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Friday, April 8, 2011

Invisible Dragon Scales and Ideas

I just read today a blog entry about how an author feels about trite wording. (Sorry, I don't recall the blog or I'd point you to it.)  Her point was everyone says to avoid trite phrases like the plague, and while it is good to not overdo it, sometimes a trite phrase simply works best. And the concept of trite is so subjective, as it depends on what a particular person has read as to whether something is trite.

And because I've not read widely, I'll sometimes stumble across things other people have decided are trite, especially in the area of overused plots. One time I wrote a flash fiction of a character switching places with a fly, and describing things from his perspective as a fly. I sent it into Everyday Fiction. Later, I received an acceptance, which I was much grateful for. But in their comments which they so graciously offered to send as well, there was a statement that though they get a lot of these fly perspective stories, mine had some unique qualities about it.

While glad it was interesting enough for them to take, I did do a double-take on the other comment. They get a lot of fly perspective stories? Really? I would have never guessed. I mean, I know there's nothing new under the sun, and I wouldn't be surprised to discover that others have done one, but so many they considered the plot overused? I had trouble getting my head around the fact that so many authors were out there writing fly perspective stories.

So, here I was one National Novel Writing Month in November, taking off on a story I had previous started but only wrote four chapters of. The premise was that the main character and his friend were on a quest to find an invisible dragon scale. When I first wrote those four chapters, I had no idea where it was going. I had finished my main novel for NaNo and was writing this to get in some more word count. So I didn't plan it out at all, just figured out two characters and what they wanted to find and off they went. It wasn't until I returned at a later NaNo before I figured out where the story was going to go.

And where was that, you may ask? turned into a...dragon story. I'm not talking just about one dragon, or some such thing, but about a whole dragon culture and dragon guardians who helped care for them as they hid from the world. And lots of dragons, though obviously I focus on a small subset.  And now I'm writing a full five-book series on them. And I ask myself, how did I end up writing about such a "trite" fantasy trope? Dragons have been done every which way. And I was going to add something original to the mix, something that people would go, "Ohhhh, cool"?

Whether I have or not has yet to be determined. But then I recall everyone had said Earagon was a very trite filled dragon story, and yet it became a bestseller. And you know, while there are some things that are trite, sometimes they are trite for the specific reason that they work so well that they are used over and over again. They may ebb and flow, but they always rise at some point to surprise everyone with how fresh trite can be. So like the good vs. evil of Star Wars, or yet another story with elves, sometimes trite simply works, and that's why it is trite.

So, I'll be offering one more dragon series to the glut of dragon stories already out there. And why it is true dragons are overused, at least I think I can say that no one's done dragons the way I have. :D Not exactly like I have, at least.

What trite elements do you find yourself drawn to?

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