G was going to be ghouls and ghosties, things that go bump in the night, and then the Grim Reaper*. But then I thought of gods.
Gods are full of possibilities.
Whether you take an existing pantheon and re-work it, modernise it, or use it as a basis for a fantasy pantheon, or whether you make up an entirely new mythology.
I'm not going to write about re-worked myth here. So no Marvel Thor or Mr. Wednesday**.
I want to talk about the possibilities of gods in your writing, and mine. A fully worked pantheon and mythology is going to add depth to your writing... What is the relationship between the gods, is a worshipper of one going to look down on/ dislike/ hate someone who worships another, and why? Are there some gods worshipped in different aspects, if the mythology diverges in different regions?
The trick is to work the details in with subtlety. What Tolkien achieved is mind-blowing, but I think sometimes he goes a little too far, dumps the information on us a little too thickly. For the most part, though, he has created one of the richest fantasy worlds to exist in only three books. (I'm ignoring all the additional bumph that was published post-mortem)
I think it would be interesting to look at taking a god as a central character though. Maybe not the main character (although don't rule that out either).
It has a lot of potential. You have to bring him down to a human level, to enable a reader to engage, so... has he been cast down? Is he slumming it (and why)? Does he (she?) remember who they are? Are they hiding, and what would force such a powerful being into hiding? Have they been stripped of their powers?
At what point do you let the reader know the character is a god/ goddess?
If you're familiar with the original Dragonlance trilogy you'll know how great a character a god in disguise can be. And if you're not familiar with it, but love epic quest fantasy, then go find it now, read it. (I actually prefer it to LoTR... ! )
And finally... where do your gods come from? Were they here in the beginning, are they the creators? Are the current gods descendants of the original gods, or usurpers? Are they humans risen in power? Are they from another dimension, another planet, the future? If they are still a presence in the world, what are their motives...?
It's easy to throw generic gods around. But I know you can do better... ;)
The Renegade A to Z. Or find us on Twitter - #RenegadeAtoZ
Click through to the list and check out Reginald Golding's Renegade A to Z. He's actually using the A to Z to build his own pantheon of gods, with some impressive results. =)
*It's difficult now to include the Grim Reaper as a character in any larger sense because Terry Prathett did it so well. His Death is the quintessential Death, with his deadpan (pun-unintended) sense of humour, hollow voice and ongoing struggle with understanding life.
**Mr. Wednesday being Odin in Neil Gaiman's excellent American Gods.