Question Hi Cathy, I am plotting and developing a novel currently but have ran into a few problems about how to portray religion and certain mythological characters without upsetting any demographic or running into any form of libel or copyright. My story is somewhat similar to an Indiana Jones type of adventure, with a fair amount of other myth and religious aspects thrown in.
From my understanding there is no law on using well known myth character like Zeus for example and placing them in a different setting or changing the character from the one shown in myth. Secondly how can i portray certain elements of Christian and Jewish faith without creating offence. And conclusively, is there a rule on the use of archeological findings and ruins, for example use of the Pyramids of Giza or ones of occult status like Atlantis or Shangri-La?
Answer Hi, Ricky!
The nice thing with fiction is you get a wide latitude to play with. Here's the trick I've learned so that you don't tick anyone off. Have a CHARACTER get offended in the reader's place. You then have the opportunity to have your protagonist/villain explain why/how the mythos the reader understands to be true DOESN'T APPLY to your new, improved world.
Think of every possible argument/objection someone who is truly offended would make, and have the character you create debate the issue with someone else. Let them be at least PARTIALLY convinced (even if only because they can't dispute their own eyes) and your reader will happily go along for the ride. It's called the "suspension of disbelief" in the trade. :)
No rules about use of findings. I do it all the time. You get to turn things on their ear. But you DO have to stay faithful to the proper TECHNIQUES. You'll get slaughtered for mis-identifying a tool or a procedure if your character is supposed to be an "expert". I highly recommend picking up a few issues of ARCHAEOLOGY or BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY (or at least looking at some of the articles online) to get a real sense of "being there" for your characters.
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