Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why Dragons?

Today I'm lucky I have author of the book Dragon's Curse: Book One of the Dragon and the Scholar Series, H.L. Burke as a guest.

Why Dragons?
By H. L. Burke, author of Dragon's Curse

There is a famous story about two of my favorite authors. During a conversation regarding books, one of them turned to the other and said, “If they won't write the kinds of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves.”

This discussion produced (eventually, masterpieces aren't written overnight) both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, along with other works by both Tolkien and Lewis. As voracious reader, teenage-me often found books that I wanted to read, but sometimes the book I sought evaded me because it hadn't been written yet. I needed to write it.

A lot of my early work came from reading or watching movies and thinking, “Oh, that's cool, but this is how I'd do it.” Or the desire to explore a world I couldn't reach by train or plane, be it a sprawling fantasy universe or a Steampunk inventor's workshop. Or the need to ship myself with my high school crush (let's be honest, there's a reason I write fantasy/romance.).

I started numerous of stories for the reasons above, but many of them sat in drawers, unfinished, because the real motivation has to be the story. I have to want to know what happens next and how my characters will handle it. There has to be a desire to see them face danger and struggle through hardship and overcome adversity. I want to feel their hearts break and then put them back together at the end of the story (hopefully).

Most of my stories are character driven. One relationship tends to jump out from the rest of them and lead the way, be it a rivalry between brothers, love between a couple, or a struggle for dominance between a father and estranged son. Why? Because that's what I care about. That's what I want to read about. That's what excites me to write.

Writing can be taught. You can learn plot construction, sentence structure, and (in spite of the texting generation's attempts to disprove this) spelling and grammar. However, if you don't love your story and your characters, even the most pristine prose will come across as dry and heartless. That's why I write what I want to, what I care about, and what I believe in (be it love or dragons). You have to care if you want readers to care.

So if you want to write, what should you write?

Not the most marketable or original story, but the story you want to read. The one with the characters who are so real to you that conversations take place in your head between you and them. The one you care about.

Writing is personal. So to answer the title question, why dragons?

Because they make me happy.  


  1. "Because they make me happy." Perfect reason! They make me happy, too. :)


      errrrrrrr . . .

      takes off her Smaug cosplay outfit and hides under the table.