This week, I am not introducing the next unit, “Israel’s Golden Age,” because I want to wait until Friday. That way we will also have time to talk about Morning Star in class. But you still have plenty of work to do. This week we will learn about the reasons why we can trust the reliability of Scripture, and we will begin our pre-writing activity packets.
You will have one reading assignment, that you should start as soon as possible; it is a long article. We have looked at some ancient texts already this year. I wanted to emphasize that the Bible is NOT just an ancient text. It is reliable. It is the most unique book that has ever been written. Please read, “Can We Trust The Bible” by Charlie Campbell this week. We may or may not have a pop quiz on this article on Friday. 😀 So don’t just skim through it, learn it.
Leave a comment in the section below about what YOU think is one of the stronger reasons you can trust the reliability of the Scriptures.
Time To Get Started Writing
Now let’s talk about the writing assignment. Before you pick up a pencil this week you need to know that the MOST IMPORTANT part of writing a short story, or a myth like we are doing for our class is PRE-WRITING. Pre-writing is messy. You can use charts, diagrams, pictures, scribbles. You just need to get ideas out. There will be no pretty, or flowery sentences at this point in the process. Just rough notes. Lots of ideas.
What I like to do is get a BIG piece of poster paper and make a web diagram.
In the center I would write “My Myth”
Then in each bubble I would write a category, like plot, characters, setting, theme, conflict, etc. And I would just keep expanding off that. It can get really big, but it is just a bunch of one word labels.
Please feel free to create a big web diagram if that will help you organize your thoughts.
Again, no sentences, just key words and notes.
Also, something that may help get your creativity flowing is snacks. So you may want to ask your parents to get you something that you can mindlessly eat while you work. You need something that will produce glucose, which is brain food. So if you can eat pretzels, or popcorn that would be great to have next to your poster paper and markers.
BRAIN TIP– Your brain likes color. Use markers, highlighters, or colored pencils. You can use a different color for each character.
If you are writing the epic, you can color code the 5 different parts of your story. Think about how you can use color to help you categorize your writing.
I know it sounds weird to start with characters instead of plot, but hopefully you have a general conflict or goal in mind already. So this is the most important place to start. You need to develop your characters so you know how they will act in the circumstances you are creating for them. Let’s start with a new literary term–archetype.
Definition of Archetype
As a literary device, an archetype is a reoccurring symbol or motif throughout literature that represents universal patterns of human nature. It can also refer to the original model on which all other things of the same kind are based. For example, the common character of a hero is an archetype in that all heroes in literature share some key traits. We can also call certain famous heroes such as King Arthur and Luke Skywalker archetypal heroes, as they fit this mold.
The word archetype comes from a compound Greek word for “origin” and “model.” Therefore, the definition of archetype refers to it as the first form for whatever else comes after it. Archetypes are abstract in that the first mold is not a specific person or thing, but instead a concept made concrete by specific and reoccurring examples and patterns in literature. Therefore there is no one character who is the archetype for all heroes that came after, but instead an intangible sense of hero that is personified by the many hundreds of hero examples that have been created in literature.
Common Examples of Archetype
It can be helpful to think of archetype as similar to a cookie cutter. The cookie cutter is not the cookie itself, but instead gives form to the cookie. While we colloquially use the term “cookie cutter” to mean identical products, one could argue that a cookie cutter could be used on infinitely diverse types of dough. Therefore, the product is always similarly shaped, yet has a vast array of possible variations, just like archetypes.
Many types of media use archetypes with frequency. Reality shows always seem to portray at least one character as the villain, while sitcoms often have the archetypal character of the sidekick.
There is a huge list of character types, symbols, and situations that are considered archetypes. Here are some examples of archetype from real life:
- Hero: Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi
- Rebel: Che Guevara, William Wallace
- Ruler: Napoleon, Genghis Khan
- Healer: Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa
- Adventurer: Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo
- Innocent: Anne Frank, Malala Musafzai
- Genius: Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci
- Jester: Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin
- Outlaw: Jesse James, Butch Cassidy
Significance of Archetype in Literature
Almost all works of literature contain examples of archetype. This is because archetypes stem from cultural and psychological myths that are universal or nearly so. For example, the plot of a character going on a quest is found in oral storytelling traditions and works of literature from around the world and from all time periods. Thus the “quest” plot is an archetype. Since almost all types of plots and characters have been codified into archetypes it is difficult, if not impossible, to create a story without using these long established symbols and patterns. By trading in archetypes, authors help the audience understand what the expectations are for a certain type of story or character. The author then doesn’t have to explain as much, and when the author breaks from the mold to some degree, that rupture will be all the more intriguing to the reader.
So when you hear of archetypes–just realize that they are characters that fit already established patterns from mythology, literature and life. Here is a good video to demonstrate this concept:
I don’t know who all the characters represented are, and I am not endorsing all the movies or shows represented. I just thought it was cool because of the ones that I did recognize. And this video begins and ends by mentioning Carl Jung (pronounced YOONG). He was a Swiss Psychiatrist who studied Freud. He was a weirdo, but because he came up with analytical psychology, a lot of the ideas about archetypes comes from him. Anyways, just a disclaimer.
Now go ahead and start working on your characters. See if you are able to identify any of these archetypes in your characters—the hero, the mother, the virgin (which is simply another name for maiden), the witch, the villain, the trickster, the sidekick, the wise one, etc.
Direct Characterization–when the writer tells you what the character is like– “Tony Stark is a womanizer.”
Indirect Characterization–when the writer shows you what the character is like– “Tony Stark saw the beautiful woman and put his arm around her as if she was a free sample of teriyaki chicken, never asking her name.”
Do you see the difference? You can use direct characterization every once in a while. But it is much more believable to use indirect, because then we believe it.
Spend the next 45 minutes (or more if you don’t finish) working on the characterization pages in your packet (pg.3-4)
WARNING–The video below is very informative, but there is a mild double entendre about 45 seconds into it.
Please don’t watch it unless your parents watch it first and give you permission.
Dear Parents, it is up to you to decide if you want them to see it, or if you want to skip that brief joke and let them see the parts before and after it, or if you want to just teach them the material yourself.
The handout on page 5 will help you describe your setting with sensory details. You will be able to come up with details that describe the smell, sight, touch, sound of your setting.
You may need to use extra paper and make notes for other locations in your story. Use as many adjectives as you can think of, and include two similes. A simile is a comparison using like or as, ex. “Spending the night in the dark sulfur swamp was like rubbing your face in a sweaty barbarians armpit.”
Now that you have gotten to know your characters it will be easier to develop your conflict. Today look at page 6 of your handout. Look first at the chart.
Plot—For plot you have some options: The Quest, Voyage and Return,
Rebirth, Overcoming the Monster, and Rags to Riches (you can’t do Rebirth or Rags to Riches for this assignment). Which one of these plot options most closely resembles yours?
Character– What is your characterization more like? Male and Female (two heroes)? Single Protagonist (as hero), Male? Two Males (one sidekick)? Single Protagonist (as hero), Female? Female and Female (one a sidekick)? This is only talking about your main character/hero. Is it a guy alone? Is it a guy and girl? Is it a girl hero? Are there sidekicks involved?
Conflict–Who is your character fighting against? Technology or robots? Nature? God? (I am not sure how you would do this, please talk to me if you want to go this route), Society? A Villain? A Monster? A Giant? The Devil, or Spiritual Forces of Wickedness and Evil? Feel free to write a different option below this chart since it is a myth and not just a regular story.
Theme–What is your main theme of your myth? Innovation? Death? Love? Betrayal? Faith? etc.
Setting–What is your Setting: Present, Pre-historic, Post-apocalyptic, 1975, Steampunk, or something else?
Now, go back to the top of the page and write a bit about your villain and the conflict.
Before we start our work today, please watch this short video below.
One of the things that the video pointed out, and I want to stress to you, is that the main chunk of your story will be “rising action.” Do not look at the shape of the diagram, and because it is a triangle think that the “falling action” and “resolution” need to be just as long as the “rising action”–you will be so overwhelmed! LOL! No, no, no. This diagram is only here to help you label the events, and show you the progression of the story. To help you understand this, the climax of Romeo and Juliet is the death scene. This happens at the end in Act 5, Scene 3, So the falling action and the resolution take place at the very end, the last few scenes. So your pyramid can be very lopsided 😀
Please go ahead and fill in the chart on the last page of your packet.
I hope you had fun with your work this week. You have to let go a little bit, and allow yourself to be creative. This is definitely harder for people that are more logical, or even if you just have a more serious personality type. But you can stretch yourself, out of your comfort zone, and develop in these skills.
I am rooting for you!!!!