Do We Really Need Scary Animals? Really?

This point came up about a year ago when Laura Reynolds and I started down the path that is leading us to our first book together; something that we hope will be repeated in many projects. She had asked me if I planned to have any evil or scary dragons in my books.  I had to think about it for a while . . . almost a full two seconds.

Every scary dragon or monster I have ever read or seen, I have hated. More often than not, I have asked myself, was it really necessary? Especially dragons; which is a poor beast that we have a fixation with as a society to paint them as evil, bad, or a best ugly, and have been doing so for the last many centuries.

Much to my horror and revulsion as a Masonic Brother, I have learned that supposedly both of the holy Saints John, are depicted as killers of the dragon. Makes me want to rend my chest and offer it to the closest passing dragon to dine on. Some pictures have the “Saintly” (?) Knights slaying something only slightly more than a large worm; yeah, that’s “manly”; other images it’s a Snake dragon such as in a Chinese New Year’s parade, and others as a true European “Right” Dragon.

Then there is the Japanese thing. Let’s get real here, Godzilla, really?  Sure, he looks kind of like a T-Rex, but isn’t he just a shabbily disguised dragon without wings. And then we have to make a fantasy animal of some giant hairy thing or a Sphinx Moth that sipped at the atomic radiation bar just a little too many times. Attention the Pacific Rim… If you can’t be nice, please just pick on yourselves instead. Leave the animal kingdoms out of it; please.

So as we were going along, merrily filling page after page with prose, purpose and pictures, an idea struck to come up with a nice little book of picture and a simple little story for the small children to enjoy in the fun and festival of wonderful dragons. So we kind of whomped together some 50 pages with a mmmm. . . . OK, not so great story line, but great pictures and sent it out to get some reactions.

That is why I know the story line sucked.  Think of a very large set of eyes, rolling……. Yeah; that bad.

But! And you knew there was one; Mateo Caso told his Grandma Mimi that he really loved the story (even though nothing really happened in it….) because all of the dragons were nice and there were no scary animals.

I’m with you on that Teo; GUB is on you with that all the way.



About Baer Charlton, FrameWrite

As a multi-media artist, focused on wood and the written word, almost anything can be inspiration. How a dragon acts and thinks can come from a little "chest time with dad" as my Abyssinian cat sits purring on my chest at bed time. The flow of a detail on a picture frame may come from a broken branch in my back yard or the way a twist or turn feels on a mountain road. Stories, and characters; well, if you can't gather them from that which is going on around you . . . you must be dead. (Which, I must admit, the obituaries have become a fascinating place to go find names.)
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