Amazing Kids! Magazine

Your Own Lessons: Writing Myths!

By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor

 

You’ve all probably learned a lot since returning to school. Math, reading, science, and social studies are all important subjects to improve your understanding of the world. However, I’m sure there’s still plenty that you are curious about, or maybe there is an explanation for a natural phenomenon that you found to be boring when explained in your science class. If so, you should try writing a myth. While they might not be accurate explanations for the mysteries of life, they are very fun to write. Myths are often fantastical, are set in olden times, and incorporate imaginary beings such as monsters, wizards, gods, and goddesses. The most famous myths are Greek legends and use of the Gods of Olympus to explain happenstances as prominent as why the seasons change, to small wonders like why narcissus plants grow near water. You can write your own myth about anything, but you may be unsure about how to begin. Here are some tips to help you get started!

Start with a Question

The very first step in writing a myth is deciding the question you wish to answer with your story. Think about objects and observations in your everyday life: water, a fork, rainbows, a table—anything you want. The next step is to ask yourself a question about your topic, beginning with “how” or “why.” For example, Why does water run downhill? How did people start to eat with forks? Why do rainbows form? Why does a table have four legs? Try to find a question to which you don’t know the answer. Or, pick a question that has an answer you don’t like. As long as you can answer it in a creative and original way, the real answer does not matter.

Word Associate

After you find your question, you will have to start brainstorming your own answer. You want to answer your question using ideas that are not usually connected. If you have no idea where to begin, try a word association exercise. Take a piece of paper and a pencil, and write down words that remind you of your object without stopping. Try to write as quickly as possible without picking your pencil up from the page. This will help you record raw ideas that you can morph into stories. For example, I once wrote a myth explaining why the world is in color. I decided that color came from a made-up rainbow goddess but didn’t know how, so I brainstormed. From color, I thought of primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Then I imagined where those colors may have come from and settled on blood, boogers, and tears. Thus, I invented an answer to my question by explaining how colors came from a goddess’s body.

Plot and Characters

Remember, this is a story you’re telling! You might have the answer to your question, but you still need characters, a problem, and a solution. You might say that the reason a table has four legs is that the three-legged tables fell over, but you need a story to describe how the table got its fourth leg. Create a world of three-legged tables and invent characters that eat at them. How do they feel about the tables? Who changed the design of the table? Was it a god, a peasant, a warrior, or even an animal? How did they find the inspiration to improve it? While writing my myth, I invented a black and white world in which Roygbivia, my rainbow goddess, was painting the earth one day when she accidentally got a paper cut. As this had never happened to her before, she started to cry. However, then she noticed the bright red color of her blood, the deep blue of her tears, and the yellow of her boogers and mixed them into her paint, creating a palette of colors!

Myth is an exciting genre of writing, so make sure you have a lot of fun with it! Write with your friends, and share to see who can come up with the most creative stories. There are no limits, so be sure to push your imagination as far as it will go!


Works Cited

“How to Write a Myth.” WikiHow, WikiHow, www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Myth

Yolen, Jane. “Myths Writing Workshop.” Teacher.scholastic.com, Scholastic, teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/mff/mythswshop_index.htm

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