This is why I and other authors need feedback. What part of the scene did I not describe well? What could I do better on?

“That scene should have had more to it! He revealed himself as a dragon for the first time – open to the other protagonist and the audience…”

But how far should we go as authors in describing every single detail?  One thing that I always had trouble with when going to a movie was seeing the filmmaker’s interpretation of the character I had created in my mind. Sure, I use face-claims as I work on a character, but I also add more to him or her. I know as I read the work of other writers, I use their descriptions of people and then build off of those to make the character complete myself.  I want to do that here. I want my readers to be able to “fill in the blanks” with their own imaginations.

The characters I and my friend have written have connections with other characters, each having their own stories to tell. What I see in a character, may not be what someone else sees. And sometimes that’s fine.  When I described Senias as a dragon, I intentionally wanted to be vague:

Very suddenly, the metal lurched beneath Senias, and then began showing signs of being liquid and not solid at all!  Sen took a deep breath before he was simply swallowed up by the golden material. The next movement was a dark scaled form moving up and out of the golden mire – and in the end, the dragon, every bit as large as a double decker bus was lying there, breathing very heavily on the bed of gold.  His scales were obviously supposed to be dark – maybe black and violet? There were some points of maroon and red at the underbelly.  But they weren’t shiny. The scales were dirty and dull. This was Senias of Morias, after years and years of discontent and self abuse; after centuries of having no one else to help him care about and for himself.  How long had it been, indeed? How long had he lived as a human, ignoring his true self unless it was needed for some dastardly job Crimson or Skinner assigned?  

You get size comparison, you get color, you get that he has scales, but otherwise, I want the audience to draw their own conclusions. Later, as his story is told, and the stories of the other dragons are told, there will be more and more detail added. I don’t want to force it.

But where do I draw the line? What if someone assumes he’s serpentine like a traditional Chinese dragon? Well, he’s of Celtic origin, so I would hope that isn’t the case… I don’t want to make my readers feel I’m dumbing down by over-describing something they can draw their own conclusions about.

As to his lair? As to his feelings when he turned from being a stubborn petulant person into a mentor to Gabriel for use of magic? Yes, I believe that feedback will be answered in the second draft. I need to add more, don’t I? Especially to the description of the emotion of the moment – how these two men take turns being what the other needs? That’s important in their growth continues. But the description of the lair? Again, I may add a bit more to it, but I don’t want to go too far. I’d love the audience to enjoy that place coming to life in their imagination.

And if any of you have suggestions, opinions, or comments, please reply and let me know!


~ Rach