Anonymous asked: I’m a little confused now. You say to not use mythologies that are still active, which makes sense, but then I see lots of other writing blogs promoting using other mythologies that ARE active, along with the dead ones. What should I do?
I’m pretty sure I have never said you can’t use mythology from active cultures. I think what I’ve said is that you should be careful about changing mythology from active cultures.
It’s difficult to explain why this is the case, because I think many of us do not come from ancient cultures whose mythology holds sacred meaning. The best I can do for comparison is this: imagine your favorite book series blows up into a huge fandom that has intense personal significance to you and millions of others. Then it’s announced that they’re going to turn the series into a movie, and you find out that they’re making a lot of changes to the main character just to make the movie more interesting and to make it stand out from other movies. Maybe they change the character’s appearance and gender, take away some of their magical abilities while making them an expert sniper—despite the book character being a pacifist—and they make the character angry and rude instead of lighthearted and loving. These changes would probably upset you. They might even offend you. Whereas, if this occurred with an old forgotten fandom that not a lot of people cared about anymore, it probably wouldn’t bother you. That’s the difference between making changes to an active culture’s mythology and a dead culture’s mythology. We can make those changes with the mythology of dead cultures because there’s no one left who holds cultural and sacred reverence of those mythologies.
And, I didn’t say you can’t do it. I said you probably shouldn’t. There’s a big difference.
What should you do? It’s up to you. Lots of people do it anyway, but then lots of people do things that aren’t necessarily good for society, and that doesn’t make it right. You have to decide whether you want to be respectful of what’s sacred to other cultures, or whether you just don’t care.
Again—we’re talking about making significant changes to these mythologies, not about using them or making changes that don’t impact the integrity of the mythology. I hope that makes sense!
Anonymous said: In response to the person asking about active cultures’ mythologies: if you were to write about Hinduism, for example, that would be super cool, and as a Hindu, I’d really appreciate more of my culture in the media! That being said, if you were to change fundamental ideas of Hinduism just because it would fit better with your book, that wouldn’t be so super cool.