Of Cephalopods and Dragons
Fighting with dragons while writing a middle grade fantasy novel…
One of the things writers try to avoid are the old played out tropes – unless you can make them fresh- for me I wanted to avoid a classic of many fantasy novels- dragons. Why, because I didn’t think I could make a dragon anew, or if I tried, I would need a huge dose of “dragon Febreze,”(choose your favorite air-freshener here:) Of course, so many writers had done dragons well in fantasy books for ages. But dragons simply weren’t for me.
In fact, to some degree, I was purposefully avoiding dragons – not wanting to get “tropey,” with my work, yes, but imaginatively speaking, I felt a bit trailed by them, LOL. I was born in the year of the dragon, work in a school that has a dragon mascot and my father worked for a company that used a dragon as its figure head.
Then as often happens when you try to avoid something it comes to you.
My dragon came to me, in the form of Science Friday Cephalopod Week. My writer’s brain billowed in the fascinating watery world of octopus eyes, jeweled suckers and beautiful brains and whoosh, my water dragon was born. A different dragon that felt fresh to me with a dose of octopus and science air-freshener.
I recently saw the author Elizabeth Gilbert, in an art forum, discuss her book Big Magic Creative Life Beyond Fear. I am a believer in the type of creative magic she describes. Simple connections that creative thinking morphs together when one regularly puts butt in chair. Who knew the dragon I did not want to include in my middle grade novel would be born on National Cephalopod Week?