So with my latest creative writing project, I’m taking a further step into a direction that I’ve been interested in for a while. I’ve wanted to build my own mythos tales. I did not want to borrow from Lovecraft’s mythos despite the grand and awesome nature of it. Instead I wanted something a little less convoluted, not that I don’t enjoy nameless terrors from Mi-Go or a good Shuggoth on ice. Instead of borrowing from that book of lore, I decided to create my own. It’s much smaller in scope. I don’t want to give away too much information about it just yet, because as you can imagine I’m still fleshing out everything. If you want to attempt something like this and I wholeheartedly support anyone that does, then let me throw out some steps that I’ve used to keep my mind straight (well straightish really, I tend to go off on tangents a lot just ask my wife).
The first thing I did was determine just how far spanning I wanted my mythos to be, did I want the limitless pantheon of beings surrounding the C’Thulhu Mythos or did I want it limited. For me, I limited it. In defense of Lovecraft though, I don’t think he realized just how far spreading his works were going to be. I don’t either people may read my stuff and go “this is crap,” and that my friend is the joy of opinions. So I limited mine, mainly so I could keep up with it. If you want to do this you don’t have to, the sky’s the limit with your own mind. If you already have a vast library of work (like Stephen King), then you can try to incorporate that work into your mythos (like Stephen King in the Dark Tower series). I’ve dropped hints and suggestions of my mythos into past short stories that I’ve written for no other reason than I liked doing it, even if I never got around to the mythos stories themselves I wanted to hint at the possibilities for anyone that found them and decided to follow after them with their own works.
Also make sure that if you are going to write a mythos story. Not drop clues in other stories, but actually sit down and pen your mythos story that you have some idea of what you’re talking about and by this I mean write your history, even if it’s broad (see my earlier blog about creating histories, https://lagomorphflix.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/know-your-history/). This is mainly to help you keep your facts straight while working. I enjoy keeping notes on mine but I also enjoy creating my fictional history behind the story as much as I enjoy creating the story itself. It just gives me a chance to really stretch my creative fingertips and helps me find my voice before starting the writing process, plus I have a basis and am not just flying by the seat of my pants.
I try to put the history in the story but not as a massive information dump. It’s my goal to give the history through other means rather than just go here’s all this information. Also you don’t want to possibly confuse your readers or give them important information that is lost in the massive info dump you gave them. For me I like to either tell bits of history through a character’s own history or let you discover the history associated with characters that are also just learning this information. Just to keep it interesting and again not providing an information dump.
So if you decide you want to try and create a mythos for your stories (be it horror, fantasy, science fiction, or any other genre) then be sure you keep the scope of your mythos in mind so it can be as limited or limitless as you like. Keep your facts straight, so you aren’t contradicting yourself. Finally, try to spread your history out over the course of your story to avoid confusing information dumps. So I hope this helps you adventurers who decide to create a mythos of your own or add to an existing one.