|Author:||Jeanette O'Hagan||Published:||11 months ago.|
|Tags:||Glimpses of Light, Heart of the Mountain, Jeanette O'Hagan, originality, master plots, fresh elements||Category:||Blog tour|
It's my pleasure to welcome Jeanette (Jenny) O'Hagan to The Write Flourish to talk about her new Young Adult fantasy novella 'Heart of the Mountain'. She's also writing an eagerly anticipated series of novels, so please check out her websites for more details about her writing. In today's post, she shares some fascinating insights on the theme of originality in storytelling.
Thank you Nola for inviting me to write this guest blog.
Heart of the Mountain: a short novella is a YA Fantasy Adventure.
Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as prentices when they stumble across a stranger. Trapped under the mountain, young Zadeki’s only thought is to escape home to his kin. Will they pull apart or work together to save the underground realm against deadly peril?
I wrote Heart of the Mountain to fit the theme ‘glimpses of light’ (for the anthology of that name). Perhaps it wasn’t surprising that this theme conjured up dark places like underground kingdoms, tunnels and caves (as a number of the entries in the anthology demonstrated) as well as blindness, night time, or being enclosed. In the end, I submitted Ruhanna’s Flight for the anthology (with motifs of a lighthouse and moonrise as beacons in the darkness) and developed Heart of the Mountain into a short novella. It was interesting to note, though, the similarities and differences between the various stories.
Some scholars argue that there are no truly original stories, that all stories reference those that come before (intertextuality). And in fact, it’s not uncommon for writers to come up with similar ideas independently of each other. Other scholars argue that there is only one (Joseph Campbell) or seven (Christopher Booker) master plots that are constantly retold. Heart of the Mountain, for instance, could be ‘Voyage and Return’ but also has elements of ‘Defeating the Monster’ and ‘Rebirth’ – or indeed ‘Coming of Age.’
Seminal fantasy writers Tolkien and Lewis drew on earlier mythic and legendary tales. Star Wars is a retelling of a common archetype – the hero’s journey as embodied in the orphaned farm boy chosen to fulfil his destiny to save the world. Christopher Paolini’s Eragon was criticised by some for being a pastiche of earlier stories (Star Wars, Tolkien’s Middle Earth. McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern) while some have said The Hunger Games is just the Battle Royale rehashed. Harsh criticism perhaps, as each brings something new to the mix. More to the point, each has transported me and many others into other worlds, has fired the imagination and given hours of enjoyment.
We are all ‘borrowers’ not only from the long line of storytellers that stretch out behind us, but —always — from the Master Storyteller who first spoke the world, and our imaginations, into being. To some extent originality is a kaleidoscope. It’s not the individual pieces that are radically different but the pattern they form at each twist of the tube.
Still, I think we can bring something fresh by adding new concepts, yes, but also by combining elements in a different way, twisting expectations, telling the story from a different view point or introducing a different kind of character or setting.
In Heart of the Mountain, I took existing elements from my narrative world, Nardva, and added new characters and expanded on an event – an underground realm that had been cut off from the world due to the paranoia of its leaders. When a stranger with unusual abilities becomes trapped beneath the mountain, he both disrupts the equilibrium but also brings hope of change. While I could continue to elaborate the fresh elements that make HOM an exciting story :) , I’d prefer to avoid spoilers and let you find that out for yourself.
If desired, you can purchase of copy of Heart of the Mountain here (https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Mountain-short-novella-Under-ebook/dp/B01J74G9I6 ) or here (https://books2read.com/u/4jMrvm). Glimpses of Light is available here https://www.amazon.com/Glimpses-Light-Stories-poems-imagination-ebook/dp/B019FLDHHM
Jeanette O’Hagan enjoys writing fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. She is writing her Akrad’s Legacy series—a Young Adult secondary world fantasy fiction with adventure, courtly intrigue and romantic elements. Her short stories and poems are published in a number of anthologies. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and two children.
You can find her at her Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/JeanetteOHaganAuthorAndSpeaker/ ) or at Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9833645.Jeanette_O_Hagan) on her websites Jenny’sThread (jennysthread.com) or Jeanette O'Hagan Writes (JeanetteOhagan.com).