Design Your Own Dragon!

From the newly released The Tropic of Serpents and the first book in the series, A Natural History of Dragons, readers know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science.

The world of Lady Trent is home to a myriad of different dragon species, from the fire-breathing desert drakes of Akhia to the tiny draconic cousins known as sparklings. Now you have a chance to expand the borders of dragon naturalism, by adding your own species to the mix!

All you have to do is invent a breed of dragon or draconic cousin that might fit into Lady Trent’s world. Write up a description of no more than two hundred words covering its appearance and habitat, any noteworthy behaviors, and so on. An example of a write up, Marie Brennan’s wyvern, is below. Then submit your invention to, with the header “DRAGON: {name}”. Marie Brennan will select one to three entries and reference them in a future installment of the Memoirs of Lady Trent. Winners will also receive a signed Advance Reader Copy of Voyage of the Basilisk, the third book in the series, when those become available (late 2014).

This contest is open to entrants worldwide. No more than three submissions per entrant; any subsequent e-mails will be deleted unread. The contest will close to entries at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 30th 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 15th (note the extension!), and winners will be announced on May 26th.

Sample entry:

WYVERN — A reptilian creature native to northern and eastern Anthiope, possessing hind limbs and wings, but lacking forelimbs, which disqualifies it for consideration as a “true dragon” under the criteria of Sir Richard Edgeworth. Wyverns are typically 3-4 meters in length from nose to tail, with a comparable wingspan, and light of build through the chest. Their coloration is mottled brown and green, for protective colouration in the treeless hills that are their usual habitat. They typically hunt by waiting in an elevated position and then launching into the air when prey is sighted. Their venom is paralytic, and kills the prey through asphyxiation. Wyverns are solitary except when they mate, but the male will follow the female until she lays her eggs, after which they incubate in the care of the male, who feeds them and teaches them to hunt after hatching. Juveniles rarely stay with their father for more than three months, by which point they are capable of independent sustenance.

11 Responses to “Design Your Own Dragon!”

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  6. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    Sweet pickled herrings and frosted bat wings, thank goodness I am still going to make it in time! One draconic species flying hellmell into your inbox soon. #cacklesmadly

  7. Rebecca Ann Jordan

    As I bought your book at the most recent Mysterious Galaxy signing, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Much to my chagrin, the dragon I wrote up is almost exactly like the wolf-drake you mention in an interview! But I’m still using today to play around with some more 🙂 This is so fun!

    • swantower

      Well, at least one person has submitted an idea not entirely dissimilar from something I had already written into the third book, so you’re not the only one running into difficulty! But I hope you are able to work something else out by tonight. Glad you’re enjoying it!

  8. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    I haven’t read the books either! I just picked up the first two on audio after I ran across this because of Mogsy’s blog post. So hopefully I didn’t come up with a type of dragon you already had! I hope you are going to list all the entries after the contest is over.

    I am loving the narrator so far.

    • swantower

      I don’t think I will be posting the entries, because I didn’t say in the guidelines that entering the contest meant granting me permission to make the work public. (I could try to chase people down individually for permission, but past experience tells me that probably wouldn’t work out.) I’ll definitely share the winner(s), though!

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