Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To dragon or not

I have a pet dragon. Not a tangible one, one in my book. She's based on a little pewter dragon a friend gave me years ago. She's portly and naive and unaware of her own strength, but totally aware of her appeal. She eats amber and grows exponentially. Her interactions with my characters provide humour in dire situations. I want to keep her.

The problem is she doesn't seem to have a role to play. In my head she's important and the four main characters can't achieve their goal without her but it's not coming through one way or the other. At the moment she's a little light relief, popping up at unusual moments and then disappearing just as suddenly, only to come back again when all the people seem to be doing is travelling on a long journey. She nearly drowns a couple of them - by accident, of course - and deafens and kills a whole heap of bad guys but mostly she's used to get my characters out of situations they can't get out of themselves and, therefore, probably weakening them. At the end of the book she has a major role to play but none of that is clear until right at the end (which I haven't written yet because I haven't worked it out).

Judging on the feedback, she's not working the way I wanted her to at all. All the critiques so far have said 'get rid of her' and 'she's detracting from the story', 'has no purpose'. So now I have a dilemma. Do I go back and write her out of the story completely so my characters can find their own way forward and save themselves, or do I go back and change her character so she ups the ante, so she makes life just that bit more difficult for everyone and no one knows if she's a good guy or a bad guy until right at the end?

I'll have to spend some time on the weekend plotting out both scenarios to see which one will travel the best.

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