A myth is a sacred narrative concerning the early history of a people that holds spiritual or religious significance and explains a natural or social phenomenon.
It is none of the following:
- Legend – believable narrative involving events taking place within human history
- Fiction – stories created by the imagination
- Fairy tale – far-fetched story involving fairies, elves, giants and the like
- Folklore – beliefs and practices shared and handed down by people that have something in common
- Fable – fictional story features animals etc. that speak human language and impart moral lessons
- Urban legend – fictional stories with macabre elements rooted in popular culture.
There are many examples of myth writing around at the moment – Harry Potter, Superman, Hunger Games, Peter Pan, Shrek, Star Wars to name but a few.
If you want to start working on your own myth building skill then here are a few prompts to get you started.
Write a myth to explain:
- What makes the Earth rotate.
- Why the sun appears yellow instead of white.
- Why a nuclear explosion make a mushroom shaped cloud.
- What cause the wind to blow in gusts.
- What fire is made of.
- Why we have five digits on the end of each limb (usually).
- What causes freckles.
- Why noses run in cold weather.
- Why we get tunes stuck in our heads.
- Why the other queue always seems to move faster.
As you write, remember these quick rules:
- Be respectful of other people’s beliefs
- Step outside the real world
- Make it sound epic
- Keep it short.
Above all – have fun and don’t think too hard about this – unless you’re writing a myth about why people that think too hard get headaches!