Short Story Battle #28 – Here There Be Dragons


Welcome, lovers of short stories, to this week’s battle.

The Writer’s Arena is a big fan of monsters, beasts, aliens, and things that go bump in the night. And for our authors this week we summoned forth the single most classic beast possible: the dragon.

It almost seems silly to list tales where dragons occur as they’re so prolific. A dragon guarded the Golden Fleece, Beowulf fought one in old age, and they appear everywhere from ancient China to the world of Harry Potter. Their forms grace the pages of religious texts and their role in storytelling has varied from antagonist, to foil, to hero, to symbols of just about anything you can think of.

And the arena wants in on this action.

The challenge? The arena tasked our authors to create a story with a dragon. There were no constraints to time or place or genre, they just had to make with the mythical flying lizard.

Representing the arena this week is Tony Southcotte.

Challenging him…let’s all give her a warm welcome to her second battle, is Lu Whitley:

LuThe name’s Lu Whitley, aka ‘me’ for the remainder of this exercise because writing about yourself in the third person is creepy. So, yeah, me.

I live in Springfield, IL with my husband and our two cat babies. I’m a professional aunt, a part-time fashion merchandiser, and a full-time slave to the voices in my head.

I write a serial novel on my blog: BloodMarked.Wordpress.Com (Insert shameless plug here), and I dabble in the magical art of terrible poetry.

I enjoy snail mail and anything covered in chocolate. And incomplete sentences. Shiny things make me happy. Books are my life. I write lame bios.

The battle of the dragons starts tomorrow.

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  1. Speaking of dragons, has anybody seen the novelization of “The Hobbit” movies? I can’t believe they tried to pack all three movies into one book. This Tolkien guy must be a real amateur.

    • Troll level: Master.

      • Phone conference at work… I got bored.

        • I think Peter Jackson is trying something mad. I think he’s actually trying to film entire novels. If you think about the extended Lord of the Rings, and about splitting The Hobbit into a trilogy, you’ll see how much sense it makes.

          When I was younger I used to get endlessly frustrated that adaptations were never faithful to the original. Later in life, I learned that you have to cut bits to make them fit the medium, and that we generally regard film and TV as the lesser mediums when compared with books. Because the book is always longer, or deeper, and better, than the film.

          Unless your name is Peter Jackson and you decide to get as much of the book on screen as humanly possible. While you’re at it, you might as well chuck in some new stuff, because you’re the boss. Why not?

          There’s no way you can read The Hobbit in 90 minutes, so why settle for one film that’s over in that time? Why not have three movies and nine hours of screen time?

          • Because The Hobbit is a simpler tale, almost silly at times, with a whimsical quality that can be digested in one sitting. I’m not even sure that Mordor is mentioned in The Hobbit. It is Bilbo’s tale with some other stuff hinted at but no depth needed. I finished my first reading of The Hobbit at lightning speed. It isn’t meant to be a meal of multiple courses. The prose and tone are light, not intended to bear the weight of larger stories.

            LOTR on the other hand, is an epic. It deserves room to stretch it’s wings and breathe. And, for me, one of the more powerful aspects of moving from The Hobbit to LOTR was seeing just how safe things had been in the previous tale. In LOTR The Shire itself is visited by dark riders, and the feelings that provokes are more ominous, less safe, darker, and a sure sign that we are in the larger world now. And the difference between heading north verse heading south? *shivers*

            LORT is the story of the one ring with many other characters getting their full stories told as well. It is a history of Middle Earth told through one journey.

            The Hobbit has singing dwarfs.

  2. I disagree.

    The Hobbit is meant to be read aloud. It’s a tale to tell your children by reading to them at bedtime, and that means it naturally gets broken into parts. Each chapter deals with something new, so it’s an episodic road trip book.

    The Hobbit has singing Dwarfs because that’s what people do. We used to do it to make the work day go a little more easily, to keep a rhythm for a task that needed it, or to celebrate something. Before technology boxed us away from one another, we sang and told stories and we went dancing as entertainment, to pass information and to meet one another. So of course it has singing Dwarfs. Why wouldn’t they sing?

    • Has anyone else read Tolkien’s Father Christmas letters? When Tolkien’s children were younger, he would write them a letter each year in the person of Father Christmas, detailing what had happened at the North Pole in the previous year, including the misadventures of one more helpful than skilled Polar Bear.

      The Hobbit, as David suggests, has much the same feel. To use modern bookseller categories, one might say The Hobbit is children’s literature, The Lord of the Rings is YA, and The Silmarillion is Tolkien for Adults.

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