News Ticker

Josh Vogt (Author of ENTER THE JANITOR) on Subsuming the Myths – Stealing for My Story

They say all writers are thieves. And that’s true. Why, just last night I was in your house, rifling through your valuables. (They also say all writers are professional liars.)

I’ll admit to the first. And maybe the second if charges are brought against me for breaking and entering.

Writers steal so much. Quotes. Historical characters. We steal techniques from one another. Sometimes we even steal entire mythologies and make them our own.

That last one is particularly true in my urban fantasy, Enter the Janitor. I combed through myths, legends, and modern perceptions of magic…and then I disguised it so no one could tell what I’d done. Mostly. Maybe.

Okay, you’ll probably catch on quick. But that’s beside the point.

We’re all familiar with mages and sorcerers wielding their wands. We understand the concepts of necromancers, skilled in the ways of decay and death. Witches flying around on brooms. And don’t forget about things like golems or the various gods themselves.

Thing is, in my world, those mages now wield squeegees and plungers. Necromancers lurk about in mystic sewers. And witches? Oh, they still wield brooms. They’ve just swapped pointy hats and black robes for sanitation jumpsuits. And golems are made of garbage while those that might be considered gods now manage corporate hierarchies.

The thing about stealing concepts is you have to find a way to make them your own. I’m not here to rip things off wholesale or, worse, commit plagiarism from another writer’s story. No. My hope is to offer a potential, if a bit absurd, reinterpretation of reality. My hope is, after reading Enter the Janitor (and next year’s The Maids of Wrath), you might start giving janitor closets leery looks. You might do double-takes whenever a cleaning service van drives by. And you might watch the janitor at your office building or school as he mops a messy floor, and you’ll wonder, “What if…?”

And if I can get you to think that for even a second or two, I’ll consider my life of literary larceny well worth it.

About Josh Vogt (21 Articles)
A full-time freelance writer, Josh Vogt has been published in dozens of genre markets with work ranging from flash fiction to short stories to doorstopper novels that cover fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, pulp, and more. He also writes for a wide variety of RPG developers such Paizo, Modiphius, and Privateer Press. His debut fantasy novel, Forge of Ashes, adds to the popular Pathfinder Tales line. WordFire Press has launched his urban fantasy series, The Cleaners, with Enter the Janitor (2015) and The Maids of Wrath (2016). You can find him at He’s a member of SFWA as well as the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. He is made out of meat.
%d bloggers like this: