Since the usual sources of writing prompts haven't been working for me lately I came up with a new one: a weekly theme (e.g. "angel stories") and a list of prompts for each day. They're not always very creative because every time I need a word it disappears. But, for example, this week's set:
#006: Valkyrie stories*
Monday - tassels, straw, feather
Tuesday - hearth, aggression, iron
Wednesday - (five senses) red, bell, sweet, silk, fish
Thursday - alarm, waves, pan
Friday - reflect, irony, elusive
Saturday - (five senses) tessellation, voices, fire, metal, rose
Sunday - the long defeat
My policy is to use these as a jumping-off point. If they all appear in the story, fine, but if they don't, oh well. The idea is to see if they'll inspire some kind of thought process that I can turn into a scene. These aren't full stories either - just snippets. Terrible, embarrassing snippets.
My second week was "Persephone stories." This exercise requires that I come up with something different every day, even if it's just a different scene in the same universe, so I sat down and thought about this myth in a way I apparently didn't, before. Earlier attempts to write Persephone myths - or rewrite them - focused on what happens: Hades grabs Persephone, Demeter is pissed, winter ensues. The primary purpose of this myth has always seemed to be about explaining the natural order: why does winter exist? Why does spring come when it does? In addition, I guess you can also pull out a threefold goddess explanation (Persephone, Demeter, Hekate - maiden, mother, crone). You can see a lesson in it: don't steal women, hell hath no fury. Etc. I'm sure there are others.
For some reason it never occurred to me to look past these events or explanations to see the fruit of this union between Hades and Persephone, and it's so obvious it burns.
Persephone was the queen of the Erinyes, underworld daimones who punished the crimes of filial betrayal, impiety and murder. She despatched them from the Underworld when curses were invoked in her name. (source
In some versions of the story, the Erinyes are Persephone's children. When you're wronged so spectacularly that you have no other recourse, you pound your fists on the ground and cry to the Furies for revenge, and they deliver. In other versions they're only servants, but I liked the former because it clarified what I had to have noticed when writing Wild Mint: Persephone is angry, and she never gets justice or vengeance. However, one can call on her, hoping to be avenged - dead or alive, I think - and your wish may be granted.
Not to say Persephone doesn't do things simply because she's angry, or has been manipulated by others. There are dozens of competing stories and traditions; I haven't even read the entirety of the page I linked to because it exhausts me. (I'd rather read the full texts, I mean. Snips and quotes aren't the same, and I get tired of scrolling through them. /shame) But this little sliver of an idea fueled a week of story snippets, and I think I like it much better than whatever I was working with before-- which wasn't much.
Anyway, I can't be too hopeful. We're talking about ancient Greece; I doubt Persephone's feelings or motivations were the important part.
* not stories about Valkyrie Profile; original fic bits about valkyries in myth and literature.
This entry was originally posted at https://myaru.dreamwidth.org/821408.html. Discuss here or there as you prefer.
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