Myths are a great place to look for inspiration for plots and/or characters. Of course, myths have been the source of inspiration for centuries and still are. The Percy Jackson books are a prime example. Another is Ed King, a modern retelling of Oedipus Rex. But just because myths have been mined for years doesn’t mean they still can’t spark ideas in the next generation of authors. There are so many myths, from so many different cultures, containing so many different stories and characters that I don’t think you can exhaust the possibilities for inspiration.
If you don’t know much about myths, Myths and Legends: an Illustrated Guide to Their Origins and Meanings by Philip Wilkinson is a great place to start. Click here to see it on GoodReads. Not only does it cover familiar stories from Greek and Norse cultures, but it introduced me to new stories from India, China, and Slavic cultures.
I find the Greek and Norse myths appeal to me most. I have also read a lot about Celtic myths. For Greek myths, I really like Edith Hamilton’s Mythology because she explains what sources she uses for her stories. If you think you can stand the myths retold in antiquated language, try Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch. Aside from the usual Greek and Norse myths, it has stories from other cultures that I hadn’t read before, like French and Welsh.
In my next post, I’ll write about how myths have directly aspects of my writing..