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General Discussion > Thoughts on dragons?

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message 1: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (mccannx) I am working on writing my first fantasy novel, and was not planning to include dragons, but now I am reconsidering... I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to share their thoughts on what aspects of dragons make them appealing?


message 2: by Eloreen (new)

Eloreen Moon (eloreenmoon) | 19 comments They can fly and defend themselves. Pretty awe-inspiring in my opinion. usually are very beautiful creatures. :)

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 27 comments They're like zombies, very maleable. Make them anything you want: smart or dumb; evil or good; left or right leaning ideologically; for or against Mankind; earthbound or alien; spiritual or atheistic. Very useful literary tool.

message 4: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) Unpredictable, powerful, symbolic of having to deal with things that are beyond control.

Use them if they fit in your book. If not, don't...

message 5: by James (last edited May 05, 2014 11:34AM) (new)

James (jamesgg) | 8 comments Among the 5th graders I know, dragons are fascinating but essentially benevolent. Smaug is an outlier. I think they see them as endangered species.

message 6: by Marlowe (last edited May 05, 2014 11:44AM) (new)

Marlowe Sr. (Ariindam Chakrabortiy) (mrmarlowe) | 12 comments Eloreen wrote: "beautiful creatures. :)"

Only until they start emitting fireballs out of their mouths (kidding)

message 7: by Nick (new)

Nick (nickanthony51) | 400 comments If dragons are not part of your world, along with all the rules for how and why dragons exist/fly/breath fire, ice, gas, eta, eta, eta, then don't use them. Same with any mythological creature, in example, Fairies, Elves, Unicorns, Dwarfs, Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, or wereanythings, etc.

Use what works in your world, within the rules of your world....

message 8: by Jack (new)

Jack Knapp | 778 comments Mod
IF you're going to have dragons:
Ask what they're going to do. Fly? Then design them to be at least capable of flight; wings, strong chest muscles, a balancing tail, like that.
Spit fire? OK; what are they eating? And how long does the fuel last? Can they throw different size fireballs, or does one-size-fit-all, even if it uses up all the fuel at once?
Get the idea?
What does a dragon eat? Where, and what, does it poop? If you have a human rider, how/when did he 'tame' the dragon?
Lots of questions; you're a writer, answer the questions, then write!

message 9: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (mccannx) Jack, you sound more like a sci-fi writer than a fantasy writer. Sci-fi fans want the details of the technology.. . but fantasy fans are more about the experience of the characters, and I think the only rule is that any special powers or magic have to come with a price. Any dragons I include would live apart from men and have a superior intelligence. The interesting question is how a person would approach a dragon.
Mandy, I had no idea of the metaphor about slaying the ego... never would have occurred to me.
I appreciate you all sharing your thoughts, I am definitely interested in your visceral response to them, and what you find most fascinating... thanks!

message 10: by Jack (new)

Jack Knapp | 778 comments Mod
I hope to be both, Joseph.
Also action-adventure, maybe even a western! But my next series will be fantasy, gen-u-wine sorcerers and a main character who's almost one but not quite! :D
But I've got a trilogy and a series to finish first. Whether the Darwin's World series will be 'finished' isn't clear. It's so open-ended that no 'ending' may be possible. The first three books take place in North America, but then there's Europe, South America, Australia, and the Pacific Islands; I've had land cultures developing a civilization, but what about a neo-ranching culture? Pirates? Swamp people, something akin to the Marsh Arabs but featuring Americans? There's technology to develop, there's new science to build on what's remembered, so many systems we take for granted.
But I do want to write that fantasy. I think it would be fun. And, after all, I'm a longtime member of the SCA; we live in a fantasy world of our own making! :D

message 11: by Jack (new)

Jack Knapp | 778 comments Mod
Regarding dragons, Joseph, a different comment:
Superior intelligence? It's been done. I suggested an approach that if another writer has done it that way, I'm not aware of it.
But your books are your own; your name is on the cover. Are the dragons magical, or based on logic and science as we currently understand it? That question was behind my comment, and I certainly wouldn't suggest you shouldn't pursue your vision.
Instead, I hope you do well with how you design and write about your vision.
As to people who've written of dragons before, well...
They may, or may not, influence you.
I started writing because I thought others were doing it all wrong and I could do better! :D

message 12: by Stanley (new)

Stanley Thornton (standman) | 65 comments In my dragon book series, there are now 2 books released, working on book 3...I placed my dragons on earth...They are extremely intelligent and logical minded, and while they deny it, capable of strong emotions of Man, think Spock...Their deepest fear is that if they admit to having those good emotions that are considered good, they would also have to come to terms with the fact that then must also possess those darker emotions of Man, greed, jealousy, envy...My dragons do not breath fire, but they have dragon magic, whose effects could be viewed as fire breathing.

I have a hierarchy and laws which bind their actions. I have even given them their own creation story. Because they are here on earth, I also tie them to historical events, legends, and sometimes fictional events. And then there are the humans, dragonriders, who assist them in protecting and nurturing the animal Man.

But we each have our own way of describing dragons.

message 13: by Janet (new)

Janet Doolaege | 56 comments If anyone taking part in this discussion has not read Ursula K. Le Guin, now is the time to discover her, starting with the Earthsea trilogy. She writes beautifully about dragons. They are wise and awe-inspiring and known as the "Eldest". I seem to remember that dragons loom large in her novel The Other Wind.

message 14: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Eyre (rachaeleyre) | 44 comments I passionately adore dragons (must be because I'm Welsh). The dragons I write about tend to be the friendly talking sort, but part of their appeal is that they can be, and do, anything. Unlike vampires, there is no definitive literary mould you have to follow.

Make your dragon an integral part of the story, otherwise it'll come across as too much of a weird plot device.

message 15: by Stanley (new)

Stanley Thornton (standman) | 65 comments I agree, Rachel. With my books, my humans are the main character, but it's their relationship to their dragons that are the story...

message 16: by Devorah (new)

Devorah Fox (devorahfox) Mine represent the formidable challenges in life that seem to come from nowhere but which have to be conquered for us to move forward.

message 17: by D.M. (new)

D.M. (DMYates) I agree with Robert. Make dragons be however you want. Readers of dragon stories will enjoy what you write.

message 18: by C. (last edited Jun 14, 2014 12:07PM) (new)

C. McKenzie (cleemckenzie) | 1 comments Joseph wrote: "I am working on writing my first fantasy novel, and was not planning to include dragons, but now I am reconsidering... I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to share their thoughts on wha..."

What kind of dragons? Eastern, mystical ones or the fire-breathing- must- destroy ones in European folklore?

message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura | 21 comments I'm a dragon lover myself. I love dragons that are wise, formidable, but not unkind.

message 20: by Steven (new)

Steven Drachman | 169 comments You can't go wrong with dragons. I mused on using dragons in my fantasy novels on the Suvudu website. I attach it (since you asked).

message 21: by Steven (new)

Steven Drachman | 169 comments Although, Joe, I see you wrote your questions in early May. You've probably finished the book by now!

message 22: by Stanley (new)

Stanley Thornton (standman) | 65 comments It takes me a year each to write my dragon books...

message 23: by Marc (new)

Marc Secchia (marcsecchia) | 16 comments I love dragon books, particularly Ann McCaffrey (Dragons of Pern series). For me they should ideally be developed as any other character and not just be an unabashed force of evil.

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