In Greek myth, three goddesses control the destiny of mortals – the sisters of life, suffering, and death.
- Clotho spins the thread of human fate.
- Lachesis measures the length of the thread.
- And Atropos cuts the thread – she decides when we die.
In Roman myth, they appear as Nona, Decuma, and Morta. I’m sure that last one will send a shudder down your backbone.
So why are talking about these three women?
Three threads – how to tie them together
These three elements help you decide the fate of your three main characters – but especially your hero or anti-hero.
- How long will they live?
- What kind of live will they each live?
- And, most important, when will they die?
As DH Lawrence wrote, ‘Life doesn’t mean length of days. Poor old Queen Victoria had length of days. But Emily Bronte had life. She died of it.’ How true, don’t you think?
Live fast, die young
Some heroes live short but spectacular lives. It’s almost a formula for creating a legend or an icon. Think of James Dean, Heath Ledger, or Rudolph Valentino. How could you create a similar tragic but enduring character?
The wisdom of icons
Other characters seem to live so long they become legends, many times over, in their own lifetimes. Think of Maggie Smith, Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II. How could you write a character that becomes a legend – whether it’s for their wisdom, survival, pride?
In a novel, you’re the tailor – you’re in control of the thread and you decide when to cut the thread. You summon these three ladies to help you decide the destiny of your characters.
If you enjoyed this post, read:
- The 13 Secrets To Great Characters
- 5 Things You Can Learn From People Watching
- Gender Benders – A New Way To Look At Characters