Myth of the Week

Rusalka (Slavic)

Chances are you know óf the Rusalka albeit not by this name or even identified as a Slavic myth! She is an evil water nymph usually represented as a beautiful young woman who appears in or around pools, small lakes and other waterways. She will tempt young farmers or fishermen to come and enter the water with her and then drown them.

Their providence is somewhat of a mystery, but connaisseurs seem to agree on the idea that they came from young women who drowned themselves after being jilted by a lover. 

Rusalka are usually represented as young, scantilly clad women with an extremely pale, almost translucent skin and green, glowing eyes. They are most dangerous in the first weeks of June. Sallant detail: in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine it was forbidden to swim during this week and the Rusalka week (early June) was still celebrated in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine when the spirits are ritually banished, right up until the 1930's.


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    Writing Tips

    So if you have decided to help us out, if you know a myth or legend or fairy tale and feel like translating it into a cool and well-written story, here are some tips and tricks to help you on your way. 

    • Remember that everything is geared towards the end. So start with that, even if it's only in your mind. It will make it very clear what is important to the story and will keep you from digressing into mindless banter or an endless string of scenes that do not go anywhere.
    • Name and describe your characters as early as possible. The earlier they have a name and a psyche, the easier it is for you to envision how they're going to react to situations and how they will behave in dialogue. If necessary, describe them on separate pieces of paper as reference. This way you'll have something to go back to if you get stuck.
    • When describing a room, use your five senses. Describe the smell, the sounds and the feel of a table top or the gravel grinding beneath your feet. 
    • Do your research.A little bit of time on the Internet, might go a long way in describing certain situations or actions. Or a short visit to a particular region or city, might give you an idea of what the atmosphere and the people are like. Remember that, in order to make your descriptions believable and enthralling, the trick is in the details.
    • Don't 'dump' info on the reader. Although it might be nice to show how much you know about a certain something, the story is not the place to show it. Stick to what the reader should know and get on with the plot.
    • Re-read your work. After it's finished, leave it for a week, then re-read it and go over it with a fine comb. Weed out spelling mistakes or sentences that do not run smoothly.
    • Read it out loud. For example, read it to your mom or a friend. You'll find there's a certain rhythm to your story; it's what makes your story nice to read. Make sure that the sentences conform to that rhythm. It's like building a symphony.
    • Rearrange paragraphs that do not run, see if they really add to the story or just divert attention away from the plot. If you feel they do the latter, scrap them! Be ruthless! Scrapping can be painful, but it's worth it if you are left with a lean, fresh story.
    • Don't be afraid to go back and change a scene or situation if you get stuck. You are the writer, it is your imagination, your characters, you are in charge!
    • When you get stuck, go for a walk, play a computer game, seduce your wife, go shopping, your brain keeps working even when you are doing other things. A new idea might pop into your head while doing those dishes you were supposed to do.
    • And finally, forget all of the above. This list was comprised from years of experience, but those writers are not you. There are as many ways to write as there are people. In the end, it's all about the story, your story!