Creatures fill my world, my imagination, my dreams, my stories. odd variations erupt from dreams. I’ve ridden tigers the size of Clydesdales. A spaniel-sized zebra gave birth to zebra twins in my laundry room. I’ve faced challenges in getting a basilisk ready for a reptile show, including cooking up bait-treats for the show ring and making goggles to cover its eyes. My neighbors have threatened to call animal control when I had a minotaur calf grazing in the backyard.
Sooner or later, some version of a dream creature shows up in a story.
There are, of course, natural ones: dogs, cats, horses, a wide diversity of wild animals. Insects, too. Observations about them are sprinkled throughout my journals, fodder for stories. Last summer, I rescued a dragonfly from a spider web, and as it flew away, another story erupted.
Not about the dragonfly. No, lop off the last syllable—a new dragon story.
People ask where an author gets ideas. The pat answer is everywhere. I don’t often hear writers give any specifics beyond everywhere. Maybe the idea founts are so varied or so ephemeral that the writer him-/herself isn’t exactly certain. For myself, something as simple or as odd (or simply odd) as hearing a single word or glimpsing a color/texture/shape ignites a story. Often, though, it’s more substantial than that, even if the substance is a dream. Or some moment in life that others might not give a second thought.
I have one dragon story in progress already, so this one has to wait **ahem** in the wings. The one in-work is steampunk with dragon, set in the same milieu as my “Tools of the Trade” story. The characters from that one make a cameo appearance, but the focus is on characters from a different part of the world. Research into the Orient of the 1800s has slowed but not stopped the writing.
But the new story beckons as brightly as a shiny bauble attracts a crow’s gaze. Will this one be the rescue of a dragon? Perhaps the companion of a dragon? Or something else? Don’t know yet. I only know this dragon’s purpose isn’t to guard a mountain of precious metal treasures, but it is under siege, with enemy snares around it and venom poised to destroy it and that which it guards.
Just like the dragonfly of last summer.
“Tools of the Trade” appears in my short story collection:
Leyfarers and Wayfarers http://tinyurl.com/n8svgxs