Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Making Myths Real

Making Myths Real

By Eden Robins

What so interesting about a werewolf in Guess jeans or a vampire in a Vera Wang dress? Or how about an elf riding a Harley or a gargoyle who enjoys an ice cold Bud Light after work?

Relativity, of course.

Give me a preternatural creature with a good case of the everyday blues, falling in love or just sick and tired of the daily grind and I’ll give you a story folks are interested in.

I don’t pretend to know the highs and lows of the literary market, but I can tell you what I’ve learned so far in writing paranormals and urban fantasies.

Readers like familiar.

Readers like relating to characters.

Readers like that moment when they recognize something about a character that they know or understand very well based on their own life experiences. And I know as an avid reader myself how much I appreciate that connectivity. I also know I want my fantasy characters to have fantasy characteristics and larger than life stories. Yet on the same note, I really want to be able to climb into the heads of the hero or heroine and, well, understand them.

That’s one of the things I like so much about Stephen King’s books. People always asked me why I admire his work. Do I like horror, blood and gore that much? Nope, actually I don’t. Though a little horror, blood and gore does add a bit of something to my tales that I can’t resist, that isn’t why I enjoy reading Mr. King’s work.

Rather, it’s his ability to present his characters in such a way that no matter the horror of the setting, situation or story I feel like I’m inside his character’s head every step of the way. Granted I often go there kicking and screaming in fear, but nevertheless I’m there. And as I go, each and every time I’m able to find some kind of connection to that character that may not have endeared him, her or it to me, but still I’m able to detect and hone in on a bit of “humanness” to them that I can relate to. That connection can be love, like, hate, repulsion or deep seated fear, but still and always, it’s a connection.

For that, I’m eternally grateful to Stephen King.

He taught me a valuable lesson.

No matter who my characters are, it’s important to make them relatable.

I need to make my myths real.

I need to create characters in such a way that readers can crawl inside their heads and find something to hold on to as they take the sometimes wild ride my stories go on. No matter what they are, no matter the myth surrounding them, it’s my goal to produce a kind of “relativity” in my characters that can’t be denied. I strive to form these larger than life heroes and heroines in such a way that the everyday is still a part of them.

In my soon to be released urban fantasy, ILLUMINATION, the third book in my AFTER SUNDOWN series, my hero is a gargoyle and my heroine a witch. Oh, and I also throw in some vamps, an elf, a fairy, a goblin and of course a siren of the sea.

Siren of the sea?

Yep. You betcha. Right out of Greek mythology, I have an honest to goodness-hypnotizing-voice-that-draws-men-closer Siren of the Sea. So, what about her? So she’s a siren, so what? Well, get this, she may be a siren of the sea, but she also has endless man problems. Weird huh? I mean you have a voice that hypnotizes men, has them following you around like puppy dogs and makes them basically want to be your love slave. How can you have man problems? Well, think of it this way. How does she know why a man likes her? Do they like her for her or do they like her just because of her siren’s voice? And how does she know? I mean, how does she really know for sure?

In addition to that, she works as an informant for Sundown Security, an agency filled with hunky alpha males and, well, you can begin to see the problem. Do they like her for her, do they like her just because of her voice, or do they like her because she gets them the information they need?

So now, suddenly this mythological creature is no longer just a mythological being. Now she has become so much more. This larger than life fantasy has become relatable. She’s become a woman, with a woman’s hopes, dreams and fears. I can definitely relate to that. I hope my readers can too.

And you know what? I LOVED constructing her for this series! So much so, that I might just have to give her her very own story. You see, she and a certain, uh, sexy fairy have sparks shooting strong and bright between them. Of course, she’s asking herself over and over again in a million different ways that all important question.


But that is another story…

EDEN ROBINS hears voices in her head. Her characters' voices, that is. She loves creating new worlds and complex characters that always seem to find their way into one sticky predicament or another. She enjoys helping them get untangled from these situations, only to find themselves entangled in love affairs that will last for all time.
With the success of her futuristic Tomorrow trilogy and After Sundown urban fantasy series, Eden is firmly entrenched in the world of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Please visit Eden at www.edenrobins.com or send her an e-mail at edenrobins@gmail.com

© Copyright Eden Robins


Erin Quinn (aka Erin Grady) said...

Great article, Eden. I'm a Stephen King fan for exactly the same reasons. Your new book sounds great! Erin

Tia Dani said...

Very nice blog, Eden. I will be watching for ILLUMINATION. Love your faery tale characters.