I like dragons.
I’ve always liked dragons. Stories of the fantastic have been my very favoritest stories for as long as I can remember because generally they are the only stories in which you might find dragons. I’d read a nice quiet story about mid-life crisis or finding yourself at college or zany seaside shenanigans, except these stories are usually missing dragons. Where are the dragons? I ask myself as I flip pages or listen to readings at fancy writer’s conferences. This writing is excellent, but it could be fantastic if it had a dragon. Or two.
My first video-gaming experience? Dragons. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.
D&D? I was only going to play one session (to appease the Husband), but then there were dragons, and of course I had to play because dragons. (So many dragons. Seriously. Our group is going to be devoured by dragons. It’s just a matter of time; they’ve already gotten two of us.)
Everyone has her own ideas about what makes a story great: personally, I think just about any story could be improved by the presence of a dragon. So, in my own writing, I’m always asking myself, where are the dragons? For example,
Characters are having a nice romantic stroll on a beach somewhere. Gross. Characters aren’t allowed to have fun. Dragons descend from the sky and attack them.
Characters are arguing about a course of action. They’ve been arguing for pages and pages and I don’t know who’s right. Enough of this! A dragon comes in and eats somebody, which acts as a tiebreaker. There.
Characters have to get somewhere quickly. Ride a dragon.
Character cannot decide which boy to marry. Ask a dragon. (Or – again – have a dragon eat someday to break the tie.)
Character is bored. Let her find a dragon.
Character is boring. Turn him into a dragon.
Something is wrong with something in the story but I’m just not sure what it is. Is it a lack of dragons? It’s probably a lack of dragons.
Now, of course there are some non-dragon related problems, with non-dragon-related solutions. There are some books without any dragons at all and of course they’re perfectly wonderful.
But if, like me, you find yourself struggling with pacing that drags, with characters that drone – with pointless scenes or a blank page that mocks your every effort –
A dragon would be just the thing.