Just finishing up the last chapter of a regency historical, the fifth in the Friendship series, and need a break from the confinement of historical fiction. The titles and outlines for the next two books are inside my bean, but I need something—a break, a spoonful of lemon sorbet to cleanse the palette. Don’t get me wrong. I love regency with a capitol L, but after a while, I worry about the staleness that can creep in from writing too much of the same thing. So, it’s back to fantasy for a while.
I admit to a fixation on dragons. I doubt they ever existed, certainly not the way I think of them, but in my head, they live. My first published works were epic fantasy. Winged creatures called fflorin were in each installment of the trilogy, dragons with a strong affinity to humans, which they considered a lower life from. Fflorin believed it their duty—like angels with crosses to bear—to assist feeble humans, while humans were in equal parts fascinated and terrified of the clever creatures.
Fantasy allows imagination to fly. For me, a much needed sense of freedom from the confines of creating inside the box of historical facts. So…up next on the writing docket, Canticle of Destruction, the third book of the YA fantasy series Songs of Atlantis, stories about a girl who can manipulate nature, kidnapped from her homeland, and sold on the auction block in Atlantis. The Vital, first in the series, is the discovery of her talents. The second, Masters of the Dark, its uses, and the third is about her ability to change the world. This time, there be dragons in it. Not the usual dragon either. Mine are always a bit edgier, a bit different from the run of the mill sort that spew fire.
To spark ideas about Atlantis world building, I read Cayce. Then, like a nimnoo (Holy shades of Mork from Ork), I started to research—a habit and a mistake on more than one level. Don’t know how bright it was to delve into dragon mythology when my original intent was to stay away from research. Regency requires trotting off to the bookshelf every other paragraph to verify a fact or detail.
While sifting through dragon legend, I come upon an interesting historical note and off I go on an entirely different thread. I am habitually stuck in research mode, and it must stop. There are pages and websites and endless kinds of dragons. I merely wanted to check out a few things and got lured into bottomless wells of information.
Scads of countries are awash with varied legendary dragons—serpent-like, winged, wormy, sea-going and cave-dwelling. The variety is endless. I kept reading and reading, sucked into the lore and myths, the hoaxes and possibilities. What was I thinking? Too much research in this case is a very bad thing. I know what my dragon is going to look like, its purpose, and its part in the story arc. My problem is letting go of the research addiction and allowing imagination take the controls.
My dragon awaits. Scratch that. My dragon lurks. Now it’s time to fly.
M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner for regency)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML