How Do You Make a Dragon Real?

Welcome to our regular column from author and guest columnist, Bobbye Terry. In this column, she shares about how to help your reader suspend disbelief and make the reader feel like she is really there.


When you read a fantasy, are you able to suspend belief and make the reader feel like she’s really there? Every fantasy writer hopes so, but how does one achieve that goal? Okay, I’m no expert but I do write fantasy. These would be my tips:

1. Be consistent.
Everything about your world has to follow a predictable course, even if it does so in a circuitous fashion. Your world, whether it is simple or complex, has to be true to its structure throughout the novel. With a fantasy, the world is most likely complex.

2. Do your research.
Even if you are making things up, don’t go too far off the beaten path. You can lose your audience. Mix in some traditions or activities with which your reader can identify, When you first feed in such details, make sure the items and events are true to what would be expected by the reader.

3. Give your fantastical creatures personalities.
No one likes a boring dragon. Cinder, my dragon in the Book of the Beginning series, has a scorching case of dragon breath. She is just now gaining control of her outbursts after fifty years. Cinder is a very pleasant dragon of only two-hundred-fifty pounds, a miniature breed with a willingness to please.

4. Infuse the scenery with smells, sounds and description that makes it tangible.
In Honey Blood and the Collector, the reader knows that when a vampire is annihilated the old-fashioned way, by quickly severing his head, there is a significant explosion, followed by earthquake-like rolling and the smell of clean ozone. These are the kinds of multi-sensory details that make a book come alive.

5. Make at least one item, person or event unforgettable and relatable.
Again, Honey Blood and the Collector has many unforgettable characters, from Cinder who has a tendency to sit on your foot, to Angie, queen of the Ieies; the hero’s mother, who believes her chance at destiny and true love have passed her by, and Parfait, the half-vamp, half-Ieie who will later be destined to triumph over the evil wizard, Gardartha.

What you make of your fantasy is up to you, but make it believable, loveable and unforgettable.

Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction. Her latest solo work is This Magic Moment, a contemporary romantic fantasy. She also has an angel fantasy just out, Walk Right In, with the sequel Walk Right Back out any day now. Honey Blood and the Collector will debut in February 2012. All of those books are written as Daryn Cross; she also has new mysteries in e-book and print. For more about Bobbye, visit her at and

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