Be The Dragon (24/5/2010)

Someone complained that there hadn’t been a Critical Failures post for a while (totally neglecting the awe-inspiring poetry of Wu-Tome Clan, I note). Well fine. You want rant. Have rant. It’s a slow news week anyway. Mostly what I’ve done is write a prologue for The Warlock’s Shadow, been very pleased with it, realised that it’s not absolutely essential and will therefore feel the wrath of my prologue-hating editor[1] and then hit myself around the head with a brick a few times.

Ha! Well the prologue in Order of the Scales is cunningly disguised as a chapter. If that doesn’t work, I’ll cunningly hide it as a flashback somewhere on the middle. Cut my prologue then, mister editor…

This wasn’t supposed to be about prologues. So I guess so far this has all been a …


Right. Characters. That was where I was supposed to be going. Sometimes people ask whether there is any part of me in my characters, but I think that asks the question the wrong way round. Yes, obviously there has to be and there are parts of what I see in other people and so on and so forth and buy me a beer at a convention and we can talk about that for hours. But what about the other way round? No one ever asks that, but the should! My characters, they sneak out of the page and into me, you see. They affect my thinking. I can spend a few days writing about a grumpy world-weary amoral sell-sword and I start turning into a grumpy, world-weary, amoral . . .

Oh. Right. Maybe that’s not such a good example.

In all seriousness, though, they do. I slip in and out of the heads of my characters to write them and every time, I come away with a little bit of them inside me. I take the point of view of an alchemist for a few days, I start wringing my hands about how short-sighted people are. I take the point of view of a sell-sword for a bit, I’m exactly the person I was wringing my hands about only a few days before. I write a chapter as the Night Watchman, and suddenly I’m the household sergeant-major. I exaggerate, of course, but it’s true – they do all leave a little mark when I’m with them that takes a little time to fade. Wierd, huh?

So there’s the Order of the Scales. Back to working on that, I am. Polishing and making shiny. And if there’s one thing it’s got more of than the first two books, it’s dragons. As in time spent in the company of and sometimes sharing the thoughts of.  Be the dragon, that’s what I want. They don’t think like people. Humans are food, barely significant at all to a woken dragon. I’m going to be in that head a lot for the next month. So if you talk to me before the end of June and I’m all ‘HUMANS ARE A CONTAMINATION OF THE EARTH AND SHOULD ALL BURN,’ that’s just a bit of dragon I’ve brought back with me. DO NOT BE ALARMED. Just don’t, whatever you do, spill barbeque sauce over yourself.

Oh, and in July and August I’ll be spending most of my time as a randy teenager with a cleavage obsession. God help us all.

[1] To be fair, I think he only hates unnecessary prologues. Whereas I would probably write a book made of nothing else, given half a chance.


Leave a Reply