Each time I consider the Grumphook and Gertrude storyline “How to Train Your Dragon” floats up. I don’t mind my brain making the obvious comparisons and I don’t mind the likelihood readers would call that movie to mind as well, but I’d rather it not be the very first thing either of us thought. The alliterative title doesn’t help much.
For the opener I’m tempted to start at the point the king and soldiers are departing Kindlewind village. Some tense but polite words between the King and Gertrude regarding the state of the village stores. I’d follow that with an exchange between Gertrude and some second to expand on the depleted, but potentially workable situation. The King will of course promise to return with the prizes of battle…and in time for winter.
I’m tempted to do that instead of the alternative: starting sooner to show the ‘invasion’ of soldiers and the king’s lack of concern. Then I can contrast that with the dragons’ siege. This pleases me from an artistic sensibility but bothers me as too uptight for a dragon story. Additionally, there’s that well-known writing saw about starting as late in a scene as possible, so I’m back to the first option.
Maybe I get better artistic compare/contrast food looking at the similarities between Gertrude as a mother and Grumphook as a near mother. And…the best way to do that and the miraculously simple way to give the dragons a continued reason to stay in Kindlewind is to put Grumphook’s egg in the middle of it all. The egg gets stolen by the village and gets found by the dragons before the villagers can crack the egg. It shouldn’t be hard to concoct a situation in which the dragon decide to leave the egg be…probably just a matter of keeping it warm.
Now I just have to come up with a plausible way for the villagers to heist the the egg in the first place. Foolish boys sounds like the easiest bet. Using incautious teens saves me from too much rationalization on the part of the village to acquire the egg. Not that I don’t need some, but I think the king’s men depleting the resources of Kindlewind probably gets me 80% of the way there and the boys another 15% I just need a third small impetus to put me over the top for excuses.
What good is separating these same boys from the village? It splits the story in two or worse leaves me a convenient and lame out for resolving the siege in the endgame with a somewhat camouflaged deus ex machina unless I tell the boys’ story as well. However, doing that would rob Gertrude of her sole hero status and I’m inclined not to do that. What I do like about sending the boys off—letting them escape—is the struggle it introduces between Gertrude who plans to resolve the situation locally and other elements of the village incline to await the various external saviours.
Maybe I could just bring the boys back with the ancient book on dragon lore. Make them seemingly the heroes. In here I’m also thinking that the book not be bullshit as I’d previously indicated but that the ‘rules’ for engaging a dragon into a formal duel have already be satisfied with Gertrude’s prior encounter following the escape of the boys—that one of the rules is a double jeopardy sort of thing that allows Grumphook an out when Gertrude comes to make her informed proposal.
I sure have a knack for writing similar length paragraphs. That bothers me more than a little bit.
602 words on day 655