dinsdag 30 oktober 2012

Halloween? Hello Folklore

With Halloween coming up, what better manner to start off with a new blog post than with the subject of folkloric traditions in novels, world-building and so on?
Whereas a lot of people see Halloween as a repulsive commercial feast brought over by American multinationals, the origins lie in the early pagan rituals which were subsequently inherited by the Christians as the day before All Saints to appease to the new converts.

"The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane" by John Quido
Adding folklore, other stories throughout your own, for world-building or other purposes, means adding flavour to your atmosphere. It can be a break from the story, to deepen a location, custom, day of the year for your characters or can function as an important plot point. Is it a poem recited by a bard about some location, is it a symbol characters make before going on a great adventure, is it the reason for a truce and maybe the end of a great war? Who knows, but folklore can be .

The most important thing before you start designing folklore is knowing your own. For people wanting to read up on the world's folklore, I suggest checking out http://worldoftales.com/ which contains a lot of folk tales, fairy tales and fables from all over the world. For more specific stories from your neighbourhood, the library or older people are your main source of information of course.

If your story is set in the real world or a different version of our world, keep in mind that folklore is publicly available and you can use it in your project freely (as long as you don't claim to have invented it). For those that want to write their own, try studying "real" folklore to get a feel for the writing style and meanings therein. Folklore can range from superstition to a construction of complex and multi-layered meanings.

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