(It feels good to be talking for once about ACTUAL writing, rather than politics and depressing stuff like that. Although this is still sort of politics because… well, you’ll see.)
So last week on The Last Leg, Sue Perkins summed up Game of Thrones for Josh Widdecombe as “Dragons, dragons, fairies, boobs.”
I immediately decided that should be the title of a kinky, queer, hot, inclusive fantasy novel and thought , who better to write it than me? Probably lots of people, to be honest, but if I let that stop me I would never do or create anything so the idea has been stumbling round my brain gathering concepts and themes and ideas from various corners until finally characters and direction have started to coalesce into something that I want to write. Something that is just me writing stuff that I find hot and fun and people I want to see being brave and bold and doing hot and fun things in between.
I don’t want to give the whole thing away too soon, but I do kind of want to squee about the characters who have sprung naturally into the worldbuilding and who make me so excited to write this.
The first thing I looked at was, “Why would there be two ‘dragons’ in the title?” and that was my route into the central worldbuilding concept around which I could start to build a lead character. And I thought, “What if there’s a type of people who are called dragons, or related to dragons somehow, by analogy more than by magic/type?” I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim recently so obviously I want to steer clear of anything too similar to a “Dragonborn” character, but maybe I could do something else with that? Another thing I wanted to do was to challenge heteronormativity in my fantasy world and because I am NB myself, I wanted to find a way to make trans and nonbinary genders normal in my world. So maybe dragons are nonbinary, and there are people in this world who have or acquire nonbinary characteristics, so that people liken them to dragons? Maybe the term is not always meant well and can be derogatory? The term I came up with was “Child of dragons” or “Dragonkind” to rhyme with wind, not mind (i.e. German “Kind” meaning child) – and Dragon from that is more derogatory. But in general the concept of being a dragonkind is totally normal and broadly accepted, with some caveats. (For example, my lead character hides hir dragonkind-ness to better cater to most sexual partners’ tastes.)
Because of how much I love and absorb the writings of Jemima of Sometimes It’s Just A Cigar on things like sexworkers’ rights and so on, I also wanted to write a world in which sex work is treated as normal and a positive career choice, equal to any other. Something (I forget what) that she tweeted tonight made me think again of sexworkers as protagonists and I thought, “Why not make my lead character be a nonbinary sexworker who goes off on a more-or-less traditional fantasy quest adventure and the sex work is just kind of a part of the background of how the adventuring team go along? I was planning to have plenty of fucking between the party’s members anyway!” There can be sexual relationships aplenty without going down any of the “saved from whoredom by love” routes.
So then I started thinking about other characters. Some of them have to have boobs, because that’s in the title. There’s also the ambiguity of “fairies” and, well, I already knew I was going to have gay sex in it (gay, bi, whatever – lots of varied sex, basically) so the play on words was a bit too much. So there will be fairies as in supernatural magical beings and whether or not “fairies” also refers to the derogatory term for gay men is up to the reader to decide.
All of this is all very well, but of course I stumbled when I realised that by making my NB characters “dragonkind”, was I implying a “born this way” narrative? What space in this world for trans people or people who are born with more binary-tending physical traits but who feel themselves to be more dragon-like? Well, I decided I would have to put those people into my world and see what happens. In my opening passages so far, I have tried to show that dragonkind-ness is something of the spirit, not really physical (maybe some form of magical process helps blur gendered bodies?) but that still leaves transness as a question and I figure the best way is just to plonk someone trans into the story and let the world react to them as “normal” – with the existence of dragonkinds (Dragonkinder? Hmm, I need to work out what I want the plural to be!) then I imagined the scene where my protagonist meets a trans person (who’s probably going to join the quest) and asks if they’re also dragonkind, like hir. I imagine that some trans people would get that a lot in that world and it probably doesn’t go down well, at least when cis folk do it.
All of which gives me a party of at least the following:
- a nonbinary sexworker
- a trans person (whether trans man or trans woman not yet decided)
- a man who has sex with men (bi, gay, or IDs as straight but does it anyway – yet to decide) and is probably pretty “camp” but still a badass warrior and accepted as such
I probably will have a couple more characters in the team, probably cis male and cis female, if only to give plenty of pairing opportunities for the above. All the characters will be kinky as fuck, into all manner of BDSM, fetish and other non-normative sexual behaviours, of course.
Why? Well, a wise writer who offers advice on such things said, “Write the book you’d want to read” and, while I’m not sure I’d want to read it, I’d damn well want to tell the story and get super turned on by doing so, and above all writing is fun and this story feels fun.
Oh yes, I’ve decided that a key element will be some kind of book, and the quest starts in a library, and probably the cis woman is a librarian who joins the quest. The quest for the book leads them to intervene in a plot that threatens to tear apart the world, or society, or otherwise suitably cataclysmic consequences.
I suck at coming up with Fantasy names and places and such so I’ve decided that I’m going to take British names and cycle vowels, so my lead character is called Enne (Anna). (Maybe hir second name will be a homophone for “B”? Or would that be a bit too clunky and obvious?)
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So, yeah. I’m excited by this new idea. There will come a time when the excitement wears off and the hard graft starts but I love the idea I have, I already feel warmth and affection for Enne and the other character I’ve started writing so far, so when that time comes I will have what it takes to keep going with them and guide them to their outcomes.