Fiction, Story, Myths information for online study; you can learn about fiction and related subjects, self-study and e-Learning courses about fiction.

Fiction, Story and Myths

A work of fiction is created in the imagination of its author. The author invents the story and makes up the characters, the plot or storyline, the dialogue and sometimes even the setting. A fictional work does not claim to tell a true story. Instead, it immerses us in experiences that we may never have in real life, introduces us to types of people we may never otherwise meet and takes us to places we may never visit in any other way. Fiction can inspire us, intrigue us, scare us and engage us in new ideas.

Novellas are longer than short stories and tend to run about 20,000 to 50,000 words, usually between 60 and 120 pages. Because novellas have more room to work with, they typically have a more complex plot or storyline and more characters than short stories. Famous novellas include Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Jack London's The Call of the Wild.

A narrative or story in its broadest sense is anything told or recounted; more narrowly, and more usually, something told or recounted in the form of a causally-linked set of events; account; tale, the telling of a happening or connected series of happenings, whether true or fictitious.

 From the Greek mythos, myth means story or word. Mythology is the study of myth. As stories (or narratives), myths articulate how characters undergo or enact an ordered sequence of events. The term myth has come to refer to a certain genre (or category) of stories that share characteristics that make this genre distinctly different from other genres of oral narratives, such as legends and folktales. Many definitions of myth repeat similar general aspects of the genre and may be summarized thus: Myths are symbolic tales of the distant past (often primordial times) that concern cosmogony and cosmology (the origin and nature of the universe), may be connected to belief systems or rituals, and may serve to direct social action and values.

Fiction and Non-Fiction

“Fiction” refers to literature created from the imagination. Mysteries, science fiction, romance, fantasy, chick lit, crime thrillers are all fiction genres. Examples of classic fiction include To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, 1984 by George Orwell and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Our Fiction Department also has a large selection of popular movies and television shows on DVD.

“Nonfiction” refers to literature based in fact. It is the broadest category of literature. The Nonfiction Department has books and videos in many categories including biography, business, cooking, health and fitness, pets, crafts, home decorating, languages, travel, home improvement, religion, art and music, history, self-help, true crime, science and humor. We also have a section of popular and award-winning documentary DVDs.

Six Word Story

What does it take to pack in meaning? Try writing a six word story. Getting across a point in so few words is a real challenge. While difficult, shorter can mean you can try more. The ability to experiment mentally like this is invaluable.

In this fun format you literally only have six words to work with. Along with your select words, you can use punctuation to its best advantage. This is a very special format that takes a lot of skill. Six-word stories are a lot harder than you think to write. You have to set the stage for a story in fewer words than the length of most sentences.

Opinion Piece

This kind of writing forces you to find (and use) your voice. Opinions are what you want in your books. All your characters will need them, in their own flavors, and the overall book will have a feel to it that is an outreach of your beliefs as an author.


Writing poems is notoriously difficult. Writing poetic prose is almost as taxing. It’s all about word choice, arresting concepts, and few lines.
Trying to convey an idea through enriched word choices, no glue words, and a metaphoric narrative that packs an emotional punch can give you a new view on writing the text of your book. A good poem has a takeaway message. It leaves a wafting emotion in its wake. Poems are not just beautiful, touching, or evocative strings of words. A memorable poem is a verbally expressed concept full of images.

Short Story

A short story has more breathing room than flash fiction, but is essentially the same, just longer. Writing a short story hones the skill of knowing where to dip in and out of a storyline. In a short story you really only has room for one key piece of the action. You might find your book idea isn’t weighty enough to carry that big a word count, but honed down, the idea makes a beautiful short story.

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction lives on the short end of the short story spectrum, defined as “short stories” or stories between 50 and 2,000 words (some definitions even list it as low as 1,000 words maximum). While still well short of a book, here you can at least use complete sentences in prose format.

If you’ve tried to write something this short, you know how much creative information-packing you need to do to produce anything worth reading. You have to be super selective in choosing what ground to cover. You still need a start, middle, and ending, each of which sucks away your word count.

News Article

You might question why fiction writers should try to write nonfiction (or vice versa), but the value of doing it just once is in the comparison of styles. Having to tell a factual story is very different from making one up. Getting the feel of working exclusively with facts can help a fiction writer develop complete details when creating a fictional environment. Plus, well-written news articles have a narrative feel. They often focus on a particular person or place, and the popularity of creative nonfiction is growing.

An integrated suite of contents and elements guiding the creative works towards audience success;

  1. The audience studies at the origin of the format.
  2. The concept description.
  3. The list of audience satisfaction factors embedded.
  4. The list of CFX © included with the audience emotion and tension techniques.
  5. The marketing material: poster and trailer script.
  6. The synopsis.
  7. The treatment.
  8. The step-outline.
  9. The reference guide for the world, the stories, the characters and the plots.
  10. The serialization technique.
  11. All the potential finalized contents that might be generated from the format.

The key elements that will enable the project to pass the evaluation tests with broadcasters and distributors such as SCREEN

The list of invariant elements that will make the final production a franchise, a nest for suites.

About Story

A good story is about something the audience decides is interesting or important. A great story often does both by using storytelling to make important news interesting. “We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” Stories and an essential part is woven into the history of our times. Let us learn some basics about story writing.

The public is exceptionally diverse. Though people may share certain characteristics or beliefs, they have an untold variety of concerns and interests. So anything can be news. But not everything is newsworthy. Journalism is a process in which a reporter uses verification and storytelling to make a subject newsworthy. At its most basic level, news is a function of distribution -– news organizations (or members of the public) create stories to pass on a piece of information to readers, viewers, or listeners. A good story, however, does more than inform or amplify. It adds value to the topic. The Elements of Journalism, in fact, describes journalism as “storytelling with a purpose.”

Creating a good story means finding and verifying important or interesting information and then presenting it in a way that engages the audience. Good stories are part of what make journalism different, and more valuable, than other content in the media universe.

Formats/Structure of Story

Some Points to Keep in Mind- Make sure you give your story an exciting and appropriate title. A title is the first impression you made on the reader. Make sure that the facts you include in your story are accurate. You can take creative license while writing your story, but do not change universally accepted truths and facts. The story must flow fluently. If there is a series of events taking place, make sure the flow has some order. The reader must not be confused. Do not use very flowery language or overuse complicated words. The best stories are written in uncomplicated verse, so as not to distract from the plot.


The beginning or the introduction of a story is of essential importance. This is the part where you can hook the reader and capture their attention. You must have come across some often used beginnings to stories like, “Once upon a time” or “A long time ago”. However, you can get more creative and begin your story with intrigue.

Character Introduction

Your story will depend heavily on how well you write your characters. To develop your characters, you can use dialogues as well. But you want to keep the dialogues limited in the shorter format. Also, do not include unnecessary secondary characters; every character of the story must have a purpose.


Here is where the actual narration of the story will happen. The events that occur or the description of the situation will be written in the plot. A plot must always have a conflict, which is the focus of any story.


This is where the story will come to its logical conclusion. If there is a plot twist, this is where you will include it. Always end your story in an interesting manner. Also, it is not necessary to give your story a definite ending. A cliffhanger is another effective tactic.


Origin myths don't always have to be stories that we might find improbable or otherwise 'untrue' in some way; they are merely accounts given to try to explain what has happened before our time. The term 'origin myth' is a very broad one and can actually be divided into three distinct types: cosmogony, etiological (or 'etiological'), and foundational. Let's examine these three types of origin myths, looking at some well-known examples.

There are many different types of myth but, essentially, they can be grouped into three;

  • Etiological Myths
  • Historical Myths
  • Psychological Myths

Example: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)

Roman and Greek myths, though originally not available in English, have deeply influenced English works. During the times of the ancient Greeks, they had a belief that some invisible gods, such as Zeus, had created this world. We read in such Greek stories that passions for humans controlled the gods, and hence gods fought for them. Likewise, Romans had beliefs in such deities. Due to mythological influences, many literary authors refer to the Greek and Roman myths in order to add meanings to their works. For instance, Shakespeare, in his play Romeo and Juliet, uses Greek mythology when Juliet cries out saying that, “Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, Towards Phoebus’ lodging.”

In Greek mythology, Phoebus was god of the sun, and here Juliet urges that god to bring him home quickly, so that night could come, and she may meet her lover Romeo.


Mythology is the study and interpretation of often sacred tales or fables of a culture known as myths or the collection of such stories which deal with various aspects of the human condition: good and evil; the meaning of suffering; human origins; the origin of place-names, animals, cultural values, and traditions; the meaning of life and death; the afterlife; and the gods or a god. Myths express the beliefs and values about these subjects held by a certain culture.

Function of Myth

Myths exist in every society, as they are basic elements of human culture. The main function of myths is to teach moral lessons and explain historical events. Authors of great literary works have often taken their stories and themes from myths. Myths and their mythical symbols lead to creativity in literary works. We can understand a culture more deeply, and in a much better way, by knowing and appreciating its stories, dreams, and myths. Myths came before religions, and all religious stories are, in fact, retellings of global mythical themes. Besides literature, myths also play a great role in science, psychology, and philosophy.


The name myth-ography could not exist before the distinction with historio-graphy was possible, that is, before “myth” was distinguished from “history”, however problematic the distinction remained throughout the rest of antiquity and remains so today. In the Classical period, passages that seem to suggest that the distinction is beginning to be articulated (such as Thucydides’ famous remark about tales which have “won through to mythical status (t? µ???de?) owing to the passage of time”) have been variously assessed (and translated) by scholars; but however one may regard the status of “myth” in the Classical period, it seems clear that the stories we call the Greek myths at least had a marked cultural status (the stuff of epic and, usually, tragedy; the tales that underpinned religion; foundation legends), and that the forerunners of Hellenistic mythography were already plying their trade.

Genre Fiction

Just about every story (including the one you may be writing now) may be grouped with others that share similar traits, which is how genres are identified. Genres are a useful short-cut for reader. Once you find a story you like, looking for others in the same genre is often the easiest way to find your next great read. 

Genres also provide a way for publishers to market books. Once a readership for a particular genre is identified, publishers will start producing books in the same genre they can sell to that readership. Of course, this is not strictly true. Some genres are not terribly popular or profitable. For example, narrative poetry, with some exceptions, is not a big money-maker. But there are genres that do have a large, established readership that makes them profitable. Romance, for example, has more dedicated readers than any other genre -- so many that that roughly half of all novels published are Romances. Another common assertion is that genre fiction tends to be overly plot-driven, or that genre fiction readers value tight and intricate plots over depth and authenticity of characterization.

Literary Fiction and Commercial Fiction

To the writer of literary, or serious, fiction, style and technique are often as important as subject matter. Commercial fiction, however, is written with the intent of reaching as wide an audience as possible. Commercial fiction is sometimes called genre fiction because books of this type often fall into categories, such as western, gothic, romance, historical, mystery and horror.
    Romance Novel
The theme of the novel is the woman’s sexual awakening. Although she may not be a virgin, she has never before been so emotionally aroused. Despite all this emotion, however, characters and plot both must be well-developed and realistic: Contrived situations and flat characters are unacceptable. Throughout a romance novel, the reader senses the sexual and emotional attraction between the heroine and hero. Lovemaking scenes, though sometimes detailed, are not generally too graphic, because more emphasis is placed on the sensual element than on physical action.

Literary Fiction and Genre Fiction

An argument can be made that there are two types of fiction when it comes to novels: Genre Fiction and Literary Fiction.  The former includes many subcategories such as Mystery/Thriller, Horror, Romance, Western, Fantasy, Science Fiction, etc.  The latter is more difficult to classify or break apart into subcategories.  To put it simply, Literary Fiction is anything that does not fit into a genre.

There are certainly highbrow literary readers who believe that genre fiction does not deserve any merit.  Then there are the types who exclusively read one or two subtypes of genre fiction and automatically classify any “serious” works of literature as pretentious or boring. While changing opinions on reading tastes is not easily controllable, the war between Literary Fiction and Genre Fiction is one that will probably continue for years to come.

The main reason for a person to read Genre Fiction is for entertainment, for a riveting story, an escape from reality.  Literary Fiction separates itself from Genre because it is not about escaping from reality, instead, it provides a means to better understand the world and delivers real emotional responses.

Realism in Fiction

Genres consist of stories that could have actually occurred to people or animals in a believable setting. These stories resemble real life, and fictional characters within these stories react similarly to real people. Stories that are classified as realistic fiction have plots that highlight social or personal events or issues that mirror contemporary life, such as falling in love, marriage, finding a job, divorce, alcoholism, etc. They depict our world and our society.

The line between fiction and reality is usually considered to be a rigid definition such that the facts constituting reality are privileged over the inventiveness constituting fiction. However, like all other classifications, these categories heavily borrow from and lend to, each other. In some cases, reality appears to be stranger than fiction, while fiction appears more realistic. On the other hand, there are frequent crossovers between the two, allowing reality to find its past, present and future in fictional narratives, and fiction to draw inspiration from the world it is embedded in. Keeping the meanings of these classes separate from the current discussion, what happens when the above mentioned boundary between the two gets unmistakably blurred? What happens when these two worlds collide or fuse into each other, making it impossible for us to differentiate the ‘truth’ from the ‘false’ creations of the mind? What happens when the ‘truth’ of subjective interpretation mirrors experiences more comprehensively than an objective account of facts? These questions become even more complicated when direct narrations of supposedly observed units of reality are circulated through the channels of human thought and communication, because then they cease to be unbiased renderings, much like a game of ‘Chinese Whispers’.

Modern Mythology

It may seem that the word “myth” has lost its meaning to us as a psychological or spiritual term. No, the situation is more drastic than that. Myth has become the opposite of fact, something that is generally accepted but untrue; “it is a myth that reading by flashlight ruins your eyesight.” The popular television show on the Discovery Channel, Myth Busters, uses this definition, attempting to disprove “myths” with something vaguely resembling science. The myths of antiquity are looked upon as quaint stories, despite the fact that they have shaped our cultural history. It is neatly overlooked that myths remain at the center of the bloody stage of modern religious, national, economic or ideological dynamics, not to mention our personal and everyday lives. 

Within each discipline are theories. A discipline can harbor only a few theories or scores of them.  What makes theories is that they are generalizations. They presume to know the answers to one or more of the three main questions about myth:  the origin, the function, or the subject matter.

Interpreting Myths

Most ancient Greeks seem to have accepted their myths without undue criticism. They apparently thought of them as old, respected stories that reliably recounted events and ways of the very distant past.
The Greek philosophical movement (after the sixth century B.C.) introduced some skepticism but was mainly used to rationalize certain “impossible” aspects of Greek myth.

Xenophanes of Colophon complained about the gods’ lack of moral values, which he understood as mirroring the sad behaviors of human society.Theagenes of Rhegion is reported to have stated that when 

Homer tells of gods fighting each other, he is really creating allegories about natural processes in which the elements (hot, dry, wet, cold) are in perpetual conflict. Likewise, the gods can signify human dispositions.

Anaxagoras interpreted Homeric hymn as exposing the evil results of unethical conduct and promoting virtue.

Euripides describes the myth of the birth of Dionysus from Zeus’s thigh on the basis of linguistic confusion.

Socrates and Plato, believing that gods should be perfect and free of passion, resented the poor moral example set by the Olympians in popular stories. They were, nonetheless, unable to dispense with them altogether: Plato used myths to illustrate his teachings  about the spirit and its existence after death.

During the Hellenistic period, when successors of Alexander the Great were establishing kingdoms and claiming divine honors, Euhemerus of Messene claimed to have found written evidence that the 
Greek gods were once mortal, ancient kings. This theory is now known as Euhemerism.

In spite of criticism, myth remained a cultural factor until the legitimization of Christianity in the fourth century A.D. Classical myth was banned from Western culture through the Middle Ages; the European Renaissance reintroduced myth to the world of art and literature. The Enlightenment inspired new scholarly interest in the interpretation of myth.

Mythology has two general meanings: (1) a set or system of myths and (2) a meth- odological analysis of myths.

There have been numerous scholarly attempts to analyze myths into their component elements and then find a unifying element among them. Although none has succeeded to universal satisfaction, applications of various analytical theories have taught us a great deal about the nature and function of myth.

Scholarly theories of myth generally fall into one of two groups: those that assume an external basis of myth, and those that see mythmaking as an expression of the human mind.

The nature-myth theory is externalistic: myth is a reaction to the awe-inspiring powers of physical nature as they affect human experience—the cycles of day and night, summer and winter, plant life and death. Often the gods personify meteorological forces and astronomical functions or objects.

Example: Zeus is a weather god.

Criticism: the nature-myth theory fails to account for the full content of most myths: for example, Zeus’s ethical, social, or political functions. Zeus defends justice, hospitality, and legitimate kingship.

The ritual theory of myth is externalistic: myths are stories invented to explain  rituals and ceremonies. Proponent: Sir James Frazer.

Example: The myths of Demeter and Persephone and of the Lemnian women reflect elements of rituals intended to move the communities from a situation of danger to one  of reassurance and continued life.

Criticism: the ritual theory does not explain why rituals develop in the first place.

The charter theory is externalistic: a myth is a narrative that supplies the foundation document (charter) for some ritual or custom in order to help maintain social stability. Proponent: Bronislaw Malinowski.

Example: Hesiod explains why the Greeks sacrifice the least desirable parts of animals to the gods: Prometheus tricks Zeus into choosing the bones and fat rather than the meat, saving the edible parts for humans to eat.

Criticism: the charter theory fails to explain why in Hesiod’s story of the origin of sacrifice human welfare is favored over divine prerogative.

The etiological theory is externalistic: myth is primitive science, which attempts to explain natural phenomena; (2) myth can also give theological or metaphysical interpretations of the human condition.

Example: Hesiod explains how earth and sky and night and day originated; he also explains why the human possession of fire led to alienation between men and gods and why the presence of woman is part of a difficult human existence.

Criticism: many myths and heroic tales have little to do with etiology.

Freudian theory is an internalist theory, emphasizing the psychological character  of myth: like dreams, myths allow humans to violate taboos safely through displacement, as a form of wish fulfillment. Proponent: Sigmund Freud.

Example: the story of Oedipus, who defeats the Sphinx (a displaced image of the evil mother), and then kills his father and marries his mother, acting out the unconscious drives of the id.

Freudian theory helps to explain tragic myths in terms of the psychological drama of life in a family.

Criticism: Greek male hostility toward females may have some particular ancient cultural roots.

The theory of archetypes is psychological: myths, like dreams, contain universal archetypes that spring from the collective unconscious. Proponent: Carl Jung.

The collective unconscious is the pool of memories, mental images, cognitive patterns, symbols, and basic assumptions shared by all members of a given society—or even of  the entire human race.

An archetype is the primal form or original pattern of which all other things of the same kind (characters, situations, events) are representatives or copies.

Example: the anima, an internal expression of female wisdom and creativity, is found in the minds of humans of both sexes; likewise, the animus, which represents essential masculine qualities. In a healthy personality, the anima and the animus have a harmonious relationship.

Example: the myth of Icarus combines a form of Freudian wish fulfillment with the archetypal human desire to break through barriers and experience the unknown and forbidden.

Example: the shadow, Jung’s term for unacknowledged negative elements of the psyche, contains repressed or undervalued aspects of the personality. The shadow exists in gods and heroes as well as in humans.

Scholars associated with psychological analysis of myth: Philip Slater, Joseph Campbell, Ernst Cassirer, Mircea Eliade, and Victor Turner. Myth and ritual are interpreted as structuring the human world and easing transitions in life.