Write the Rite Right


On October 20, our president’s husband, Joe Milner, gave an informative and clever presentation entitled “Write the Rite Right.”
He revealed examples of rituals and why we have them, and demonstrated how to incorporate realistic rituals in fiction.

Some interesting points I noted:

  • Humans need ceremonies.
  • Rituals bring order to chaos and are all around us. For instance:
    • Posting on Facebook
    • Sports team
    • Morning/Evening habits
  • Rituals make normal things special:
    • Set apart a place like a church or cemetery because what happens there
    • Build shared group mentality
    • Foster a group culture
    • Identity and create an atmosphere of shared trust
    • Drive our personal timeline, like a marriage ceremony with ring to transfer you from your old life to your new life.
  • How to write a good ritual:
    • Formalism—actions are formally defined
    • Traditional—defining the ritual
    • Disciplined invariance—precise repetition and physical control
    • Rule governance—rules to govern interaction, tension and resolves disputes
    • Sacral Symbolism—ordinary to special
    • Performance—both doing and showing for others to watch
    • Use standardized, formal, archaic language.  Make your characters uncomfortable, feel on edge with the ritual. Keep parts of your ceremony mysterious and secret—the character doesn’t really know what will happen.
    • Add references to an earlier occurrence. Don’t forget the impact on the ritualist.
  • Rituals are powerful. They have been around forever.

Joe Milner is a 32nd Degree Master of the Royal Secret and a Certified Ritualist in the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Utah.  He brought some neat books and other items for us to see. All who were in attendance benefited and appreciated Joe for sharing his knowledge and interesting items with us.


About Jodi

Jodi L. Milner is a writer, mandala enthusiast, and educator. Her epic fantasy novel, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, will be published November 2018 by Immortal Works Press. She has been published in several anthologies. When not writing, she can be found folding children and feeding the laundry, occasionally in that order.
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