Saturday, 23 April 2011

23rd April : Dragons and maidens...and St George

Y Ddraig Goch
This dragon is a symbol to fire the heart of anyone with Welsh blood in their veins. Here he is "passant" in heraldic terms, signifying greeting and [maybe] welcome. Of course he welcomes you in. Why not? He can eat you later.
The Welsh dragon is a Celtic symbol of great age and its origins are lost in legend. It is said that Romano-Welsh soldiers used the red dragon on their flag in the Fourth Century. The dragon is also tied into the legend of King Arthur - his father was Uther Pendragon. This dragon is a symbol to unite people [except maybe at Twickenham for the rugby...]

What a contrast with the loathsome monster of general folklore. From all corners of the world, tales represent dragons as evil, heartless beasts, seeking a bed of treasure to sleep on. Here they will slumber for up to a thousand years. But let anyone invade their lair, and they will strike in terrible revenge, killing a village or so and carrying off maidens to devour at their leisure.

In comes St George, cast forever as the fearless slayer of dragons. In this picture, he is in time to save the maiden.  There's a story in here.

Happy St George's Day, everyone and everywhere. Let all your dragons [bar Welsh ones] be slain.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Chapter 9 - the magic chapter

It's happened again, hurrah! When I start writing a new story, I know what my characters look like and roughly how they will act. It's no good planning in too much detail, because they never stick to my original ideas. Chapter 1 is an easy one to write, setting events and relationships in play. Then things move along according to the plan - but oh, how hard it is. These people are as cold as ice, hiding all their secrets and plans. Why won't they interact with more feeling? Why are their actions so quickly told?  Where is the emotion?

I've learned to persevere, coax them all through their scenes and wait for that breakthrough.... And at last it comes. And it's nearly always in Chapter 9 that the veils fall away. They become real people, and reveal the good and bad elements to their character. Suddenly I feel part of their world and they let me join in and follow their ambitions, emotions, phobias, whatever. It's often at this point that they bring in completely new characters that I have to accept because they are obviously essential to the story.

It's definitely the point at which I lose control but as always, this is a wonderful moment.