mythological sea creatures.” We were captivated by both the portraits and the stories. As our family talked about these traditional water myths, my son kept asking, “Really?” As in, could this really happen? Do these sea monsters really lure men and women into the depths of the ocean to their deaths? We talked about the purpose of myths—how they’ve been used for centuries to explain common occurrences, teach lessons, and entertain. But the question remained: could this really happen?

Try this: Take an old myth, treat it as scientific fact, set it in your protagonist’s world and see what happens. What happens to your leading man when the Sirens lure him away from his quest? What does your leading lady do when she discovers that her grandmother is really a Selkie—half woman, half seal? What happens to the coastal village when a Kraken (a large octopus-like sea monster) poisons it’s only source of water?

Or try this: Create your own myth for a common experience like thunder, lost email, or missing socks.

Your turn: What myths captivate your imagination?

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