How do you describe a dragon?

Dragons are a frequent subject in the marvelous messages I receive from readers, and many of them have put this question to me in one form or another. Describing characters well is a great challenge for any writer, and the truth is I use the same three-layered process to describe dragons as I do to describe any other character:

First, I start by describing the dragon by using all five senses – what it looks like, sounds like, feels like, and (very important) smells like.

Second, I describe its daily life – what it does on a typical Tuesday, what is its place in the dragon society, what stories it most loves, what it prefers to eat, what makes it laugh or cry.

Third, I go inside the dragon and describe its inner hopes, fears, and dreams.

If I’m very lucky, and I have described it well, at the very end of this process, the dragon will whisper to me its deepest, darkest secret!

Another question that comes up frequently in my letters is whether I would like to have a dragon as a pet. That’s one question I never have trouble answering, since NOBODY has a dragon as a pet, only as a friend! And they are very special friends to have indeed — dragons are highly selective about the company they keep. They are incredibly wise, and are fluent in many languages, including those of elves and fairies. They are also witty, sassy, and always hungry (so watch out!).

TAB with Dragon

Of course, some of the dragons from my books are great friends to have. Basil, for example, would be wonderful to take along on a camping trip — if you found yourself without matches and needed to make a fire, he could always start one for you! And, as dragons are marvelous storytellers, you could sit around the crackling fire sharing favorite stories long into the night. You may remember Basil’s words from one of the opening passages from the Merlin’s Dragon trilogy:

Look here, I know it sounds far-fetched — impossible, even — that such a huge story could have such a tiny, unremarkable beginning. Call me a liar if you like. But that’s how it was. I know, believe me. For I just happened to be right there, when everything began.

Being a dragon’s friend brings a life of adventure. May you know many in your journeys!


  1. Reply

    Ron Oberman

    December 4, 2014

    Dear Mr. Barron, You a re a very special Human, and after reading the above missive , I know exactly why so many Dragons allow you to be their friend . Thank you for your novels,words, and thoughts they help make the world the wondrous, adventurous, and magical place it can be.

    • Reply

      T.A. Barron

      January 12, 2015

      Hello, Ron. Thanks for your kind message. Something tells me that you have a natural kinship with dragons. That is a great blessing indeed! My best wishes to you — and also your dragon friends. — TAB

  2. Reply

    Daveed Montha

    December 31, 2014

    Mr. Barron, I am a young aspiring writer and director. I love creating stories of fantastic heroes and fantastic events. In my stories i value the idea that special things happen for a reason and that the greatest evil can be overcome by a greater good.
    My main series i am writing is about a young boy who joins an army of super human kids, who are able to control the four elements of Earth (earth, fire, ice, wind), and dragons. The boy is led by the mystery of his father who disappeared. This links him to a dragon, who only wanted to fight for his homeland. The boy also meets many other characters with powerful stories. Throughout the series the boy must choose to fight for the freedom and justice of light or the greed and power of darkness.
    Mr. Barron, if you could, email me if you like my story and i could also explain more of this series and my other series. By the way i call this series “The Dragon Masters Chronicles”
    Hope to talk to you soon.
    Daveed Montha

    • Reply

      T.A. Barron

      January 12, 2015

      Daveed, Thanks for sharing your story idea with me. I like it very much! You have a great concept for an epic hero’s journey — one that will take you (as well as your readers) on a marvelous adventure. But you must give it your all. Dive deep into the characters, places, and ideas of your tale. Tell it with all the courage and authenticity you can! Writing is the hardest work there is — and also the most joyous work there is. So I urge you to believe in your story…and yourself.

      If you’d like to read about my own writing process, go to the For Writers section of my website and check out my essay “Growing a Writer’s Tree”, which I hope will encourage you on your quest. Best wishes from your fellow writer, T.A. Barron

  3. Reply


    August 17, 2018

    Mr Barron, I have never hear of your stories, but all I saw was ‘Dragon’ and I became so interested! Is there anything you can tell me about your books? I honestly don’t know what to ask you because I have never heard of you or your stories before…
    Nadia Hertzog.

    • Reply

      T. A. Barron

      August 28, 2018

      Nadia, as a fellow dragon-lover thank you so much for your question. To learn more about my books, I encourage you to explore my website, as it contains detailed information about all of my books, including all 12 volumes of The Merlin Saga, as well as The Adventures of Kate and The Atlantis Saga. Best wishes to you!

  4. Reply


    September 20, 2018

    Oh, how I would love to have been born—-
    A Dragoness.
    Disappointed——not able to raise Dragonkids.

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