I have had crocodiles on the brain for the past month or so. It all started with an idea that I had about some poor fellow poling his boat back home after a hard night fishing when a roar splits the dawn and - ker-SPLASH!! - his boat is nearly swamped by a wall of water. The man straightens to see a huge crocodile floundering in the river beside his boat.
It gathers itself and surges straight upward, falls back and bellows again as the man clutches his chest and tries not to hyperventilate, faint and fall into the water.
And then the crocodile looks at him for a moment with the rising sun right behind its head...
The story takes off from there. The thing is thirty cubits long (which makes it between 45 and 60 feet in length) with a head wider than the man's height. It follows him home and things start happening.
Who the crocodile is, how it got there, and what happens next in various ways to various people, grownups and children, is the story. It is shaping up to be rather amusing, but it is also requiring a lot of research into crocodilians. There is a lot I didn't know.
For example, did you know that they can gallop? Here's a video of a freshwater crocodile doing just that. (Pity they didn't set it to the William Tell Overture, as Paul Serano the Paleontologist did in 'Supercroc'):
The man gets quite a turn when he comes home from a long day fishing and finds the crocodile basking in the sun with the man's two children napping between his front legs.
It isn't quite like the other crocs in the river, being more than three times their size, but like some regular specimens, it does like to chase the man's fowl.
It also takes a rather dim view of rude people and tax collectors.
There is a lot to research (and, to be honest, I'm learning more about crocodiles than I ever really wanted to know) but I can't do any actual composing until November 1, since this is going to be my NaNoWriMo project for 2013.
What audience would I target? Well, that's a good question. It isn't really a children's book, though I think slightly older children (of an age to read chapter books) might enjoy it. It is a bit of a fable and a bit of a fantasy, especially when you discover who and what the crocodile is, and how he got there and why there is a huge, dark patch in the night sky, and why the river sparkles so brightly when he is in it.
Heck, I even have a cover design well on the way to being finished.
I think I'll enjoy it.
And now one final video that should leave you laughing deliciously. No blood, nothing to startle you even if a croc does appear in it. Enjoy it!