How to use Indian gods in fiction without offending them

The Indian culture is very flexible. India is a country where a Christian woman steps aside for a Sikh man to be the Prime Minister, who in turn takes his oath before a President who is a Muslim. But Indians are emotional. There is a very fine line between getting appreciated and offending the Indians. So we don’t find much professional fiction stories related to the Indian Gods. All of it is either folklore or stories for children.

But there are some writers who have successfully written stories about Indian mythologies without any controversies. Let us find how to slip through the Indian believes without offending them.

DO NOT

Never write about any birthchild of a Goddess.

The Indian belief is too strong about worshiping the goddesses as their mothers. And the Indian culture does not allow women to marry twice easily. So if you are writing about Indian goddesses having children, you are practically offending their mothers. Not a good idea.

Never get a God beaten or killed.

The Indian Gods are the power source of the will of the people. If you make them appear weak, you are offending the strength of people.

Never let a God stand up to the trinity. (Bramha, Vishnu & Mahesh)

The trinity is there to create, nurture, and destroy the universe. How can anyone stand up to them? Be careful to always keep them the highest authorities in the Hindu Pantheons.

Never make the Gods arrive on Earth

The Indian Gods’ power, especially the power of the trinity; is taken to be so much, that they cannot interfere in the working of the universe directly. If you make them appear on the earth, you are causing a huge power unbalance. It is also contrary to the peoples’ belief.

Try not to involve the Islam with the Hinduism.

The Muslim religion is a very strict one. You simply cannot meddle with it. An artist made a cartoon of their supreme and we know what happened. So try not to touch the Islam if you love your life.

How to bypass these problems?

Birthchild or Demigod

If you want to bring the story of Gods to the mortal realms, it will be hollow without godlings. But how to create them without offending the people?

→ There are a few Gods who specially carve for mortal women. Indra is the best choice for you.
→ You can also use Kamadev, the Indian god of love; to inflict sexual desires into other male Gods.
→ When you come to Goddesses,  the simplest option is a newborn to be blessed by her.
→ You can also put a bit of the essence of the Goddess into a baby through her will only.
→ The same can be done by Gods too.

So you will have an army of demigods at your disposal. 😉

Gods always win? Not fair.

No one is perfect. Even the great Gods have to lose sometimes. But how can you do so gracefully?

→ Make the God accept the expertise of his opponent and retreat on his honor.
→ Indian Gods never die. They are true immortals. So the best way to remove them from the story is to force them back to the heavens under the supervision of a higher God.
→ Research the Indian folklore. On More than one occasion, a god is outwitted by a person. Try to use the fact that Gods cannot be beaten with strength but by intellect.
→ Make any of the Trinity side against the God. They have a lot of authority over other Gods.

Trinity the Almighty?

The trinity is the supreme authority in the Hindus. You cannot beat them with strength or wit.

→ The only way to defeat any of the trinity is to gain a boon from them and then use it against them. It has been done several times.
→ Yoy will depict their own boon stronger than them and the faith of the people will be safe.

Gods on earth

The only god that comes on the Earth is Narada. Indian gods don’t come to visit the earth in person untill they are summoned.

→ The only way to call them is to make them happy with a devotee’s tapasya. If the devotee takes his body and soul to the brink of life just to please a God, the God appears to grant the devotee some boons.
→ Most of the gods take an avatar to come into the mortal realm.
→ Many gods come to earth in form of natural phenomena, like storm, water, wind or fire.
→ The trinity seldom come to the Earth, but when they do, their incarnations achieve great deeds.

Do not involve the Islam

Its a sensitive topic. You should better leave it alone. But there are many other pantheons to choose from.

→ The Indian subcontinent is a hub of religions. The Hindu, the Sikh, the Jain, the Buddhism; all of them have their roots in the Hinduism.
→ You can utilise the ancient pantheons like the Aaryan or the Vedic as well.
→ Then there is the option of going international. You can also include foreign Gods.

These are some most basic methods to go through the loopholes. You can improvise as much as you like.

I am open to all your thoughts.

How to create you own Science Fiction Fantasy world

We all love sci-fi and fantasy. And who among us doesn’t know about the epic created by Tolkein? The Middle Earth has been an inspiration for generations of writers to indulge themselves in the world of fantasy. Likewise, Pern has etched itself in the mind of almost all dragon keepers. No one can deny the enormity of the creation of Dune also.

We all love it when things go towards the thrill of unknown. Creating a world for the sole purpose of giving life to a story is tough as hell. Let us find out what does it take to make a tiny Big Bang of our own.

Need of a new World

What if the LOTR had been set up on earth? Somewhere around Africa maybe? Or maybe America? Wait!  It might have been Asia? LOL.
The LOTR got its soul from the creation of the Middle Earth. Imagine Tolkein working on an atlas to find a suitable spot for Mordor or taking notes of swamps atound valleys for his book. Would it have gotten LOTR as famous? The simple answer is NO.

We stumble upon quite a number of created worlds or altered timelines as we move through fiction. Lets find out!! why they are created.

→ Fiction authors have to alter a lot of known rules to create their story. At some point, It becomes impossible to fit it all into our world without  tweaking it towards awkwardness. The only option left to the authors is to tweak the reality itself or create an alternate one.
→ Often the story demands an alternate reality and the authors work according to its needs.
→ Many fictions are based upon the existance of parallel worlds. The Sword of the Truth couldn’t have been even started if not for the three lands.
→ Many authors mess a little with the most obvious facts to get a sense off reality into their stories.

We find different levels of parallel and alternate realities in many stories. Some of them are as vast as LOTR or Inheritance while some of them have minor tweaks as in Harry Potter.
The future worlds like The Hunger Games or the Uglies are easier to create since they require only a little speculation.

Skeleton for the new world

You need a basic structure to create your world. You should determine it according to the needs of your storyline.

→ Start with making a crude sketch of the places you are going to include in your story.
→ Don’t mark all the places at once. Keep modifying your sketch with the story until you have a rough map with scale of some degree.
→ Add Landscapes relevant to your story.
→ If you are writing about an alternate reality or different timeline, try to superimpose your work upon a readymade map of similar scale.
→ If you are going extraterrestrial, fix the distance from parent star, time period per day, time units, weather and land : water ratio at first.
→ Don’t go into details initially. If the map decides your storyline, create a simple, borderline, on-scale map for reference.

Adding Details

Once you have your initial on-scale sketch ready, you can spend your time in giving soul to it.

→ Try defining your world in detail after the halfway mark of your story.
→ You have the major storylines, direction of story and side quests ready when you reach the halfway point. It is a good time to work on the details of the map.
→ If you are writing an adventure story, always create two possible ways further. It makes the map more interesting.
→ Make the areas near your focus relevant to the story. If your lead is a group, adding a side quest for an individual off the main storyline is a good thing.
→ Don’t try to draw the maps of populated areas until the end. When your story is finished, you have a lot of time to explore the possibilities of your world.

Some useful tips

→ Try to make all your sketches on graph paper if possible.
→ Create terrains at your will. You are the God for your world.
→ Try to create different species of animals if possible. Many writers don’t care about beasts. But if you have created different species of sentient beings, different species of animals make things more real.
→ Try to design a functioning society. (Don’t put a farm in the middle of desert 😉 )
→ Keep it different. There is no point in another world if everything there is simillar to earth.

These are some basic tips to create your fantasy world. You can improvise as much as you like.

I am all open to your ideas! 🙂

How to create your lead science fiction character

Every science fiction revolves around a lead character, or a lead team. It is mandatory for a storyline to have a lead character. The more time you spend on it, the more better your story becomes.

Importance of strong lead character

☞ A story has to have a point of narration. Narrating from the point of view of a single, or few distinct characters make the story easier to follow.

☞ If you are narrating from a distinct person’s point of view, it keeps the story from scattering and binds it all together.

☞ The readers try to find similarities between them and the lead. They form a bond with the lead to live into the story better.

How to make a lead character strong

☞ A lead character needs to be strong. Not in the strength of muscles and attitude, but his/her strong presence in the story. The more events you relate to the lead, the stronger his presence will become in the story.

☞ The lead needs to be bold. Boldness here doesn’t mean personality. The personality can vary from goofy to angry to shy to introvert. The thinking and emotions of lead must be deatailed enough for the readers to have a decent idea about his/her way of thinking. The impact of the lead’s emotions must be bold.

Relation to the supernatural

☞ If you plan on adding supernatural in the story, add it according to your lead. This will bring him out in the focus and you can move forward smoothly without having troubles from side stories.

☞ Giving your lead a unique supernatural skill greatly improves the storyline.

How to make readers like your lead character

☞ You can make the lead’s past tragic (many writers do this) to gain the support of readers.

☞ You can give the lead an important secret. It makes the story more thrilling.

☞ Don’t make the lead always win.
We all like happy endings. But too many happy endings deteriorates the reader’s interest by making the story predictable.

☞ Death of someone dear acts like gum for people. They sympathize with the lead and stick to the story.

Skeleton to design a lead

☞ Define the purpose of the story and create the lead’s character accordingly.

☞ When you have decided your world and timeline, create the personality of the lead.

☞ Create his family and his friends, as well as his own history. Note it all down, because this will help you a lot in designing side quests when you move further into the story.

☞ Decide an accent and a manner of speaking for the lead.

☞ If your lead is good boy, then add some bullies into the story.

☞ If your lead is a bad guy then add some people in the story whom he envies.

These are some most basic tips. You can do whatever you want with the lead as you are its God.

Some great topics to write an Indian science fiction story

India is one of the oldest civilisation in the world, the Indus valley being 5000 years old. And so we have a great asset untouched to explore – our history. It contains epics (Ramayana & Mahabharat), spiritual guides (like Shri Madbhagwad Geeta), a whole lot of Kings and their kingdoms (from Ashoka the great to Maharana Pratap and Prithviraj Chauhan), and access to the largest number of gods among every religion, ie. 50,00,00,000 gods and godesses. If the Greek mythology can get world known for their 12 Olympians, why cannot we?
Here are some ideas about some promising desi sci fi stories.

Royal quests and adventures

As I have mentioned earlier, India has had a laaaaaarge number of great kings and emperors. We had Chandragypta Maurya, who defeated Alexander’s Army. We also had Samudragupta, who extended the Indian empire to Mangolia. We also had Gautam Buddha, who left his royalty and started Buddhism.
You can always dwelve into their lives and find out what you can. Then you have your lead character and a storyline ready! You have only to improvise to add some science fuction or magical fantasy. I have already told you a whole story can be written based upon a single character or thought and how to write it here. So you can have a nice story on your hands.

Our great assets

Indian history is also full of scientists and inventors. We have Aryabhatta, Ramanuj and JC Bose.
You can do some research about them and their studies, then craft their lives with bits of supernatural to create a strong voyage.

The gods and Mythology

Obviously this has a lot of options.
☞ You can find out the story of gods and present them in your own way. Like Amish Tripathi
☞ You can also create their stories in present context. This can be fairly interesting.
☞ You also have the option to portrait the Dev-Asura conflicts in your own way.
☞ You can also write about avatars of Gods. Similar to the Karter Kane series.

Urban Fantasy

Every culture has some of their own urban fantasy. So does India. You can easily craft stories about Churails, Dayans, Aghoris, Tantriks and many more. The Betals also come in here.

The Purana, the Shastras and the Upanishad

☞ These are basically a jackpot of stories. You have to pick one, create your storyline, then add a little sci-fi and your story is ready!
☞ Many of these stories are magical fantasy themselves. You can change the timeline and world setup and after some editing a full blown fantasy is there.
☞ If you want to write something about the Indian Underworld, the Garuda Purana is what you should look into. It is a wikipedia of Indian afterlife.

All of them together

Or you can simply choose a storyline and wind them all together. This can be pretty confusing If you are not careful. But it also shows a lot of promise.

Zombie Apocalypse

India has the second largest population in the world. Add it to immensly huge population density and a zombie apocalypse to get a perfect zombie hunting ground!!!

These are only a shard of what Indian science fiction has to offer. You can explore much my yourselves and contribute to Desi sci-fi.

How to write your own science fiction novel

Here is a brief guide for you to start writing your own fantasy adventure. It has lot of room to improvise so that you don’t feel restricted.

Decide your storyline.
Before doing anything else, determine your aim for the story. It might be a simple thought or a climax or a character at the begining. A strong storyline is a very important part of every story. You might want to write a story, or a novel, but the thing remains same.

☞ Choose a hard-set storyline. You sholudn’t wander away from your initial goal in the middle of the story.
☞ Keep it as simple as possible. A simple storyline is a strong factor in a fluent story. It also allows you to add different side ventures and keep on track at the same time.
☞ Don’t choose something you don’t know much about. The reality to fiction ratio makes a strong base for your story.

Choose your timeline and world

You might want to set your story in a parallel world like the middle earth or The Kingkiller Chronicles. You can also choose a different timeline like in The Hunger Games or Uglies.

☞ Choose carefully as your world setting determines a lot of your writing and you cannot change it afterwards.

☞ Don’t try to alter your timeline in your parallel world. It makes things tougher and authors haven’t ignored this fact without any solid reason.

☞ If you are writing Zombie fiction, then remember to make all canned food disappear quickly!  😉 😛 . It is a fact that almost every zombie apocalyptic author has ignored that they have expiry dates.

Determine your lead character/team.

Every story needs a hero/heroine. Your story is nothing without a strong lead character.

☞ Give a lot of time to your lead character. You might want to draw a tree diagram for his family, friends and acquaintices. It helps very much.

☞ If you want to alternate your story among different people’s POV, don’t make the people similar to each other. It removes interest from the story.

☞ Choose a distinct personality of your lead and try to get settled with a distinct behaviour.

Point of narration

☞ You might want to narrate the story as the character himself/herself. Give some thoughts on this topic as you won’t be able to change it without being awkward.

☞ Choose simple past or simple present. They are both easy to write in. I prefer simple past myself.

Go original

Originality is the soul of fiction. Keep this in mind as you write.

☞ Don’t copy content from any other fiction. It is cheap.

☞ Try to create your own writing style. It makes reading experience unique.

These are some most basic tips, but they help a lot. Remember this always, the most simple things lead to the creation of big things.