Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nina Munteanu Launches Angel of Chaos at Hal-Con and the Hero's Journey

Angel of Chaos is ... a gripping blend of big scientific ideas, cutthroat politics and complex yet sympathetic characters that will engage readers from its thrilling opening to its surprising and satisfying conclusion —Hayden Trenholm, Aurora-winning author of The Steele Chronicles

I'm looking forward to attending Hal-Con, the premiere science fiction convention this weekend (October 29-31, 2010) at the luxurious Lord Nelson Hotel in downtown Halifax. I'll be launching my latest book, the eco-thriller Angel of Chaos (Dragon Moon Press) on Saturday morning at 10:30, with reception following, where you can eat and drink and ask me silly questions to which I will give you silly answers. You may also get an autographed copy of the book, which you can then sell on Ebay for a bazillion dollars.

The day before (on Friday at 4 pm) I'll be giving my popular writer's workshop in which I discuss common and effective plot approaches for compelling storytelling and expound on the "Hero's Journey" myth and the importance of metaphor that encompass heroic adventure in all writing.

The hero's journey encompasses 1. archetypes the hero encounters [or embodies] in the various stages of her adventure; and 2. the various stages of the actual journey itself. The kind of hero also defines the quality and form of journey depicted, based on the story/myth/message intended.

To write a truly compelling story is to resonate with the universal truths of metaphor within the consciousness of humanity. According to scholar and mythologist Joseph Campbell this involves an open mind and a certain amount of humility; and giving oneself to the story...not unlike the hero who gives her life to something larger than herself.

Note the words he has carefully chosen in the following quote:

"Anyone writing a creative work knows that you open, you yield yourself, and the book talks to you and builds itself....you become the carrier of something that is given to you from what have been called the Muses--or, in biblical language, "God." This is no fancy, it is a fact. Since the inspiration comes from the unconscious, and since the unconscious minds of the people of any single small society have much in common, what the shaman or seer [or artist] brings forth is something that is waiting to be brought forth in everyone. So when one hears the [artist's] story, one responds, "Aha! This is my story. This is something that I had always wanted to say but wasn't able to say." There has to be dialogue, and interaction between the [artist]and the community." This I call tapping into the universal truth where metaphor lives. A story comes alive when these two resonate (see my two previous articles on resonance).

So, why are there so many stories of the hero in mythology? Campbell replies: "Because that's what's worth writing about." The hero's journey is everyone's journey. Arthur Schopenhauer discusses the question of how human beings can so participate in the peril or pain of another that without thought, she would spontaneously risk and even sacrifice her own life to save another--that what we normally think of as the first law of nature and self-preservation is suddenly dissolved in an act of selfless "rescue"? Schopenhauer's answer is that when such a psychological crisis happens, a metaphysical breakthrough occurs in which one realizes that you and the other are two aspects of one life; that our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life. This is, according to Schopenhauer, the truth of your life. And the hero is the one who has given her physical life to the realization of that truth, says Campbell.

The hero is the ultimate altruist, sacrificing her life for the greater good. She is warrior and lover who slays the dragon of the status quo, so to speak. She enacts the ultimate in sacrifice. "The twelfth-century troubadour poetry of courtly love was a protest against the supernaturally justified violation of life's joy in truth," says Campbell."The spirit is really the bouquet of life. It is not something breathed into life, it comes out of life...[and is] one of the glorious things about the mother-goddess religions, where the world is the body of the Goddess, divine in itself...There is in these mythologies a kind of universal identity." Captured through metaphor and symbolism.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Really wish I was at Hal-Con, Nina. ~I would love to be seeing you and asking questions.

SF Girl said...

Me too, Jean-Luc! Maybe I'll travel over to Birmingham for a con sometime... :)

Or, perhaps you'll get over this way on shore leave from the Enterprise sometime... :-D

Carina said...

Such inciteful, relevant information for every writer out there. I love Mr. Campbell. When I have finished writing "The Syrian Secret" and haven't any more authors to read???, i need to study "The Hero With a Thousand Faces"...good to have you on board or better yet, great to be on board!...

warmest wishes,


SF Girl said...

Thank you, Carina!

Glad to be onboard. And happy to see you onboard too, Carina. We are all in for a great adventure, a "hero's adventure" as Joseph Campbell would describe it. When you write from the heart you are "following your bliss"...

In his book, "The Power of Myth" Campbell says this: "If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living."

Best Wishes,

Anonymous said...

Contrats on the launching of another novel! Very exciting!
We will be looking for copy in our local Chapters!!

Baby Brie

SF Girl said...

Thank you, Baby Brie!

If you can't find it in your local Chapters, you may need to order it. It should be in every store but you never know... Hope you enjoy it!

Best Wishes,

x said...

I love the cover art Nina.

SF Girl said...

Thanks, Esau! I do too... pretty much conveys the dark-light aspect of the story... :)