Saturday, October 9, 2010

[Character Development] Baba Yaga/Wicked Witch of the East

While I've completed "Hurricane Drunk", the darkest and moodiest piece I've ever written, I am still in the throws of creative passion [after edits are due now that the computer is back online]. This is why I'll post the creative history of my witch, the main antagonist and evil beyond salvation, though to be honest she does display affection in the cruelest and sickest of way so as to not give the readers a cardboard representation of EVIL.

In the seed that spawned "Hurricane Drunk" in its dark, gruesome glory, there was no other character. My 'Dorothy' was alone and stuck in a house, which was forever trapped in the arms of a magic hurricane. Eh, so at random I decided to insert random images in the house to see what may happen [I was bored, in class and that story was not even a priority]. What I initially inserted was a witch like this:

"Riding High" by Gil Elvgren

NOT exactly as sexually charged, but I wanted a beautiful witch, who could seduce and at the same time appear wholesome [kinda like the Girl Next Door of Witchcraft]. Of course, I imagined the witch seduce a man in front of my Dorothy. For the witch, the man is nothing more than spell ingredients and the other white meat, to young Ukrainian-Dorothy it's one of her first associations with the word family.

Cannibalism came later. The witch, at that particular moment, seemed good. She lived a life that spelled mystery, but still I could give her motivation or something worth writing about. I do not write good people, so I resorted to creating an evil witch.

Since I had created a version of Dorothy, I felt that I could borrow a bit more and write an incarnation of the Wicked Witch of the East, because of those ruby red slippers. I only took the slippers and did not bother much with the actual character, for I had no idea what role in the Oz universe she played and how I could twist it [which is why I don't have an image of her] in my favor. So, I had an evil witch. This is better, because now she'd have to keep all her horrifying doings secret. Fertile for tension, but still nothing in mind. How did Dorothy get to the witch, etc, etc.

Parallel this brewing process, I was inspired by Theresa Bazelli's work on her novella, Two Sisters, which is currently serialized at Serial Central. She decided to go obscure and used myths and legends from Slavic folklore [my folklore], which made me look at my stories [all oozing Ancient Greek vibes] and crave to involve a Slavic figure in my stories.

Wham, the two ideas merged and my sexy witch, semi-involved Wicked Witch of the East morphed along with Baba Yaga the most notorious witch in my folklore. Like witches from old stories like Hansel and Gretel, Baba Yaga enjoys kidnapping children and doom pretty much everyone else:

"Baba Yaga" by Markus The Barbarian

But I am sure there is a story behind this one:

"Baba Yaga" by Waldemar-Kazak

Subsequently, Dorothy's cottage became Baba Yaga's Hut with big chicken legs, while the story became a coming-of-age discovery of evil and accepting the wickedness inside.

"Baba Yaga's Hut" by Yoitisl


T.S. Bazelli said...

I enjoy working with folklore that is a little obscure and hasn't been mined to death. This sounds like a fun mixup of pop culture, myth, and madness hehe Thanks for the link too :)

Harry Markov said...

You know me. I'm a wee bit mad and all that. :) No problems about the link and it is inspirational, cause you manage to add quite some weirdness to it all.