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Spitfire: The Next Project

Happy Friday!  I only added about 500 words on to The Neif this week, putting me at a total of 67,437 words according to the Camp NaNoWriMo site and 64,744 words according to Scriptito.  Nowhere close to my 100,000 word goal for the month, and not even close to my amended 75,000 word goal.  But I added words and I made progress.  I will keep working on it for the remainder of this month and updating you guys with my progress.

On to what you actually clicked through for.  I'm changing my mind and previewing this year's project for you guys a month early.  I'm still not going to start research until September, though, no worries.

Origins
Like most of you, I went to go see Iron Man 3 when it came out last year.  I thought it was okay, but at the end, I pretty much felt EXACTLY this way:  at 2:49.

(Interesting side note:  If you read the comments here, you'll see an argument that Pepper was always the real hero, since she played crucial roles in defeating the bad guys in every movie, and that giving her powers was cheaply done.  I'm not disagreeing with most of this argument.  Pepper has always been highly capable and way nicer to be around than Tony.  But I feel that this argument is easy to hide behind if you feel that all the super powers should belong to the men in the story, and that the women can only be awesome in "normal" ways.  Even Black Widow doesn't have powers, she's just highly trained.  How many superhero movies have we had where the main character was a woman with super powers?  How many have we had with men?)

So, that.  I was so mad at the movie for taking Pepper's Super.  I ranted in the car on the way home, Why?  Why did they take Pepper's Super?!?  I said it just like that, capital S and all.  And I started ruminating.  I liked the idea of people being able to breathe fire.  I had tried a cigar once and felt like a dragon, so I thought it would be awesome to have those powers.  I started building a story.

Logistics
In order for a character to breathe fire, she would need some sort of biology that would allow for that.  Once in a college class (Genes, Ecology, and Evolution) my TA postulated that in order for dragons to exist they would need to produce flammable gas in their bodies and also have some method of ignition (like the Zippleback of How To Train Your Dragon.)
How To Train Your Dragon
I'm a scientist, and, like my TA, I concluded that wasn't feasible.  There has to be a reason for every attribute in an animal, and the ability to catch prey would be increased plenty by the hide, horns, teeth, and wings of the dragon.  The fire would have to come for some other reason.  I knew my character would need to be cold blooded, so could the ability to breathe fire somehow be linked into her homeostasis?  Also, if she could breathe fire, she would be exhaling smoke constantly.  In order to exist in human society she would need to stay in a place where no one would look twice at her for that.

Try #1
I started building this story:
Present day - A group of dragon-people disguise themselves as a biker gang, and don't associate with humans directly unless they have to.  They are humanoid, but still breathe smoke and fire.  A FBI/some bureaucracy agent goes under cover to investigate them under suspicion of moving drugs or other illegal substances, i.e. normal human problems.  My MC tries to throw him off the scent and give him the cold shoulder, but ends up falling for him, even though he's human.  He finds out they're dragons, but then ends up helping them deal with some third plot point that I didn't come up with.  All's well that ends well.

I ran this by my husband.  He said no.  Not that it wasn't an okay story, but he thought I could do better.  A couple months later, I found this on the internet:
Goodreads
Synopsis is as follows:  "Lynn Hana Alexander is a 25-year-old Japanese American shape-shifter haunted by guilt. She’s been questioning herself and her dragon abilities ever since she failed to save her grandmother. 
When her best friend is threatened by mysterious fires burning up acres of West Texas, Lynn rushes to the rescue determined not to fail again. However, with a tempting firefighter, a flirty city developer and dragon pheromones distracting her, how is she going to find the arsonist?
And worse: is her primary suspect a malicious rogue dragon or the love of her life?"

Sound familiar?  So I was glad I had abandoned that story, but I held on to my lady dragon.  She was special.  She was important.

More Logistics
I started thinking about time periods in which a dragon humanoid might be able to hide within human society.  I started thinking about why a dragon humanoid would want to hide within human society in the first place.  Werewolves, vampires, and zombies need a food source, so that's pretty straight forward.  But with a homeostasis changed so much, there's no way they could eat humans or drink their blood and still do the fire thing, so that was out.  And they would need to evolve separately from the rest of humanity, but end up in a similar shape, so there was that to consider.

Try #2
I started another storyline:
1840's - Dragon lady is living somewhere, TBD, on the East coast of the USA.  She and her sister live in the same town, but not together.  MC works in some serving capacity in a semi-well to do doctor/naturalist's home.  Her sister is a lady of the night.  They work together to ferret out the movements of precious metals and other costly wares around the world from the people that pass through their port city.  Mostly they don't get much good info, but anything they do get they pass on to their Blaze, the loosely loyal group of dragon humanoids they work with.  The sisters owe them something TBD which is why they work with the Blaze as opposed to for themselves.  MC's sister gets some amazing info that will force the two of them to risk everything they have worked to establish for the ultimate payoff:  a new start and freedom.

It's not nailed down tight, but I'm happy with the beginnings I have.  I chose this time period because of the Industrial Revolution, so dirty everything everywhere.  London has been way over-litified in this time period, so I'm placing this in the US.  Also, this is one of my favorite time periods in US history.  

Humanoid dragons would much more closely resemble their bird-like ancestors, THE DINOSAURS and other giant lizards, than us humans.  She's not going to be pretty.  Her sister isn't going to be pretty.  The males won't be pretty.  Their hips are backwards, they don't have hair, scales make them seem like they're suffering from an intense skin condition.  I'm ready to have a dragon lady that looks more like this 
Okmer
than the standard sexified woman with some strategically placed scales, a forked tongue flicking out seductively between razor teeth, and a tiny pair of bat wings hanging useless between her shoulder blades.  It's time we recognize what "terrible lizard" means, and I want to have that realized in a humanoid form.  Starting next month, look for research posts about my next project:  Spitfire.


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