How to Write Your Dragon

Fantasy has always been my favorite genre and that is largely due to the creatures that inhabit the magical worlds. I’m starting this series, “How to Write Your….”, to explore the different creatures I’ve come across and give ideas on how to make them unique.

We’ll start with dragons.

Dragons are probably my favorite mythical animal. I’m rather partial to stories featuring the massive, flying reptiles. They’re rather popular within the fantasy genre, whether as protagonists, antagonists, or simply part of the scenery.

Basic Dragon Facts

There are two basic types of dragons: European and Chinese. European dragons are like the ones pictured above: four legs, two wings, covered in scales, breathing fire, and viciously protective of it’s treasure hoard. Chinese dragons are more like snakes with wings. Sometimes without legs, sometimes covered in feathers rather than scales, symbols of strength and luck, and often associated with the element of air or water, these dragons are more benevolent than their European counterparts.

Dragons are traditionally seen as guardians, whether of their own treasures or others’. They often go about collecting treasure, which sometimes includes princesses. They have varying levels of intelligence, sometimes smarter than humans, sometimes no more than animals.

Make it Yours

Dragons are a lot of fun to play with, creatively. There are many things you can do to make them unique to your story. Make them a different size, like small enough to hold in a person’s arms. Associate them with different elements, not just fire or air. Give them the ability to shape-shift, either in size or form. I’ve read a few books where dragons have the ability to assume a human body. That always makes thing interesting.

It’s also neat to explore the way dragons relate to other species. Are they at odds with humans? Do they mindlessly follow orders from a more intelligent race? Are they tightly bound to others?

What’s your favorite book about dragons?

Until next time, word nerds!

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