So, I had to take a break off reading fantasy novels. Which, sadly, is the raison d’être for reestablishing this blog as something a little more substantial than a place to vent. I decided to write a few more chapters of a story I’ve neglected since the Big Move, which has been progressing at an optimistic pace. But I find myself in a bit of a bind…
As you may be aware, I am an avid fan of stories. They can have dragons, involve vikings, court intrigue, or really anything. The only thing I truly hated reading about was Ancient Roman & Greek history because of all the damn pots. Seriously: ancient history is divided by what era made what type of pot. So super-duper fascinating. It may sound as though I am uncultured swine or degrade the efforts of the classicists but that is simply not true. I’m a more modern historian though; I search for relevance through written records. NOT GODDAMN POTS. Just a preference.
Whew, tangent. It’s such a bad habit, so I apologize. But, yes. Stories. I don’t so much collect them as much as I absorb them. I’m terrible with instructions; I will ask someone to repeat something many, many times until it clicks. But tell me a factoid about you that is random and completely irrelevant? I will remember that shit forever. It was a bane to my studies, as I included the most unimportant facts out there (Chinese nobles used to circumcise themselves with vegetables cutters ) and be completely amazed by them. I would spend paragraphs on that stuff just because I was so fascinated by it.
But my dilemma is this: my story is super interesting; no false modesty there, I would read the hell out of this book if my worst enemy had written it. It has its issues (the plot isn’t crystal-clear yet, the characters lack some of the depth I want to expand on, the setting needs a bit of work) but the biggest thing is that I’m scared of any feedback. I’ve debated posting any passages on here for y’all to peruse, so I thought I’d throw it to the wind and ask: would any readers be interested in helping me out? This isn’t a blog with a massive following, or even that many views, but I’d like it to develop a more communal feel.
I’ll start with a wee bit of context on it: the Earth was rocked by a pan-dimensional explosion, triggered by a nuclear camp becoming infected by dark magic, at the tail end of WWII in 1945. The resulting explosion opened multiple dimensions where the gods of old and new reside and all the worlds suddenly collided. Witnessed firsthand by Harold Doyle, an out-of-luck veteran of the European war living with his parents in rural British Columbia, he then embarks on an epic quest, with the entire Norse pantheon as his allies. Generations later, his granddaughter Maggie and her friends undertake a similar quest, only instead of trying to hide it she needs to show it to the world and help them remember what they’ve lost. During her quest, Maggie has to fight a gruesome rogue pack of werewolves and befriend the peaceful tribes that live outside the city of Lockstock.
That’s it, in essence. There’s so much more that I just love about this story so far, but I just need some help developing it outside the whirling storm that is my head. Plus, I think a few of the characters who have waltzed in would really benefit the genre and offer a greater worldview to potential readers.
Hopefully, a few of you will be on board :)
I’ve had a rather large mug of tea and now I have a wide variety of thoughts swirling about -whew-. I think one of the main issues I’d like to discuss about fantasy though would be dragons, as they have a rather special place in my heart. I will not wax poetical or sentimental about these imaginary beasts, but they are a true stalwart of fantasy. They are oft portrayed as majestic, omnipotent and wise beings or as feral beasts seeking to destroy mankind. Something I haven’t really seen about dragons is as mystics and guardians, although that role has been touched on. In the guardian aspect, the Ouroboros in The Neverending Story would suffice, although they don’t really serve in an advisory capacity.
What I personally would like to see develop from dragons:
There are soooooo many ways dragons can evolve in fantasy. The closest high-profile dragon protagonist I can name at the moment is Temeraire, champion of Naomi Novik’s sweeping alternate Napoleonic Wars saga of the same name. Having never read the Dragonriders of Pern by genre heavyweight Anne McCaffrey (and feeling a bit old for it at 25), I am told that those books really set the precedent for Westernized dragons to gain solid footing in fantasy.
Let’s take a quick glance at Lord of the Rings. There was one named dragon in the main series: Smaug. He is the stereotypical dragon; hoarder of treasure, territorial, malevolent and a streak of utter indifference to anyone but himself. There was talk awhile back about Smaug possibly being a caricature of Jews in that time period (super-touchy subject which I will not touch without proper sources), but more or less, in fantasy, he solidified several tropes that writers use.
The treasure-hoarding aspect of dragons hasn’t been used in a long time, and I have no idea why. In secular religions, like Wicca, dragons are regarded as beings of good fortune so perhaps that seedy tendency to hoard their treasures could be metamorphosized into something more metaphysical. They could be carriers of good intentions, positive energy and a source of eternal happiness. Should they still retain their bestial tendencies? Absolutely. They aren’t dinosaurs though and should not be treated as though they are mindless beasts. It would also be lovely if some authors could open a physics book once in awhile to understand that dragons over one hundred feet long can’t fly on bat wings. Explain the magic behind it. If they can say the Force is powered by bacteria, you can give some tangible reason a gargantuan lizard with a belly full of combustible gas is able to fly through the Earthly sky when the biggest natural thing up there is a goddamn heron.
Anyhoo, this is one of my more ranty posts on here. My caffeine high has decided to abate, my stomachache has returned with a vengeance (and a really sharp stick to poke my insides with), so I will retire to sleep. I will include in this post one of my favourite dragons: Bahamut, the platinum dragon king from Dungeons & Dragons. Hey, this site is about nerdy things, too! I’m a nerd! Look up his stats; he’s amazing.