Since the first dragon skeleton was discovered in 1908 by Ernest Hathelwhite, in the Khumara Basin in what is now northern Sudan, experts have been split over the flight capabilities of such beasts.
When the skeleton (Dragonus Primus) was shipped back to England, experts at London’s Natural History Museum rebuilt it, discovering many predicted traits – the distinctive rippled spine and chest construction serving combustion – but no evidence for wings except vestigial nubs over its forelegs.
Up until April 2018, several other examples have been unearthed, notably the famous Dragonus Duoignis (two fires), discovered during excavations in the grounds of Crimliegh Castle, Cumbria in 1982. None so far have provided evidence of wings.
So, the announcement yesterday by a joint team from Cambridge, England, and Paris-Sud universities, that they have found a perfectly preserved specimen in a peat bog in Combourg, Northern France, has peaked interest in the scientific community, international media and of course Game of Thrones fans. The most notable revelation is the existence of its perfectly preserved wings. These are composed entirely of musculature, explaining the missing skeletal evidence at previous sites. This as-yet-unnamed creature is quoted by lead archaeologist Bernard Vitton as being approximately twelve metres in length, with an estimated wing span of thirty metres.
As this specimen is not thought to have been ceremoniously buried or to have died on its ‘nest’, local authorities are keen to point out that treasure is unlikely to be found at the site.
I am currently getting feedback from my brilliant Beta readers on Bindcrafter, and the question as to whether certain sections are too slow has cropped up. But what do we mean by too slow?
Assuming you haven’t added extraneous characters or plotlines which are frustrating to readers, most likely they mean it’s dragging. They don’t often mean slow in the normal sense, let’s get it out there – they mean boring.
So how do you make things less boring? Explosions, fights, murder, deaths?
Adding action won’t make your story seem any more interesting to readers, if they’re not invested in it.
So, what’s missing?
DEF: an exciting, emotional, or unexpected event or circumstance
Exciting can be anything from getting a new puppy to opening exam results. Emotions manifest in interaction between characters and good point of view. Unexpected events can be anything from getting a fly in your soup to finding out your house is about to be demolished by your local council.
You can add a fight scene for drama, as long as it’s exciting – but you need to leverage drama to make it exciting. Getting punched in the face isn’t in itself very interesting. Imagine if you went to see some Shakespeare and the actors spent half the play hitting each other? And we’re all hoping for longer fights in the next Transformers movie, aren’t we? The point is, action in itself isn’t interesting if it’s not dramatic.
Cheap cliché alert: Make that punch an emotional one 😉
The best drama comes through interactions between characters, and change in your protagonist’s feelings. Takeaway: Look for the emotional impact your characters are having on your readers, before adding another explosion.
What have I learnt on this globe of rock and water floating through the Cosmos?
Not much about physics, obviously, but that aside, enjoy my wisdom, fellow humans, while you scoff at my high opinion of my opinions.
About the world
There are more good people than bad,
avoid trouble, don’t be sad.
The world is a wondrous place,
if a dark, and disturbing race,
so always keep a smiling face.
Apart from one person,
there’s always someone worse than you, so,
have fun, when you can, before you fall,
in your imagination, the best playground of all.
Help! I’m drowning, I’m suffocating under a slush pile of entertainment.
If this is the future once the robots take over, bring back the 7-day-working-week and 4 channels on the tele. Get the robots to watch all the damn TV series, listen to all the podcasts, read all the books, and then see if they have time to get to the cinema – which they won’t enjoy anyway once they see the price of a family pack of iron filings and a gallon of diet oil.
Here’s just a taster of some of the awesome things I haven’t finished recently (never mind not got round to):
- Orphan Black (watched all five seasons, got as far as ep 4 season five)
- Arrow (mid-season-two)
- Stormlight Archive (Way of Kings is great, the other installments broke my shelves)
- Lies of Locke Lamora (got a third way in, cool book, deserves more attention)
- Agents of Shield (TV crack which I replaced with something else)
- Wheel of Time (didn’t get past the prologue, if I manage to make another me, an ‘Ebony’ if you will, maybe he’ll do it)
- The Shannara Chronicles TV version (did anyone get past ep 2?)
- The Revenant (got to the horrible forest bit and thought ‘this is a bit heavy going’)
- Most of the Netflix Marvel spinoffs (Jessica Jones and Daredevil the exception)
Ironically, I sat through the whole of Get Hard …
Maybe the problem’s me. Oh well, at least I got to the end of this post.
OK, not strictly SFF related, but we’ll call it a related look at narrative structure and move on, shall we …
In descending order of brilliance:
- Kiefer Sutherland (who by the way has a lot of names – Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland)
- The cheesy dialogue
- The plot – you don’t need to pay any attention whatsoever
- The constant walking along corridors imparting info dumps
- It’s the closest thing to 24, without being 24
Join me next time when I will be sharing the benefits of cheese, standing on one leg, and keeping your ginger nuts out of the biscuit tin.