Today my guest blogger is fellow East Texas author, Don Martinez.
Thanks Don for taking the time to give us a little insight on Ariel.
So the question is presented to me, what inspires my dragon creation? There’s a lot of elements which went into her, but I think a lot of her genesis comes from people around me, my own experiences, and a deep-seated urge to screw with everything you “normally” associate with dragons.
Allow me to back up a bit. My dragon is now the star of her own book, Dinétah Dragon, which details her entire life story. Unusual for a dragon to have a memoir, I know, but the key to my dragon is that she hasn’t always been a dragon. Or a fantasy character.
All right, backing up one more. Let me introduce you to Ariel Vibria, my dragon.
Ariel is a dragon with a bit of an unusual element, in that she’s a woman who grows into a dragon. She came originally as a character I created as a teenager, when I was into superhero comics and thought up a character that would grow into a dragon as her power, kind of like the Hulk. To make this character deeper, I created my dragon as female, in particular a teenage girl. (Imagine the kind of social issues that kind of power would cause a girl in high school!)
Fast-forward a few years. It’s September 12, 2001. Inspired by the news coverage of the infamous terror attacks, I got inspired to write a screenplay, which would involve fantasy characters in the CIA. My dragon character came back, demanding that she be included in the story: I obliged her, mainly because she would create an interesting dynamic with another character, a paladin knight.
I made them lovers. There’s a twist.
Eventually, she evolved into how she exists today in Dinétah Dragon. She’s depressive, she’s been through hell and heaven (sometimes all at once), she’s tragic and inspirational all at once. And, not least of her qualities, she’s a helluva lot of fun to write.
One of my initial rules on any kind of fantasy character is that any kind of power they hold must come with a heavy price: otherwise, everybody would want to have the powers. In Ariel’s case, it turns her into what she deems a freak, leaving her with green scaly flesh, fins, and one red eye all the time. When she’s agitated, or in danger, she grows into a full-size dragon and becomes a real tough customer.
Another rule I have is that they must have a realistic personality. Ariel is no different: she’s shy, she’s withdrawn, she’s been emotionally isolated her whole life. Her mental condition is kind of fragile, so much so that she’s been suicidal at times. She’s also capable of a lot of love, and gains the opportunity to show that love.
Another rule I have for my fantasy characters is that they need to be plausible. I know, that sounds pretty odd when you’re talking dragons, but it’s a hard-and-fast rule I insist on. Ariel’s dragon veers a bit into biology, because I wanted her to have a first-hand experience in how dragon biology works … an explanation for where her wings go when she flies (sucked into her back), where the fire she breathes comes from (not necessarily breathed as much as vomited), and so on. There also had to be some way for her to become a dragon, for her to actually have the dragon merge with her, and while I never really came up with a scientific explanation I think it works: keeps a little bit of wonder in my fantasy if some things go unexplained, after all.
There are times when Ariel is my wife, strong and independent. There are times when Ariel is a teenage me, insecure and shy. There are times when Ariel is a complete speculation. These qualities wind up combining into the complex character Ariel is. She’s a lot more than your traditional dragons; more than a beast and more than a woman.
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Stop by Wednesday, we will be taking a look at another type of vampire.