Every writer knows word play is addicting. And, happily, readers flock to those writers who express themselves with originality and authenticity. By that I mean, the images evoked are vivid and often surprising, and the words feel "right" for the narrative world they bring to life.

My seven-year-old daughter and I are currently enjoying the series, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. We look forward to our nightly installment, and always we end up laughing out loud.

Today's playful description comes courtesy of Cressida Cowell, the series author, and Toothless, Hiccup's tiny and sleep-deprived dragon: "Toothless crawled up from his place at Hiccup's feet, like a small, enraged hot-water bottle. He stormed up Hiccup's body, digging his sharp little claws into Hiccup's tummy as he went, up to Hiccup's forehead, where he sat and hissed furiously. 'Toothless a-a-awake AGAIN...'"

It was the "...small, enraged hot-water bottle" that had us belly-laughing last night. By now, we know Toothless well, and we can picture him perfectly as he steams up Hiccup's front to perch angrily on his head. So the next time you're in the middle of your story, give yourself full permission to play with your words and let the unpredictable prevail.

As Toothless says, "S-s-set fire to this! DON'T set fire to that!...Mister Hiccup just stop being such a B-BOSSY-BOOTS and give a dragon a chance!"

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