Last week I entered a writing challenge. It works this way: You are given an opening sentence, to which you are supposed to coherently attach one to two hundred words. You post it, and readers can add their comments and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. The three highest-rated entries will then be voted on. If you win, you get … well, to be the winner.
So this isn’t a step up the career ladder. It isn’t supposed to be. It’s supposed to be fun. To prove it, here is the challenge’s opening sentence: If dragon hopping was safe, then I wouldnâ€™t have any interest in it, but of course itâ€™s not, so guess where Iâ€™m heading.
It takes a little time to figure out where to go with that. Dragon hopping is a fundamentally bizarre thing to do, like “lion-tickling”. It makes you wonder: Who are these crazy people?
In an inspired touch, the narrator muses on if dragon hopping was safe instead of if it were safe. And it stands to reason that someone who would hop on dragons should not be too punctilious about grammar.
Here is what I posted:
If dragon hopping was safe, then I wouldnâ€™t have any interest in it, but of course itâ€™s not, so guess where Iâ€™m heading.
Yes, you know: Basilisk. The terraformers abandoned it a century ago, when they finally figured out that nobody is going to move to Basilisk while there is standing room on any other planet. Weather comes two different ways there: Too hot and too cold. There is very little water, and the only creatures that manage to live on that forsaken planet are mutant and hostile. Snips. Eye lizards. The Raz.
And, of course, dragons.
The terraformers built their skeleton settlement deep in a cave system, thinking it would be a refuge. You can imagine their horror when a flock of dragons came swooping in to settle at their doorstep. What are the odds theyâ€™d found their colony smack-dab in the middle of a hibernation nest?
A couple decades back the deserted colony was taken over by somebody with more con than morals. Now itâ€™s a resort, and it runs Dragon Shows all year round. This seasonâ€™s show is dragon hopping.
So Iâ€™m on my way back. Itâ€™s a crazy thing, I suppose, to hop from one hibernating dragon to another, but Iâ€™ll fill my pockets nicely. And, provided I donâ€™t slip and land on some touchy dragonâ€™s snout, Iâ€™ll enjoy it.