I forced myself to stay silent as jagged rocks raked across my back, pulling at my skin as I crawled through the crevice in the mountain. Marcus’ dragon had apparently dug deep before going into hibernation.
The hole grew smaller the deeper I crawled, eventually to the point where I could scarcely fit my arm through the last portion.
As silently as I could, I dug at the edged of the hole, attempting to widen it enough to reach the end. I was counting on the dragon being in deep hibernation. Otherwise, things were about to get really messy.
Very slowly, I managed to widen the gap just enough to squeeze my shoulder through. Praying I was at the end, I very carefully reach in the hole, feeling my way around the edges. This had to be gentle.
At first, all I felt was loose gravel, but a faint odor wafted through the hole. That was a good sign.
My heart beat fast against my chest as I dragged my fingers further along the hole. Then, suddenly, I felt the unmistakable touch of scales beneath my hand.
Even though I expected to find it, I still flinched at the touch. This wasn’t Claire. I didn’t even know this dragon’s name. But it was an important step to getting Claire back from Miguel.
Softly, I felt my way down the dragon’s slender body until I found its head. Then with a steadying breath, I closed my eyes and connected with the dragon.
Immediately, the dragon let out a piercing screech, bringing rubble down onto my head. For the briefest of moments, I saw through her eyes as she awoke. I felt the fear course through her as she spread her wings and used all of her remaining energy to grow in size.
Suddenly, everything shifted as the space around me exploded. Still, I kept my hand on her face, clinging to the prominent scale on her forehead.
I struggled to keep my hold on her as she grew. Shifting rocks threatened to separate me from her, but I managed to grab her shoulder with my other hand and pull myself on top of her as she emerged from the mountain.
Still screeching, she spun in the air, distressed as she attempted to free herself from me.
I kept my eyes shut, focusing all of my effort on projecting images of Marcus. I was trying to calm her. To show her I could be trusted, but the barrage of images seemed to only confuse her as she struggled against me.
Desperate, she plummeted back down to the mountain and slammed her back against the ground, flattening me beneath her.
I nearly blacked out from the pain as several internal organs exploded from the impact. My legs went limp, but I managed to keep my hands firmly around her neck.
As the dragon flew back up into the air, I felt my body snap back into place, my skin resewing itself over the regrowing organs.
Furious, the dragon tried again, flying even higher in the air this time before diving back at the ground.
Afraid of completely losing consciousness, I swung myself around her neck just as she landed. As a result, we both collided with the mountain as the momentum was enough to loosen my grip on her scales.
For a moment she was free of me, but she was too dazed to escape. Before she could fly away, I grabbed hold of her neck once more, swimming my body behind her wing.
With a roar, she tried to claw me off of her, but she struggled to reach me. With a mighty effort, she managed to tear at my legs, ripping my muscles apart, but I never let go.
Both of us weary, she let out a weaker roar this time before launching us back into the air. This time she dove back toward the ground while simultaneously shrinking in size, digging straight down into the surface of the mountain.
I clung as tight as I could to her body, but she grew small enough that I slammed into the ground… but I still had a hold on her.
Barely managing to stay awake, I pulled her back above ground, using my superior weight to leverage her to the surface.
As soon as I managed to pull her up, however, she grew in size once more, pushing herself to her fullest capacity.
I knew she wouldn’t be able to hold it long without food, but it didn’t matter. I was on my back on the ground and she was towering over me with malice in her eyes.
One last time I projected the image of Marcus, hoping it would break through her daze, but it had no effect. There was only one option left to me.
Suddenly, her jaws clamped down over me, making me her first meal in years. I was in and out of consciousness as she digested me, my body forming and reforming as it fought against her digestive system.
This was by far my least favorite part of fighting dragons.

———

I want you to try something. Take a second and think about a movie you haven’t seen in a long time…

I chose Sandlot (Spoilers)

Now, let me start by saying: we are all experts. Nay, gurus at taking in media. We are media gurus… most of us.
We know what a good story looks like. We know what we want in a story. And if it doesn’t deliver, it’s “bad.” That’s why movies such as The Last Jedi are so divisive. Your expectations going in to the movie determine whether or not you will enjoy it. Not because the movie is objectively good or bad, but because it either did or didn’t deliver on your expectations.
The problem is, we all have different expectations and desires when it comes to experiencing media.
If you hate dragons, then you are probably hating this novel. If you hate fantasy stories, then you definitely hate this book.
But there are universal elements to a story. And one of these elements is what I call “Hollywood Moments.”
Most people define Hollywood moments as the climactic moment in a story. And that could be the case, but I define it differently.
For me, Hollywood moments are those moments in your story that your reader will remember. They define your story. They are what your reader will remember years later after reading it.

So go back to the movie you chose earlier. What are the moments that immediately come to mind in the story? How does your mind summarize the movie?

For me, these scenes flashed through my mind when I chose Sandlot:

Stealing the ball from his dad’s room
Ball going over the fence
The dog chasing him
The treehouse sleepover
“You throw like a girl”

And that’s pretty much it. You might think of different things, but those are definitely defining moments in Sandlot.

So, in your story, you want to make sure you have defining moments. Scenes that your readers will remember, let alone remember years later.
I know multiple writers that will go into a novel with virtually no plan except to incorporate different “Hollywood moments” together in their story.
Others will plan a general idea for a story and then, to determine what the plot should look like, they decide on their Hollywood moments and then plan around them.
By nature of this blog/novel, I haven’t done much planning, but I hope this chapter is one of those moments for this novel.
By allowing the dragon to devour him, he’s using the full range of his abilities, showing his courage and resiliency, and calling us back to think about the very first time we meet him in the novel. He does the very same thing of allowing the dragon to eat him in order to escape, but it doesn’t work. How satisfying if it works this time?
It’s also the first time we see someone attempt to Claim a dragon without the help of other dragons. PS. There’s also a ton of symbolism, but I digress.

The point is, make sure your story is meaningful. Elicit emotion, and make it count. These moments are the cornerstones of your story. If you take your time with these, the rest will fall into place.