Synonyms are alternate names for the same thing. I teach technology classes in my local library. When I teach on mobile devices and cell phones, we use the common term “app.” In the class I ask them to define what an “app” is. Usually after a few guesses, I break it down. App is an abbreviation for “application.” Application is a synonym for “Program.” Synonyms are words that name or describe a similar thing to other words, like joy, elated, and happy all describe a similar feeling. Synonyms are great to use in writing because it rounds out the dynamics of our stories. Using synonyms for famous names is also helpful, as I’ll discuss below. Today, I’d like to talk about a few synonyms I used in Book III.
Since my books deal with world religions and mythologies, it is hard not to slip into the familiar modes of retelling the same stories over and over. It is also hard to keep your readers from slipping into their old notions of ancient civilizations whether it be due to what they learned in school or seen in the media. Synonyms are a great way to get people to look at old material in a fresh way, without conjuring up old familiar attitudes toward them.
Since my novels deal with a lot of ancient world-views, myths, and religions, I needed to do something to keep readers engaged with characters that are familiar, but without the baggage. For example, in Greek mythology, if you’re telling a story about Zeus, you need to stick to source material regarding Zeus’ personality and tendencies. As soon as you see the name Zeus on a page in the context of Greek mythology, you already have preconceived notions about him, who he is, and what he’s doing. But what if you wanted to tell a story about Zeus in a different way, that will cause people to see him with fresh eyes? In that case, you’ll want to distance yourself from much of the established source material. In this effort, I have also decided to distance myself from his name. That way, the character doesn’t come with baggage in our minds. Below are a few examples:
Brontios a.k.a. Zeus
Zeus has a long and complicated history in Greek and Roman mythology. He is the chief of the gods, married to his sister, and always on the lookout for a beautiful young lady to seduce. Zeus is the father of Hercules, Jason, and others. His children have become heroes. But since my novels explore the nature of supernatural beings giving rise to the mythologies of the ancient world, I needed some distance from the typical Zeus. I decided to use a synonym: Brontios.
Brontios is a synonym for Zeus. It means “Thunderer.” In Hellas and the Theohedron, Brontios is given shard from the broken Theohedron. He can use it to unleash a powerful beam of energy-akin to a lightning bolt. Many people in the story would recognize Brontios as the god Zeus, however, he isn’t really a god. He is a high ranking heavenly under orders to protect and oversee the Hellenic lands. He is not a womanizer and has a greater care for the people entrusted to him. Using the name Brontios allows me to rebuild a character, give them a new personality, and bring in new concepts about our perceptions and beliefs.
Enosichthon a.k.a. Poseidon
Enosichthon is another abscure synonym. It is connected to Poeseidon. In “Hellas and the Theohedron,” Enosichthon is a powerful being. I used this synonym to describe his abilities. “Earthshaker” is what many Greeks called Poseidon. He had power over the waters and could cause earthquakes. In the book, Enosichthon is another high ranking heavenly who teams up with other heavenlies aligned at Olympus.
These are a couple synonyms I have used for book III. You will be able to find many more once the book is released and you can get a look at them in action It was really fun writing this book, bcause it is one of my historical sweet spots.
What do you think about the use of synonyms? Did you find this article helpful. Let me know in the comments below. If you don’t want to miss any of my posts, be sure and subscribe. Here at the TM Williams author page, it is my goal to Expand Your Mind Through the Power of Words.