Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet is an Analogy for the Creative Mind
Learn a method for naming the aspect of our creative mind so problems can be found and solutions offered.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, which I will refer to as MQ from now on, is a comedy series on Apple TV+ that I laughed so hard at I had to pause it so I didn’t miss the show. This isn’t a review. I reviewed the entire first season of MQ on Project: Shadow. What I want to talk about is my belief that the show is a valid metaphor the inner workings of creative mind.
Spoilers for Season 1 follow.
While I enjoyed MQ on so many levels, the one that has actually helped me out the most is seeing the characters from the show as aspects of the creative mind.
CW Longbottom: The World Builder
CW not only writes the backstories and cut scenes for MQ, but he has an an affinity for classic literature and as he continues to remind us, won a Nebula in the 70s.
I don’t know if every writer has a little CW roaming the halls of their mind, but I do. My world builder doesn’t really care about the story or the business, and only interacts with the craft if it is necessary for their own ends. This homeless wanderer just sits about, drinks, and scoffs at the aspects of creativity. Without the world builder, there is no story, no pathos. Backstory is all that matters and everything else brings down the quality of work as a whole.
CW doesn’t learn the value of the story until his hangs out with Rachel, because Rachel is the internal fan of the work in question. This showed me how our fandoms should influence our world building so we make the story as strong as possible without judge my own work against that of others.
Ian: The Storyteller
I wish I could say that I didn’t have an inner Ian, but if we are honest with ourselves, most writers do. Ian is the storyteller, the one who keeps coming up with ideas whether they are necessary or important, but who always feels like they are the most important thing ever.
Drop everything. Here is a new story, or story element that needs to fit in here somewhere.
This instinct is good, it keeps us filled with stories to tell, but it makes it hard to stay focused on any one project.
The problem is Ian cannot do anything without Poppy.
Poppy: The Crafter
Poppy is the head coder for MQ, and is our internal writer/editor. The aspect of our creative mind who has to know and practice the actual craft of writing.
The arguments in my head between my Poppy and Ian are legendary. I have too many ideas, and love to draft new stories, so…
My crafter wants to just write. I don’t mind editing, but I want to write and keep writing and never stop writing.
Like on the show, I have yet to find a balance between the endless idea factory of my storyteller and the just let me write of my crafter.
Brad: The Business Owner
Brad is an evil sociopath, or at least that is how Poppy sees him. And so it is for many writers and their desire to make a living off their work.
Learning to listen to our inner Brad is important so we don’t just give all our work away from free. On the other hand, we have to be careful not to listen to Brad too much. ARCs are free and all that, but there has to be a middle ground.
I want to give some advice about how and when to listen to Brad, but that varies from project to project. The most important thing is to keep him out of the room through much of the process so the story doesn’t get watered down and made meaningless.
David: The Writer
David is the executive producer, or in our analogy, the writer themselves. Like David, we always say that we support creative, but know there is a place for Brad, because the money he brings in makes the whole thing possible.
This is the most difficult aspect of the writer that is hardest to talk about because I know for me, I tend to be as spineless in the wars within him head as David is at MQ. It is important to learn when to side with creative and when to side with Brad. Ugh.
Rachel is a playtester who looks for bugs. She is the editor? No, not really. She is the internal beta reader. I don’t know if everyone does this, but between writing a story and starting my revisions and again after they are finished, I like to just read through the story and try to see it as a reader would. That is when my internal Rachel comes out.
This internal beta reader is a cross between our inner fan of the genre and is a lesser form or our crafter/editor. Most of the feedback we get from these aspect of our creativity, especially, if you are me, is how much our own work falls short of those masterpieces we love from others.
What I learned from this show is that my inner fangirl should work with my world builder so the back story and the experience of the story are both respected and as good as possible. I’ve been using this process wrong for so much of my career, and I can’t wait to see what happens when I change my way of thinking about this.
Pootie Shoe/Jo are who I want to be on social media and know that I can’t let myself go there. Whether it is the entitled fanboy who want to show out to have a relationship with my storyteller that is meaningful and healthy, or the outspoken internet troll who wants to flame people who don’t understand my genius, I know that I cannot let either of these aspects come out into the world.
We don’t have to control these aspects for respectability or dignity, but because in our analogy, they are temporary states of frustration and rage that don’t need a venue that grants them immortality.
In short, don’t neglect your inner fanboy. Show them attention and love and give them time to play, but don’t empower them too much. Our rage, like Jo, just needs a cookie to calm down and get the real work done.
I am not saying this is a perfect analogy.
It has helped me to name the various aspects of my creative mind so I can determine where by frustrations and problems really are. We can’t fix problems if we don’t know where they are. I hope this analogy helps you. If you use a different model, let me know. I would love to hear them.