In “Dark Wisdom,” we seek writing and/or publishing advice from the horror fiction masters making up Denver Horror Collective’s Advisory Council.
For this installment, we pick the brains of Carina Bissett, a Colorado Springs-based writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of speculative fiction and interstitial art.
How does mythology influence modern horror fiction?
CARINA BISSETT: By its very nature, mythology provides a broad foundation for writers to build upon. This can also be said when it comes to urban legends, folklore, and fairy tales. These stories tend to speak to universal truths, which is one of the reasons they have endured throughout history. With just a few words, a writer can invoke setting, theme, and mood. Well-known symbols—such as apples, serpents, crows, mirrors, teeth, flowers, chalices, shoes—create a shortcut into story. However, despite their familiarity, they also allow for distance, which can be a useful tool for writers commenting on contemporary issues.