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Thursday, December 20, 2012

ADDING IMAGINARY CREATURES by Nancy Lee Badger

My Son joined the Army & came home with this!

Ever since I first heard the story about a magic dragon named Puff, dragons have interested me.
 
The more I read, the more the stories of European dragons, Asian dragons, and oddities that could be dragons (think Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster) gave me ideas of my own. 

When I sat down to write a book about a Scottish villager cursed due to a misunderstanding (yes, that’s all the plot I had at the time) several books on my bookshelf included shape-shifters. Wolves and cheetahs, if I recall. I really had no interest in shape-shifter world building. I liked witches, so I made my hero change into a dragon due to a witch's curse.

Research on the supposed habitat of dragons led me to choose an island known for its caves. What is more creepy than a damp, dark cave? Years later, further research brought a myth to my attention. Scottish folklore is full of dragon-like creatures. Who knew? Many stories consider the legendary Loch Ness Monster a wingless, underwater dragon. I grew up thinking of ‘Nessie’ as a dinosaur, so why not a dragon? 

What if you wanted to use a creature in your book? Let’s be truthful, here. Sometimes a character demands to come to life on the pages of your manuscript, but you don’t know what to do with it. Research is the key. There are dozens of sites on the internet eager to share myths, sightings, historical paintings, and more. You can quickly get a ‘feel’ for your unearthly character. All you need do is look. Much of the research I discovered is divided by regions, countries, empires, and race. I have included a few I have found as especially helpful at the end of this article. 

When dealing with mythological creatures instead of actual wildlife, the writer has a certain freedom over the other writer. Cheetahs and wolves, for example, look, sound, and act a certain way because they are real. Dragons have certain traits such as scales, talons, wings, fangs, spiked tails, etc. However, as a writer I can make it wingless, or purple. I can make it speak, fall in love, or shape-shift. The freedom to twist and turn the creature to enhance my story is what I love about dragons! 

As promised, here are a few internet sites you can use to research myths and folklore with a Celtic flavor:
 
I also own the following books that have proved helpful in giving me ideas:
DRAGONS, a Beautifully Illustrated Quest by Jonathan Evans
Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia by George way
The Secret Lives of Elves & Faeries, by John Matthews
The Celtic Dragon Myth by J. F. Campbell 

Because I am a member of the Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance writers as well as the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, I can partake of on-line workshops that have helped me use Scottish folklore and historical facts in order to weave my stories. If you feel the urge to add a dragon, wolf, cobra, or even a unicorn, the information is out there. Go for it! 

More About the Author
Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of dirks and broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games and she is a proud Army Mom.
Her latest release is My Banished Highlander, the second book in her Highland Games Through Time series and is available in digital and print.
Book Blurb
When his clan convicts Cameron Robeson of treason in 1598 Scotland, the last thing he thought his cousin the Laird would do was banish him to the future. With a certain woman on his mind, he plans revenge while surrounded by the sights and sounds of the modern day New England Highland Games. His plans go awry when a comely redheaded lass wearing the Mackenzie plaid lands at his feet. 
Iona Mackenzie is worried about her friend, Haven, and searches for answers among the tents at the games. Whom can she trust to help? Her father? The handsome blacksmith? Or, the tall, golden-haired Highlander? Romance takes a back seat because saving her friend is her priority, no matter how great Cameron can kiss.
When a magical amulet and an angry sorcerer send this unlikely couple back through time, more than one heart will be broken. Danger, intrigue, and threats surround them, and feelings between Iona and Cameron grow hot and steamy. They fight the sorcerer and search for Iona’s friend, the woman he vowed to steal from his cousin. Will the strong-willed Highlander and the present day witch stop fighting long enough to listen to their hearts? With a letter in her hand and a Highlander at her back, what could go wrong?
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3 comments:

Viola Russell said...

I love all things Celtic. Mythological figures are fascinating.

Pamela said...

I am glad you are enjoying your dragons. I tend to create my own 'creatures'. Though some are drawn from mythology, others arrive full-sprung from an over-fertile imagination.
They are part of the fascination and joy of world building.

Nancy said...

Thanks! Writers breed fertile imaginations. Go for I!