Sunday, August 11, 2013

How to Write a Legend

The Legend of the Devil's Racetrack, Part I

My first youtube video is up! This is my example of how easy it is to write a legend. The second video (coming soon) will illustrate the following tips for creating a believable legend.

1. Choose the correct time period. There is no sense in creating a legend that took place anytime since the advent of television or the video camera. In fact, the farther back in time you can go, the better since no one can fact check your story. I recommend setting it before/during/after the "War Between the States", or near the battle for American independence. If you are feeling adventurous, place it before the New World was discovered!

2. Place is also important. It's easier to use your imagination (as I did) in how a place got it's name or for an unusual geological formation (Devil's Tower, Pilot Mountain).

3. While you can have as many characters as your heart (or your muse) desires, one particular type of character is important: a villain. Male or female, young or old. That is not important. What you truly must have is a despicably evil, mean, lazy, greedy, or otherwise easy-to-hate character.

4. Remember to use suspense and plenty of descriptions to build that suspense too! You can't simply jump from the beginning to the cause of the legend without a little backstory to create a great picture in your audience's mind. Beware of too much telling, though! You want to SHOW the story through dialogue and action!

5. If possible make a modern connection. This is that "legend has it" ending where the audience discovers how they can be part of the legend by visiting your location during a full moon or on a dark and stormy winter night.

So, think of a place and a time, and then recall those ghost stories you liked to hear at camp or at a sleepover. Remember the feelings a really good story brought out in you and then recreate those feelings with your original legend!

*Disclaimer for my legend: at no point in time have I or will I claim my story is the reason for the naming of Devil's Racetrack Road. I'm sure there is another legend out there they may even come closer to the truth. My legend is my own creation and is for entertainment purposes only.

No comments: