Writing with dragons


A couple of months ago, I was struggling with a scene in my historical novel. There were too many things to keep track of. I had five characters, three horses, two dogs, a wolf, two houses, a river and a bridge. It was a chase scene that was going flying in all directions because I couldn’t see in my mind’s eye what could happen or even what was most likely to happen. I couldn’t see what was impossible given the placement of the bridge and the movement of the events. I needed concrete help.

So I went into the labyrinth that is my son’s room. I grabbed up plastic figures that could stand in for my characters, animals and setting. I put the Lego men and the flying dragons to work.

Yes, this is part of my job.

Yes, this is part of my job.

I roughed up the terrain on my bed (held down at two corners by cats) and moved the plastic figures as I played out what I thought might happen in the scene.

Suddenly things fell into place. One character had to leave at a certain time, another character had to find their way around the river….Possibilities that hadn’t occurred to me were suddenly, obviously the answer to what-will-happen-next. I was saved by the concrete. And the plastic.

You can read the longer writing tip about engaging in the physical world by visiting the Literary Rambles blog that I did a guest post on: http://www.literaryrambles.com/2013/04/tip-tuesday-130.html



About Judith L. Roth

When I was about ten, it occurred to me that books are written by people and I was a person. I could create my favorite things–I could write books! I got a B.A. in English. My first poem was accepted for publication before I graduated. I had some success with poetry, but my real dream was to write fiction for children. My first fiction piece was accepted about 25 years after the first submission. Things you might want to know about me: I know how to persevere. I’m a third-generation California native, living in Indiana. I have two remarkable sons who are now young men,and a husband who’s supported my writing for over three decades. I love cats and currently have three of them. I love being near water–oceans, lakes, rivers all work for me. Chocolate is probably my biggest downfall. I’m exceptionally curious. (Or nosy, as my family calls it.)

4 responses »

  1. Great idea! Making something concrete always helps. I act out my scenes, which helps. I love dragons! Do you watch Once Upon A Time on Sunday evenings? My kids and I love that show! We loved the episode w/ the dragon!

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