I can’t tell you how excited I am about the continued process with The Dragonmasters: Part One. It’s clipping along beautifully and really started to take form from the great blob. But here’s the truth: writing about fantasy creatures is really hard. Writing about a creature that only exists inside your head is different than writing a person. I know how a person moves, thinks, eats, etc. So do you.
That’s a different story. We don’t see the way their scales roll when they move, the whip of their tail, or if they have 4-6 toes (claws?) Do they have opposable thumbs? Do they breathe fire? Steam? Smoke? What color are their eyes? Can they speak? Can they do math? Distinction is important for the imagination of the author and the reader in this regard.What many people don't know is that writing is just glorified decision making.Click To Tweet
So what do I do to picture these creatures?
Finding my Forest Dragons
There’s a lot that goes into finding out how I want people to picture my dragons, and Pinterest provides the perfect space to find and organize them. (Follow me here!) Where possible, I linked to the original content, but the rest of these pictures just go back to my Pinterest board so you can see the original art.
Many of you may recognize this photo from Game of Thrones. I love it for picturing a dragon in flight, from the position of their back legs to how thin of a membrane these wings are.
MY DRAGONS: The wings are more broad at the body and not quite as pointed at the end. I’d describe their texture as leathery.
This picture is wonderful because there’s clearly a relationship between the dragon and the human!
MY DRAGONS: this picture perfectly shows the way I’d describe the chest, wings, and lower body of my dragons, but with a little less bulk. They’re strong but occasionally wiry creatures, and this neck is too thick at the base. Of all the pictures I’ve found, this is the closest approximation to height as well. This face is too narrow at the nose, however.
Dragon tutorials are the BEST for helping me figure out basic anatomy. (Like horns, for example. Some are long, thin, and angled back. These have a wave to them. Others are straight. There’s so much to choose from!)
MY DRAGONS: They have shorter horns that come off the back of their head. They’re sharp, but not super pointy
I love the structure and detail of the face/scales/mouth in this picture. Very stunning.
MY DRAGONS: The horns and what I can extrapolate of the snout are definitely what I’ve pictured on my dragons. I like that the end of the snout is a bit thicker. My dragons have a thinner neck, however.
Yet another GOT shot that I love! The best detail about this one is the wing (which actually takes place of the foreleg—this dragon really only has two legs in the back while most you see have four and wings) and the texture of the wing attached to it. I don’t like all the spikes as well, but this dragon almost appears to have a positively human appearance in the sullen eyes.
This picture doesn’t give me any dragon inspiration directly, but I love the relationship between human and dragon here!
MY DRAGONS: In The Dragonmasters Part One, the relationships between the dragons and the witches is complex, at best. This is over a hundred years before Sanna and Isadora meet Bianca, so things are very different in the Central Network. This kind of relationship, however, is what Sanna longs for at the beginning of the duology and is constantly seeking.
FUN FACT—Sanna and Isadora died at 124 years old.
This is another great picture to show the details of a dragon flying, but this time with forelegs. Also, it’s a great picture of the rider. Notice how her legs are in front of the wings?
MY DRAGONS—My dragons have four legs and wings, and the riders sit in front of the wings, using them to support the ride (as you can see here.)
The details of the scales on this dragon are very impressive, right down to the flange around the eye.
MY DRAGONS—The thickness of this face (and the ratio to the human) is perfect for what I picture for my dragons. This one appears to have three horns or more, and mine only have two.
This is a great charge to get size comparisons. This has been a huge help as I picture each scene in my head.
MY DRAGONS—Mine are in the third row. Though not as long in the tail, their body structure and neck length is similar to the black dragon that’s classified as huge.
Trying to decide and piece together my dragons has really come from time, reading lots of dragon books (if you don’t follow my monthly newsletter, you’re missing out!) and figuring it out as I write. Turns out that dragons are REALLY bossy. Look out for a post on their scales, eggs, personalities, and communication style!
Don’t forget to share this post with any of your dragon-lover friends and grab your free copy of my first novel, the award-winning YA Fantasy novel Miss Mabel’s School for Girls.