Genre Conventions and Obligatory Scenes

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to edit

In the Story Grid, Shawn Coyne talks at length about the conventions and obligatory scenes in different genres. Writing Excuses Season 11 goes into this as well.

Every genre has conventions. “Specific requirements in terms of the story’s cast or methods in moving the plot forward” (Story Grid, 47). The crime thriller is going to have a crime committed, a detective to solve it, and a criminal to commit the crime. A romance is going to have two characters fall in love with each other. Those facts are the conventions.

Obligatory scenes are the specific way those conventions are carried out. For instance, in a romance novel, there’s a first kiss scene. In a hero’s journey there’s the darkest night scene.

The fact that genres and conventions have obligatory scenes doesn’t mean that every single darkest night is the same or every conventional character is the same. It’s the way authors take what’s expected, what’s required for a genre and change it to fit their story that makes the conventions and obligatory scenes work. That moment in Inside Out where Joy is stuck down in the pit sobbing over Riley’s memories works even though a darkest night has been done in literally every movie and story ever written before. But you couldn’t take that moment and put it in something even similar. It wouldn’t have worked in Wreck it Ralph for instance because his darkest night had to feature him wrecking something.

Book Signing

happy-st-patrivcks-day-from-beautiful-girl

Remember to wear green!

 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, come join me tomorrow at the Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore in Atlanta, Georgia for a book signing at 2:00 PM!

Here’s the address:

5531 Roswell Road NE
Atlanta,GA 30342
Phone: 404-255-5207

And you can find more information on their website. http://www.phoenixanddragon.com/index.html

 

 

Mythology Monday: Chthonic Deities

Chthonic deities, Underworld, Greek mythology, Retellings, Daughters of Zeus, young adult greek mythology retelling, Hades, Persephone ,Thanatos , The Judges , Cerberus, Charon, Cronus , Erinyes , Hecate , Hermes , Hypnos , Moirai ,Nyx ,  Acheron , Arae,  Ascalaphus , Kakodaimones ,Empusa ,Epiales , Erebus ,  Keres , Lamia , Lethe , Leuce , Melinoe , Minthe , Mormolyceia (Mormos) , Oneiroi , Styx , Tartarus ,Daira, Eurynomus, Gorgyra, Lampades, Cocytus, Macaria, Menoetes, Phlegethon, Trophonius,

Orpheus spoke up. “Last time I saw you, you didn’t even know you were a goddess. How did you end up down here? You don’t look like you belong with the chthonic group. No offense,” he said to Hades.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but her parents are Olympian,” Hades replied.

“Chthonic? Olympian? What are you guys talking about?”

“Chthonic deities are gods associated with the Underworld. We tend to have darker features.” Hades motioned to his black hair. “Olympians were associated with Olympus, and were various shades of blond. The primordials tended to represent their element to the extreme, and the Titans were . . . well, titanic in size.”

I blinked. Gods were classified by appearance? I supposed it wasn’t relevant anymore with so few of us left, but the whole system seemed strange to me. None of that mattered, though, because Orpheus remembered the last time he saw me! I was sure my face was bright red. Hades sighed, no doubt bored by the whole conversation.

~@~

Chthonic deities were gods associated with the Underworld. Below are links to descriptions of the more important Chthonic Deities.

Hades | Persephone | Thanatos |  The Judges Cerberus |Charon | Cronus | Erinyes | Hecate | Hermes | Hypnos | Moirai | Nyx |  Acheron | AraeAscalaphusKakodaimones |   |Empusa |Epiales | Erebus |  Keres | Lamia | Lethe | Leuce | MelinoeMinthe Mormolyceia (Mormos) | Oneiroi | Styx | Tartarus 

And this is a list of the Chthonic deities too minor to get their own blog.

Daira (Knowing One or Teacher), was a daughter of Oceanus, sister to Styx, and a key figure in the Eleusinian mysteries. While Demeter was searching for Persephone, she visited a town called Eleusis, and drank water from a particular well. Daira was the Naiad attached to that well. She was also the mother of the king, Eleusis, by Hermes.

Daira initiated members into the mystery cult that worshipped Demeter, Persephone, and Hekate. Persephone and Hekate both sometimes borrowed Daira’s name in invocations.

Eurynomus (Wide Ruling), played an important role in keeping the Underworld clean by stripping the corpses of their skin. This underworld spirit was often depicted with blue-black skin and rode around on a vulture.

Gorgyra (Underwater Drain), may have been another name for the River Styx or in her other form, Gorgyra Orphne, Nyx. She and Acheron were the parents of Ascalaphus.

Lampades were torch bearing nymphs of the Underworld, and gifts from Zeus to Hekate because of her loyalty in the Titanomachy. The light from their torches had the power to drive people to insanity, so naturally they accompanied Hekate on all her nighttime hauntings and revels.

Cocytus was both a river (of tears) and a goddess (of sorrow) in the Underworld.

Macaria (not to be confused with the daughter of Hercules) was the goddess of blessed death. She is a daughter of Hades (no mother is ever mentioned, but the man was fairly monogamous). She might have been a kinder counterpart to Thanatos or she might have led the souls to the isle of the blessed, or she might not have been a goddess at all and might have just been an expression (go in peace). Very, very minor goddess.

Menoetes (Doomed Might) was a spirit who herded cattle in the Underworld. While Hercules was in the Underworld for his 12th labor, the two wrestled, and Menoetes lost. Fortunately, Persephone was there to save him.

Phlegethon (flaming) was one of the five rivers located in the Underworld and/or the god of the river of fire located in the Underworld. The river was made of fire and, in my universe, acted as the division between the Asphodel fields and Tartarus. I’ve heard a myth that says that he and Styx were in love. As rivers, they flowed into one another.

Trophonius (Nourisher of the Mind) was the demigod son of Apollo and Erginos. He and his brother Agamedes built the temple to Apollo at Delphi. As a reward, both brothers were told to do anything they wanted for six days, and on the seventh day, their greatest wish would be granted. Both brothers were found dead on the seventh day (possibly for stealing treasure) in a cave near Lebadeia in Boiotia. Trophonius is considered to be the cave spirit for what became a sacred site.

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to Chthonic Deities. If you enjoyed the Persephone series, follow up with the Aphrodite trilogy. Love and War is on sale today for .99 cents. 

FAQ Friday: Persephone’s age and spoilers

Spoiler warning if you haven’t read Persephone.

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

The question asked by a reader was “I get why Persephone didn’t think to ask, but how come Hades didn’t immediately realize Zeus was still alive by the fact that he had a sixteen year old daughter?

That’s a really good question. Gods get a lot of perks that humans don’t when it comes to reproduction. For instance, children are a consensual choice between two divine partners. So, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that god magic allowed Demeter to postpone her pregnancy until she felt she’d charmed enough priestesses to maintain worship to keep herself and her child alive. At least that’s my theory.

 

 

Mythology Monday: Melinoe

Melinoe, Greek mythology, goddess of ghosts and madness, retellings, Persephone, Hades, zeus, young adult greek mythology retelling, Daughters of Zeus

 

“Persephone?” I reached out to caress her cheek.

She flinched. “Don’t.” Her green eyes searched my face. “I should be able to tell.” Her voice broke. Persephone tried to pull back, but I held her fast.

My arms dropped, and I stepped away for good measure. There was no telling what she had gone through, so if she needed space, I was happy to oblige. “Tell what?” I wanted to reach out to her, to demand to know what Zeus had done and how I could fix it, but I didn’t dare. “Persephone.” It was a fight to keep my voice calm. “Tell me where to find you.”

She looked away and I jerked toward her, almost unable to restrain myself from reaching for her. Persephone flinched.

“Hey, it’s okay. Wherever you are, I’m going to find you and bring you home, okay? But I need you to point me in the right direction.”

“Stop.” She took a deep, shuddering breath, sliding her air plant pendant back and forth on the chain of her necklace. “I should be able to tell him from you. If you’re not him, if you’ve taken that from me, if you’ve broken us that badly . . . ” Iron glinted in her eyes, hard and unfeeling. “Then you won’t have to find me. I haven’t come into my powers yet, but I will. I’d be afraid of that day if I were you.”

Comprehension bubbled up within me like bile. I was going to make a way to kill him. Then I’d drag him down to hell and spend the rest of eternity making him suffer.

It wouldn’t be enough. It would never be enough. Zeus looked like me. The bastard had looked like me when he’d hurt her. “It’s me.”

She didn’t look convinced, and I didn’t blame her. I didn’t sound like myself. There was no getting past this. Even if I found a way to get her back, even if everything worked out, she would look at me now and see him.

“Everyone is ‘me.’” Persephone put the word in air quotes. “Be more specific.”

~@~

Melinoe (dark minded) was the moon goddess of ghosts and the bringer of nightmares and madness. Every night she wandered the earth, trailed by a group of wailing ghosts, waiting to strike fear int he hearts of men. One half of her body was black as pitch, the other corpse pale, a testament to her duel nature. She was born on the mouth of the Cocytus River. 

Sometimes Melinoe is described as a daughter of Persephone via Zeus pretending to be Hades. When either Hades or Persephone (myths vary, but personality wise post-abduction this sounds more like a Persephone punishment than a Hades one) discovered what happened, and enraged, rent the daughter resulting from the union, discoloring her flesh.

In my books, I split the difference. Zeus does take on Hades’s likeness in Iron Queen as a trick to drive Persephone to the madness Melinoe represents, but I don’t go physical with that because frankly, I didn’t want to write that story. Plus the whole Zeus as Hades thing is tricky because there are interpretations in Greek Mythology that Zeus and Hades were the same god, just different titles. Or Hades and Dionysus, or Melinoe is actually another title for Hekate or Persephone and the whole origin story is moot. When you mix the religions of a bunch of different regions and try to combine them into one Pantheon, things get messy.

 

**Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that Love and War is still on sale for .99 cents! Click here to buy it today. 

FAQ Friday: Where can I buy Persephone?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

Q: Where can I buy Persephone in format/language/country/for free.

I get variations on this question a lot and for obvious reasons, I am all too happy to answer.

First, some links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads and many, many more.

Persephone is available in print, all the major electronic formats, and as an audiobook narrated by yours truly. Print wise, you can order it wherever books are sold, but unless you happen to live in Athens, Georgia, the odds of you walking in and seeing it on a shelf are slim, so you will have to special order it.

Internationally, Persephone is available through Amazon and to my knowledge Amazon alone. It is at this point in time only available in English.

Audiobook wise, Persephone is available on audible,itunes, and good ol’ amazon.

Persephone occasionally goes on sale for .99 cents, but my publisher has not yet offered it for free. As far as I know, they have no plans to.  If really, really, really want to read my book, but can’t afford it even on sale (trust me, I feel your pain. I have lived in the red) the best suggestion I can offer is your local library. If they don’t have a copy and you request it, chances are they will buy more than one of copy, so not only do you get it free, but it also helps me in terms of sales and exposure. We both win. My books are all available on overdrive, so if your library offers eBooks, there’s a good chance they already have it in an electronic format or can easily obtain it via request. You can even request the audio version. If you’re asking for my recommendation for a good pirate site, let me tell you three quick things.

  1.  While I am truly flattered that you want to read my book enough to commit theft, I’m not J.K Rowling (not that she deserves to be robbed either). I need every penny of my royalties to scrape by.
  2. I have it on good authority from the many, many, many readers who have emailed me complaining their stolen copy of my book infected their computer, that a good chunk of those pirate sites claiming to have my book are bad news.
  3.  When real copies of my book go up, they are pretty quickly taken down, and they stay down for one very important reason. My publisher takes piracy very, very seriously. When they see their products being stolen, they act on it beyond just sending take down notices.

 

I have an E.d.S in School Library Media, so accessibility is very important to me. If you cannot obtain a copy of my book for any reason at all, email me using the contact me form on this website. I’ll see what I can do.