Medieval versus Renaissance

Many fantasy writers try to recreate a Medieval setting. However, many of these settings are actually in a completely different era in history.

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When we think of a typical fantasy story, we often think of dragons, knights, castles, and damsels in distress. Basically, the setting is comparable to Medieval England. As I’ve explained before, this is because this type of fantasy has its roots in Medieval England with the stories of King Arthur or Beowulf. In recent literature, many fantasy writers still try to recreate a Medieval setting. However, many of these settings are actually in a completely different era in history. The Renaissance came after the Medieval Era. This is when literature really began to move forward once again.

The Medieval Era didn’t really mean the end of advancing technology, but it was clearly a time of slow progression. Books were rare and expensive because they were difficult to make. After the terrible Black Plague, a new surge of energy swept over Europe. Technology advanced at an extraordinary rate. This was when the printing press was invented. Books became more common. New stories had biblical and mythological inspiration. This is the setting that many fantasy stories today come from.

Of course there are books and movies that have a true Medieval setting that are put together quite well, but more than few have a Renaissance setting even when many believe it is Medieval. Think of Beauty and the Beast for example. The main character, Belle, loves to read. We learn of the grand library in the beast’s castle. That gives us evidence that this was a time that books were common. We also know that Belle’s father was an inventor. The elements in this story come from the Renaissance.

It’s no crime to have either a Medieval or a Renaissance setting, though they can be overused. One thing we can learn about these two time periods is how important literature is to our society. It was during the Renaissance when we had great writers like William Shakespeare. The Industrial Revolution gave rise to the age of Romanticism with writers like Mark Twain and Nathaniel Hawthorne. There is yet another golden age of literature that began in the twentieth century that continues today (the twentieth century was called the century of the book). This shows us that literature plays a huge role in moving society forward. It is through words that moves civilization forward.

Clipper’s Role…

A supporting character who was Jacob’s best friend and another dragon was something I thought would help the story a lot.

As I was plotting out Rise of the Dragon, I obviously wanted a faithful protagonist. Who doesn’t? But even when the novel was still in its infant stages, I already wanted a supporting character. I thought the story with Jacob by himself would be somewhat interesting, though I didn’t think it was enough. A supporting character who was Jacob’s best friend and fellow dragon was something I thought would help the story a lot. I didn’t want Jacob to be all alone. This is where Clipper’s role comes from. Another thing that I wanted Clipper to do is to be more than just a side character. I wanted him to have a major roll (just not as big as Jacob’s).

Creating supporting characters can be a little tricky. You don’t want them to be there just for support. All you will have is a supporting element, not a supporting character. At the same time, you want the story to follow your main character. Creating Clipper was slightly difficult for me because of the story’s structure. I wanted one main character, who was Jacob. What I tried to focus on was Clipper’s self-awareness and his personality that is similar but not identical to Jacob. That way Jacob could be more independent as the protagonist. This is why Clipper treats his temper differently from how Jacob does, for example.

After I developed Clipper’s character, I had a lot of fun with him. His dark-red scales and sabered teeth show that he is different from Jacob, but he shares enough traits. Having Clipper as a supporting character who is friends with Jacob felt so much better than having Jacob go about his adventures alone. And it doesn’t end with Clipper. Characters like Chang, Sally, and even Reno also had to be distinct and I had fun with them too.

Creating a character’s personality was very fun for me. I enjoyed creating Clipper’s role as well as Jacob’s and other characters.

The Importance of Reading…

A good reader is also a good writer.

There are some helpful elements that can really help an author unlock his or her greatest potential. A good author should write often, of course. But one of the most important things an author should do is read. Reading is what moves literature forward.

There is a broad range of what an author can read, and it can influence what the author will write. For example, I love reading fantasy books. It’s one of my favorite genres along with classical fiction. I enjoy entering other worlds and experiencing things I could never experience on a daily basis. I will constantly return to books about dragons, adventure, and magic. It’s what gives the adventure to me. And because I love reading in the realm of fantasy, I also love to write in the realm of fantasy. Just remember, write about things you love. I love reading about dragons. That is why The Tales of Draco is about dragons.

Believe it or not, if I had not read some of the books I enjoyed in the past, I doubt I would have written The Tales of Draco. So if you ever decide to write a story, one of the best exercises for you is to read. Reading will give you inspiration. It’s inspiration that will move literature along. A good writer is also a good reader.

Reason Behind the Dragon

There is a reason behind the fact that the protagonist is a dragon.

Being a fantasy novel, it comes to no surprise that dragons are in The Tales of Draco. Many other fantasy novels have dragons as key characters or simply used to support the magical world that we as the reader is not used to experiencing every day. In The Tales of Draco, dragons obviously play a big role. There is a reason behind the fact that the protagonist is a dragon.

Believe it or not, my view on dragons has changed significantly over the years. When I was only a few years old, many movies that my parents would watch that had dragons scared me. Even one of my favorite shows I watched as a child gave me nightmares. But despite the fact that as many times these fantastic creatures frightened me, there were a few television shows that had dragons who did not scare me as much. With that working for me, I eventually overcame my “dracophobia”. Before I knew it, I loved reading about dragons. Both the European and the Asian style of dragons would fascinate me.

When I began thinking of the storyline for Rise of the Dragon and the rest of the series, I tried to think of different ways on how my story could differ from any other fantasy book. This was when I noticed that dragons in fantasy were usually the main antagonist or a secondary character, depending on the book. I had never read a book where a dragon is the main protagonist. With this realization, I asked myself what the life of a dragon is like. What are a dragon’s common thoughts? What are his urges and instincts? I was then thinking about the philosophy of humans overcoming natural instincts. Thus, I decided that dragons in The Tales of Draco were naturally evil, though this evil can be conquered. With this wonder of what a dragon is thinking, this is also why the book is in Jacob’s point of view.

With these reasons, I decided to make Jacob a human who becomes a dragon. That way, Jacob can describe his feelings and thoughts in a way that we as humans understand better. It is not easy overriding a dragon’s instinct. And Jacob may even have to fight against this instinct as an outside force.

A Pinch of Humor…

Oftentimes, there can be humor in almost any tone, depending on what the author writes.

Every book has a certain tone. This depends on the genre of the book; and most often what the writer wants the tone to be. Oftentimes, there can be humor in almost any tone, depending on what the author writes. A good example of a comical tone can be found in Rick Riordan’s works. But even when the tone is more serious, just a slice of humor can make the story much more enjoyable.

The Tales of Draco has somewhat of a serious tone to it. In my writing, I decided that a full comical tone would not fit the plot. I had more focus on elements in the story, such as action and sequences of events. But sometimes, a story can be too serious. A story with no humor can still be fun. But humor is a great way to keep a story fun, especially for a Y/A book. Humor can be used in books with serious tones. And that is why I enjoy having some comic relief in my works.

One example of humor in Rise of the Dragon is when Jacob and Clipper are barely learning how to fly soon after they become dragons. Clipper has acrophobia, which makes flying a real burden for him at first. I figured that the novel would still be fun even if I had no humor, but I enjoy a bit of humor her and there to put a smile on the reader’s face. In the next book in The Tales of Draco, there are a few characters how have comical personalities while the tone is as serious as in the first book.

Depending on the book, humor can be good or bad. If you’re not careful, the humor can be out of place. And a comical tone might not work for some stories. Humor has to be placed in the right story in the right place. Even in books with serious tones like The Lord of the Rings, there is humor every now and again. Humor makes us happy, and that can really help the reader have fun with the book.

What’s Jordan’s Life Outside Writing?

When I budget my time, I can continue my schooling with ease without putting The Tales of Draco to the side. I still have plenty of time to write and edit. That is the reason why no matter what I do, I have dragons, dwarves, fairies, and other creatures flying around in my mind.

Every author has more to do than writing. For me, I spend as much time as I can writing and editing (I really need the editing) as possible. I avoid procrastination the best I can and try to make my work the best as it can be. My entire life is practically surrounded by dragons and magic. But I also have other obligations other than writing. I still go to school, work outdoors, and enjoy some leisure time. So what do I do and how do I get the time to do it? The best way to fit many aspects of life is time-budgeting. Here are a few things I do when I’m not writing…

  • School… As I have said before, I’m still in the process of education. I spend seven hours for five days a week in school, plus whatever homework I have. I love school. Learning is something that I have a passion for. If I was to say what my favorite subject is, I would say History or Fine Arts, with English and Science not far behind. As of 2016, I am attending West Side High School in Dayton, Idaho.
  • Theatre… For those who know me well, they may know I have a great love for theatre. I’ve been in many different stage productions since I was eight years old, from the magic mirror on the wall to General Genghis Khan Shmitz. I love the rehearsals, no matter if they are at three o’clock in the afternoon or six o’clock in the morning. It’s very exciting when I have to push myself to be in a stage performance. You’ll learn more about my life on the stage later, for I am going to be in another performance. As I enjoy writing and acting, maybe I could write a play someday?
  • Work… I live in Idaho, in a very “spread-out” town of less than 500 people. This is because its in a very agricultural part of the valley. I occasionally do farm work, but I mostly do yard or industrial work. One day I mow a pasture, the next I split and stack wood. It’s the life I live and I certainly don’t mind the work.
  • Walk/Run/Bike… With a very open region, I like to travel either on foot or on bike. Walking is very helpful if I every get writer’s block. The fresh air opens my mind. Sometimes I wander by the railroad tracks or up in the mountainous canyons. The paths throughout the Bannock Mountains are filled with a sense of adventure. What better way to get inspiration to write?
  • Basketball… I’m not a legend when it comes to this fine game, but this is still my favorite sport. I usually play for fun and not for competition. Basketball also runs through my family. My dad is 6’6” and could touch the top of the inner square of the backboard when he was in high school. My brother Christopher and I enjoy playing this game. I don’t play on any major teams though, but basketball is my favorite sport just the same.
  • Friends… I don’t really spend much time doing anything recreational, so doing things with friends every other week is something I always look forward to. My best friend and I occasionally play Minecraft or NBA ShootOut 98 if we find the time. Other times we ride bikes or bake something delicious.
  • Read… Being an author, reading is important. I usually read fantasy or science fiction or historical non-fiction. (Click here to see a few of my favorite authors…)

So these are a sample of things I do, but with another potential edition of Rise of the Dragon coming out, the sequel I’m currently editing, and the outline of the rest of the series, I cannot procrastinate. If you ever have a lot of things on your plate, budget your time. If you have to make sacrifices, so be it. I love theatre, but I usually perform about one production every year, maybe two. I don’t play on any major basketball teams, but I can still play on smaller organizations. When I budget my time, I can continue my schooling with ease without putting The Tales of Draco to the side. I still have plenty of time to write and edit. That is the reason why no matter what I do, I have dragons, dwarves, fairies, and other creatures flying around in my mind.

What makes a dragon?

One may ask what a dragon looks like in The Tales of Draco.

One may ask what a dragon looks like in The Tales of Draco. The best source of information is in the appendix in Rise of the Dragon.

Pages 554-555 from The Tales of Draco: Rise of the Dragon:

“Dragons can be found mostly on Elsov, but one or two are known to occasionally wander to the human world. They usually live in caves or pits in the ground. Most dragons are around seven to eleven feet long from nose to tail, and stand at about four to five feet tall on all four feet (excluding folded wings). Other dragons have been rumored to be much bigger. Dragons have long snouts and are covered in heavily armored scales that can only be slightly damaged by constant strong stabbing by a normal blade or heavily damaged by a special enchanted blade. The average-sized dragon will have about a thirteen to eighteen foot wingspan and can fly at great speeds. They are also excellent swimmers and are able to hold their breath for a long time. They are omnivores but mostly eat meat, often seafood and land mammals. They breathe fire and spit a hallucinogenic venom. When filled with adrenaline, they are able lift very heavy objects using their horns (an astonishing one to two tons maximum). Most dragons have two sharp but smooth horns made of keratin and are about a foot and a half long. They are long and straight with pointed tips that come out from above each ear. Dragons tend to charge enemies larger than they are. Despite the presence of long and sharp claws, dragons have fingers to lift any objects. Not a common believed fact, but they are actually very intelligent. Without fire or brute strength, they have the ability to find complex solutions out of any spontaneous stickler. Some dragons can even speak with human intellect. If they are able to speak, their language depends on their place of origin. Each dragon has his or her own unique color of scales and other personal qualities. This gives limited opportunity to know the identity of a dragon if you see one.

 

The appendix practically sums up what you need to know. In the upcoming sequel, The Tales of Draco: The Six Pieces, there is more information about what the color of scales on a dragon mean. There can be brightscaled and darkscaled dragons, but I won’t say any more.

It’s revealed in the appendix that dragons are about seven to eleven feet long. That’s only an average length. Some dragons can be bigger. One dragon not yet revealed (but has been referenced in Rise of the Dragon) is much bigger. When Jacob and Clipper turn into dragons, they are about the size of a mix between a black bear and a grizzly bear. Both their wingspans are about sixteen feet from tip to tip. With their size, they can still squeeze through doorways if they fold their wings.

The novel describes what Jacob and Clipper look like as dragons. Clipper has wine-red scales and a white underside. His horns are smooth and white. Clipper is well known for his sabered teeth that reach below his chin and his four-toed foot. He lost his fifth toe when he was still a human on Komodo Island (mentioned in Chapter I). Jacob has black scales and also has a white underside. Even though Jacob does not have sabered teeth like Clipper, his teeth are still dangerously long and sharp. Jacob’s horns are light brown.

Dragons in The Tales of Draco bear a European resemblance, but also hav some Asian influence. In our world, dragons are seen differently in each region. When I wanted to right about dragons, I didn’t want to focus on a single depiction. I thought mixing every depiction would make dragons more believable. However, the dragons in The Tales of Draco are just a few of many dragons in our wide selection of literature. How are dragons in other book series similar or different from Jacob and Clipper?