Monday, November 29, 2010

"Yes I Can!"

I've always found that the greatest reason to write is to show people that yes, you can do something. There's always been someone in my life telling me I couldn't do something - "You can't make people love the Devil! God will get mad!" "You can't go back to the glory days of Ancient Egypt - It's dead, it's gone. Quit with the history already!" - but, I always delight in showing them my work and saying, "I did it. Bite me."

I'm in the middle of rewriting a story right now, more a series, actually. Basically, the premise is that a group of Gods who were once worshipped on Earth/Ceres (Namely, Thor, Anubis, Juno, Diana, Hestia, Rhiannon, Keridwen and Chang-O, collectively called the Eight) go against the wishes of the Gods' Council and send themselves back to the time of Atlantis' hey-day. The Eight fight, claw, hide, rage, flee and sabotage their way, as humans, through time to the Last War, which was once called the War of Faith/WW3, in 2055.

There are 2 ideas behind the story. One is that all the 'wrongs' of history are corrected, and the human race (might be) saved from destroying Ceres (I don't know yet - I'm leaving myself clues, but I don't know if I'll blow up Earth a second time). People say that you can't change history. but, write a good enough story, and you can definately change history. Maybe not in the world-wide sense, but you can change it in the minds of one or a few readers.

And you never know. The ideas you plant may one day be proved by noted historians and archaeologists that it was how it went. think Homer, Heinrich Schliemann and Troy/Ilios. After reading the Iliad as a boy, Schliemann became convinced that Ilios was a real city, and Paris/Alexandros, Priam, Helen, Agamemnon, Ajax and all the other characters were real people.

In the 1870s, Schliemann found what most people now accept to be the great city of the Iliad, hidden under the mound called Hisarlik, north-west Turkey.

Take that, nay-sayers!

The other point of the series is to illustrate that every idea ever created lives on, maybe not in our own world, but in some world. The Gods' Realms, Death Realms, Humans' Realms and the Gods' Oubliette all hold play to certain ideas (in order, the realm where every god that had ever been and will ever be, watches over their humans; where all people who are dead go, to be sorted into the afterlife of their choosing; the place called 'reality' by the humans, and the millions of worlds found therein; and the Gods' Hell, a place where only the worst gods go, hidden in the darkness for millennia, powerless and without followers to lend them strength).

What does that have to do with telling someone "Yes, I can"?

How many religions out there emphasise the fact that they're the one, true religion, and everyone else is stupid for not believing?
How many religions would take the idea of Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Gaea, Odin and Quetzalcoatl dining together as heresay?
How many people wouldn't in their right minds, ever dream that Zeus and the Maori Sky God Rangi would get absolutely hammered and sing a romantic ballad up to the window of Odin's home? (In their own defence, they were trying to sing to Astarte, who was laughing herself silly 3 windows over.)

The idea of saying 'Yes, I can' in writing is what it's all about. It's that spirit that allows the great writers to break from a formula (Imagine, a story with slaves in the background, whose MC doesn't end up one of them! Dragons who are used only to protect gems, and not to ride on over mountains! Imagine, a detective who fails to catch the crook, or a teenage romance that doesn't end in either sex, a break-up or the guy revealling he's a closet gay!).

It's okay to break formulae as a writer - in fact, it's encouraged. If you read as much as I and one of my friends do, then you begin to love the small breaks in the formulae of writing.

So go out there, writerly people, and scream a big, loud "YES, I CAN!" to the world.

You might just surprise yourself with what you can do. Schliemann certainly surprised himself, and he was around in the 1800s. We can do better than that!


Big Mike said...

I too enjoy conveying complex twists and new views of the human condition. I love when a reader contacts me and says, "I always wondered about that, but wasn't sure. It's so great to see someone put it into words." or "I couldn't get your store out of my mind for weeks after I read it. I kept playing the premise over and over in my head." What more could you want from a reader or a reviewer. SO, I agrees with ya, girl.

Michael Davis (
Author of the year (2008 & 2009)