Friday, July 08, 2011

How to train your dragon and world building

One of the movies I've adored in the past few years is How to Train Your Dragon. It wasn't pixar, or disney, so I don't think it came out to huge announcements, but I've since watched it several times and every time I marvel at the imagination that went into this story.

A viking world, in which the vikings fight dragons. And perhaps the dragons aren't all bad. As a concept it's pretty simple, and it could translate into so many genres, Fantasy, YA, even romance.

And as new ideas fight for space in my head and the sense from the conference that anything is possible, I come back to the simplicity and imagination of this movie. There was enough there from popular culture that the writers didn't have to explain the world too much. We all know vikings to some degree and we all know dragons, and from there they expanded on the ideas, by giving us classifications of dragons, and a school for dragon fighting and a hero who is smaller and weaker, but smarter than those around him. Simple and smart, yet imaginative.

And those have become my guidelines for the next WIP. Simple and smart, but imaginative. If I stick to that guideline, I'll have a book I'm excited to write, and really, at this point, that's all I care about.

On an entirely different note, anyone watching Tru Blood? I am really enjoying it, because it feels campy this season. They are the opposite of simple, as seasons move on, they keep introducing new elements, fairys, witches, were-panthers, and sometimes the stories feel a little too crowded. Simple is harder, simple is Mad Men during the last season, where they distilled the storylines and characters to a few concepts. Right now Mad Men trumps Tru Blood.

11 comments:

Maureen McGowan said...

I loved How to Train Your Dragon, too. Awesome movie. I think it was based on a middle grade book. (But it killed my Snow White: Dragon Tamer idea...

I went to that movie with zero expectations... basically my niece and nephew were visiting and it was playing and it was such a delightful surprise.

I just looked it up on Amazon. Looks as if the author based it on a character from a picture book she'd written. And gave the main character author credit and credited herself as the translator form the old norse. Funny. But looks like the screenwriters took her cute idea and really expanded on it.

Simple but imaginative is hard. True Blood is super campy this season. I'm feeling kind of on the fence so far. Enjoying but not with the same ecstatic delight I used to.

Did you watch the FNL finale? I still haven't... If either of you have, Sinead and Molly, I'll try to watch this afternoon before DWT. :)

Steph and Eileen, any chance you can fly to Toronto for some DWT tonight? Drinks at Factory Girl.

Eileen said...

I would so get on a plane if I could! I've been saving my Weight Watchers points all week for booze this weekend.

I haven't seen HTTYD, but have heard that it was great from multiple sources. I don't watch a lot of kids' movies anymore since my kids have aged out of that phase. I think that might be a mistake. There's a lot of great stuff happening in those movies.

Maureen McGowan said...

The better kids movies are great for storytelling structure lessons. As well as just plane fun. HTTYD is a great one.

Eileen... wish you were here...

Maureen McGowan said...

Or even plain fun. ;0

Eileen said...

It would be fun to be together on a plane or on a plain. I'd drink with you in a house and with a mouse. :-)

Sinead M said...

Maureen, I am behind again on FNL, I blame my PVR.

And Eileen, how about in a boat? or with a goat?

Eileen said...

Definitely. Also in a box and with a fox.!

Molly O'Keefe said...

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FINALE?????? lADIES - WHAT IS THE POINT OF DWT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS? IT IS ALL I WANT TO TALK ABOUT!! P -E-R-F-E-C-T!

the simplicity of kid's movies kills me these days - a good reminder. keep it simple stupid and then ramp up the imagination - same could be said for game of thrones - simple story lines - crazy imagination...

honestly, you've got like six hours to watch that finale - get on it!

Eileen said...

Nyah nyah nyah. Sinead and Maureen are in trouble! ;-)

Sinead M said...

I've failed Molly.... but there is no way... work doesn't think it appropriate to play it for me...

bastards!

Maureen McGowan said...

I might be able to squeeze it in... Have an errand to run in north york (I hate TRW today) but if I get back in time, maybe I'll watch and we can talk about it when Sinead goes to pee. :)

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