Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do You Need a Dragon?

There are many pieces of writerly advice. One I read warned Don't Fill Your Plot Holes with Dragons and made excellent points about realistic and unrealistic ways to deal with plot holes.

Just for fun, though, think of the advantages of using dragons.

Your character needs to be in a different location. Don't worry about climbing into a car or taking a train. Call a dragon.

Your main character is in danger with no way out. After cursing at yourself for writing yourself into a corner, remember your friendly dragon. Let him appear and scare the skin off of whatever is imperiling your character.

It's a cold night and your character is freezing. Hello, dragon! A bit of fire, if you please. Problem solved.

Your character has a deep secret, which you alluded to many times, but never actually figured out what it is. Solution? He has a pet dragon.

The dialogue drags. Talk about the dragon.

You discover your main character is, in fact, rather hum-drum. No one with a dragon is hum-drum.

Your main character needs a sidekick. How cool would a dragon sidekick be?

Your plot needs more conflict. The dragon can turn nasty.

Best of all?

Your main character is stuck in a deep hole. Oh, dragon??

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Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her twelve murder mystery games and two plays are available through host-party.comShe has also contributed articles to the European writers' magazine "Elias". Her blog, "It's A Mystery," explores the writing process with a touch of humor. She is on Twitter as @elspethwrites.


  1. Who knew dragons could be so useful? I'm putting one in every WIP I have!

    A great post...

  2. This is entertaining, Elspeth! Although I have no doubt it represents the patterns many authors resort to when their plot goes stale. I know one who depends on late-entering characters to save the day. Another will kill a major character to see how that shakes things up. So now I'm thinking if you add a dragon into the mix, and use all three techniques in rotation in subsequent books, no one may ever figure out the pattern!

  3. What fun. I need a dragon to help get me out of a hole.

  4. You have your story almost written. Go for it!
    Morgan Mandel

  5. I'm a dragon fan anyway - love the Dragonriders of Pern series. I hear there's talk of a movie again, this straight from the lips of her eldest son on Facebook. I've always wanted to have an art show illustrating the books. But, I digress...

  6. M.J.; Never underestimate the usefulness of a dragon.

    Kathryn; I'm glad you found my post amusing. We all have our techniques to keep our plots moving along!

    Maryann; Luckily, they have wings.

    Morgan; I do, actually.

    Dani; You did digress. Well done!

  7. Aha! So that's how my character escaped from the locked room.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  8. Need some romance? Add a vampire.


  9. Not that I have anything against those who like vampires.

  10. Terry; Now you know.

    Scooter; Oh dear. I think the dragon may have eaten the vampire.

  11. Nice post. Very amusing. I for one would love to have a pet dragon.

    But, my last two main chracters were dragons. And they still got into trouble ... with other dragons!

  12. This is really interesting thing good post. Thanks you for your work!)

  13. This could work for me, because my keester is often a-draggin'.

  14. Love it! Thanks. Something to keep in mind when I'm stuck in a hole!


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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