Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Becoming an Armchair Shinto Scholar (Researching The Shrine War)

The proposed cover for The Shrine War
When editor Fred Patten asked me to contribute to his anthology, Dogs of War, I was very excited when we agreed on my crafting a tale about a group of kitsune shrine maidens (anthropomorphic foxes) defending their shrine against a group of invading Inugami (anthropomorphic dogs).

Tragically, when I sat down to begin outlining my story, I suddenly realized I knew nothing about Japanese mythology, Shintoism, or the least bit of information on kitsune or Inugami.

So, I did what I do best: I started doing some very intensive and extensive research. Eventually, I learned enough to write a story that Fred accepted, but I am now expanding the story as well as another that takes place in the same timeline. I hope to release the novelette with its accompanying short story later this year.

I have always enjoyed researching topics that I have a true interest in and the list of resources I cobbled together has enabled me to craft a story that dances close enough to Japanese mythology so as not to offend anybody with a passing familiarity with the topic of yōkai.

Admittedly, I am writing about a Japan that exists more in my imagination than reality and I have taken great poetic license with the kitsune and Inugami, but my hope is that people will enjoy the work enough to forgive my literary shortcomings.

So for your reading pleasure, what follows is a list of the resources I used. If you would like to delve into the world of Shinto mythology and Japanese culture, I hope you find these resources as enjoyable as I have:

Books currently being read:
For books and articles in the public domain, the links will take you directly to websites where you can download the book for your own perusal. Other links will take you to where you can get information for either ordering the work or getting info for interlibrary loan.

I hope you enjoy exploring Japan and its mysterious creatures as much as I have.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this great list of sourcebooks. Research can be one of the must enjoyable bits of writing.

    ... I really, really need to get back to my own writing.