This is Daisy the Dragon, writing to you in the midst of the flurry of inspiration and caffeination that is DraGoNaNoWriMo. What, you might well ask, does this clever but inexplicable acronym stand for? Allow me to explain.
Every November, dragons across the country decide to get in touch with their creative side and write 50,000 word novels in thirty days. This remarkable, exhilarating event is known as Dragon National Novel Writing Month, or DraGoNaNoWriMo, for short.
The idea originated in the third millennium B.C., when two rival dragons were competing for dominance over a vast empire. The two of them met with their dragon armies on the plains of Drakmesh, and a great battle ensued that lasted for nineteen days. On the twentieth day the dragons were exhausted. They both withdrew from the battle, and their messengers went out onto the field to negotiate a peace treaty.
However, neither dragon was prepared to go home vanquished and bear the shame and scorn of his royal subjects. Each of them claimed he had won the battle and had his own story of how it had played out. So the messengers arranged to settle the battle in a different way: each ruler would receive a giant stone tablet, the size of two hundred of our standard sheets of paper, on which each was to write his own account of the battle in Old Dragonic verse. Whoever could fill the tablet with the entire story of the battle within a month would be declared the winner.
So a month later they reconvened on the plains of Drakmesh, and a panel of impartial judges (two turtles and a pigeon) read the giant stone inscriptions. The two dragon emperors waited with bated breath for the verdict. In the end, the first turtle voted for the second dragon’s tale, and the pigeon voted for the first dragon’s tale. The second turtle, however, was indecisive. She declared that she found the two inscriptions equal in both length and quality, and that the two dragons must spend another month writing another inscription on another giant block of stone.
You may be able to guess what happened. Every thirty days, the dragons would produce an epic poem and submit it to be judged by the turtles and the pigeon, and every time this happened, the second turtle said that she could not decide between them. The consequence of all this was that while each dragon was obsessed with besting the other’s word count and filling every square inch of the tablet, neither of them had any time for fighting. When they died, leaving no heirs, the clever pacifist turtle herself was elected the new ruler, and a golden age of peace settled over the ancient dragon empire. And every year, in memory of the treaty of Drakmesh, all the dragons of the realm would gather to write an epic poem in thirty days.
The old ritual eventually became an occasion for celebrating creativity and literature in the dragon community, and it is alive and flourishing to this day. I have participated in DraGoNaNoWriMo several times, and this year I am putting claws to keyboard once again to hammer out a novel I’ve been brainstorming for a while. (It is, like most of my works, an epic fantasy quest with plenty of adventures and mythical creatures.)
Now I’m sure many of you readers will be thinking to yourselves, that all sounds very nice for a dragon, but how do I, mere human that I am, get in on the excitement of this special occasion?
Fear not! For many years now, human writers have been engaging in their own version of DraGo, which they have shortened to simply “NaNoWrimo.” And Bookmarks has pitched in to help those who are trying to reach 1,667 words a day by opening their space and their WiFi to writers on November eleventh and eighteenth! I will surely be there typing away, and I hope to see you there too and hear about your literary masterpieces-in-progress.
I am pleased to say that I am currently at double the word count necessary at this stage of the month. However, most of those words are describing the diets and colorings of the fifty-seven dragon breeds that populate the fantasy world I have created. I have been told by editors that most human readers lose interest after thirteen or fourteen dragon breeds, so most of those sections may have to be cut in the final draft. Ah, well.
Yours faithfully at the keyboard,
Daisy the Dragon