Monday, September 3, 2012

Dragons Are People, Too

After a lengthy summer hiatus, I’m eager to begin blogging again. I’m hoping to engage with you more regularly for the remainder of the year and into 2013 as I explore different writing topics, share writer, editor & agent interviews, and possibly host a contest or two. As always, I sincerely appreciate you taking time to read & interact with me. Writing can be a lonely world and it’s comforting to know so many of us are on this same road – perhaps at different stages – and moving forward together.

As I contemplated what to start the blogging season with, I thought about my WIP, as I often do. Dragons have taken center stage in my current project. Dragons aren’t new to fiction and the task of bringing something fresh to their history can be challenging.

It all starts with characterization. If dragons (or people) are going to populate your fantasy world, they need to be believable, living, breathing creatures. They can’t just breathe fire, destroy villages and hoard gold. They must be much more than that. They must have hopes, dreams, imaginations and families. They must hold grudges, offer forgiveness and overcome obstacles.

Creating believable characters is an essential part of a great story. You may have created the most fantastic world this side of Middle-earth but if you’re characters are flat, you’re wasting a tremendous opportunity. Some writers can sidestep weak characters with incredible world-building but those success stories are few and far between. As a fantasy writer, you’d like both a vivid world and characters the reader will care about.

How do you bring life to your characters, especially non-human characters? Do you look at them as more than just humans in dragon clothing? How much time do you spend creating your characters as part of your writing process? 

1 comment:

  1. Good questions for you fantasy writers. Seems like a difficult attempt to highlight what separates them from humans and but still allows them to be characterized as what they are in their own pysches and environs while attempting to create empathy from your human readers (;b). Of course if they're nasty and mean you have to fight stereotyping them. Good thoughts, Kirk.