20 Minutes with Antonio del Drago

Antonio del Drago
Antonio del Drago

Antonio del Drago brings SO much awesomeness to the table. He is, of course an author (and wait ’til you hear what he’s writing now), but he’s also a skilled fencer and has a PhD in Philosophy and Religious Studies. He’s ALSO the founder and editor of the fabulous MythicScribes.com on-line fantasy writing community. This broad spectrum of experience gives him a rich perspective on… well… everything, but specifically on the craft and process of writing. We explore those perspectives with great delight in this episode, so by all means, join us! (and check out Tony’s Workshop Episode airing August 21st! )

PROMO: Supervillain Corner Podcast

Showcase Episode: 20 Minutes with Antonio del Drago

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Listen to this episode on iTunes

Episode Breakdown

01:30 – Antonio’s Fabulous Intro


04:55 – What have you learned about your own writing as the editor of MythicScibes.com?

  • 05:40 – Patience is key in writing. A lot of writers are hard on themselves when they don’t get it right immediately (like me).
  • 06:10 – Nearly everything discussed on MythicScribes.com I can apply to my own writing
  • 06:30 – The common problems are pretty similar across the board


06:55 – What’s the most amazing thing you’ve found in the MythicScribe community?

  • 07:15 – The sense of community and cooperation has been amazing, especially in the Showcase section
  • 07:30 – I was worried that no one would share anything for review
  • 08:05 – I discovered the immense compassion writers have for one another when dealing with their struggles


08:20 – Is there an issue with writing that is a consistent struggle across the board?

  • 08:55 – About once a week somebody comes on and asks whether or not they should use a prologue
  • 09:40 – I used to be very anti-prologue, you begin the story where it starts
  • 09:50 – Recently I’ve been exploring prologues as a framing device
  • 10:00 – Keep them short and they can be very effective


10:50 – Can you tell us about your book and how mythology can relate to character development?

  • 11:40 – In my book I’m drawing on Joseph Campbell as well as some eastern traditions and material from the enneagram
  • 12:00 – The enneagram can be traced back to the sufi traditions and examines how each of us react to situations
  • 12:15 – Divides human personality into nine categories
  • 12:35 – I used to be opposed to this kind of categorization
  • 12:40 – I’ve found that most human beings actually do follow these category “scripts”
  • 13:20 – This gives writers a foundation to help anticipate character reactions
  • 13:55 – Then the next layer is how the character fits into their world
  • 14:00 – And then how they fit into their story


14:15 – Is there a relationship between the tropes of genre fiction and these categories

  • 14:55 – To a certain level but not to a great level
  • 15:10 – I’m using multiple layers – starting with the subsconscious – to create a complete character concept
  • 15:15 – For how the character works into the story, I draw on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Myth archeypes


15:35 – PROMO: Supervillain Corner Podcast


16:40 – Have you incorporated character race into that layering?

  • 17:10 – I haven’t thought about that, but maybe I will
  • 17:25 – I see this as the first in a series
  • 17:35 – I hope to explore worldbuilding, creating magic systems and religions, and story structure
  • 18:00 – Then we’ll be looking into developing software
  • 18:10 – With the help of my good friend, Nathan Laufer, we hope to create an interactive and collaborative web application


20:30 – When do you know an idea is going to be a story?

  • 20:50 – When CS Lewis heard Wagner’s “The Ring”, he said he felt like it summoned feelings that were ancient, tapping into something much older than himself
  • 21:35 – I felt the same way about The Hobbit
  • 22:00 – CS Lewis called it joy and I use that when I write my own stories
  • 22:40 – I think that’s largely programmed into our subconscious mind in the collective human experience
  • 22:50 – I wonder if it’s tapping into dimensions of reality that we don’t fully understand
  • 23:00 – There’s a lot in the is world we can’t explain, there may be things going on around us that we’ve learned to filter out
  • 23:15 – Maybe fantasy stories can tap into that on a certain level


23:30 – Do you draft out your characters ahead of time or do you just dive in?

  • 23:50 – I am the exact opposite of a discovery writer, I always wrote myself into the corner
  • 24:20 – I found a lot of my own baggage found its way into the characters


25:00 – Do you use the same rules with a protagonist who behaves like an antagonist as you do with an antagonist?

  • 25:50 – No, at that point the qualities shift
  • 26:00 – You could attempt it, but the protagonist would be unsympathetic
  • 26:45 – If you look at anti-heroes, they begin with the villain qualities but shift over to more heroic qualities
  • 28:40 – One of my favorite shows is “The Wire”… it’s the Lord of the Rings of crime dramas
  • 29:20 – Each of the characters have tremendous contrast, villains have hero qualities and heroes have villain qualities

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