Finding the Right Balance

I am struggling to find the right balance in a section of Dragon.  Be forewarned, I am giving away some spoilers for Dragon in this post.  If you want to wait and be surprised, don’t read it.  (To be fair, they are early spoilers and don’t give away anything major.)

The main character of the book is a dragon, but she was born in human form to human parents.  Her grandfather was a dragon who took human form and married a human woman, and his daughter was human but carried the ability to have dragon offspring.

In order to write this story, I had to figure out the science and genetics that would make this possible.  I am a science nerd, after all, and I had to understand it in order to be comfortable writing it.  Therefore, I have a full working knowledge of dragon genetics (at least as they relate to my fictional world) and the realities of inter-species breeding.

Most of my readers won’t want or need the same level of knowledge that I have, but this brings us to my dilemma.  I got conflicting reports from two of my First Readers.  One, who does not have a science background, said that the explanation that I currently have in the book was sufficient and not confusing for her.  The other, who is a science person like me, wanted more information.  The “it involves advanced genetics that I don’t understand” explanation that one character gives the other wasn’t enough for her.  And honestly, if I were reading the book, I’d need more than that to get past the disbelief I would have in the situation.

I am planning to write an excerpt from a fake scientific paper detailing the genetics at length, which will be included as an appendix to the book, but I fear that for the science-minded among my readers, there needs to be more explanation within the story itself.  I’m just not sure how to find the right balance to accomodate both the science nerds and the non-scientists who might read the book.


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