Posted on 9/1/1997 by J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com> to CIS

Rebecca Eschliman <76072.2345@compuserve.com> asks:
> does a storyteller such as yourself or others you admire ever
> start from the semiotic and discover characters that can express
> it, or is it the more natural process to have the characters tell
> their stories and later find out that they have semiotic
> resonance simply because the storyteller has read enough and seen
> enough that the semiotic bit comes without thinking?

I really don't think you can think in those terms, either way.
You pick up the tools of the *story*, not the tools of the *analysis of
the story*, and as you begin to line them up, you may have a sense of,
"Okay, this character is something of an archetype, so I need certain
elements to come into this, but only in service of the story." I find
that what truly makes for myth does not come from conscious effort, but
from *unconscious* effort, this is where Jung's notion of a collective
unconscious comes into play. We may not know *why* a sword raised by a
bloodied soldier over a battlefield strewn with bodies has power with
us, it's enough to know that it *does*. When you ride a bicycle,
you're not thinking about pressure vs. force or force = propulsion, or
how many cycles per minute equals X-speed, you're just Riding The

I just Write.