A work-in-progress. No publication date set.

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Origin of The Dragon Universe

I love science, science fiction, and fantasy. I always have. Nevertheless, it never occurred to me I could write it as a career. I had dabbled in writing stories for fun, but never considered it more than a hobby. Then along came the Internet and the methods it provided for sharing. I discovered people liked my fiction about Dragons, even as amateurish as it was. When career changes provided the opportunity to move into a new life, I had many options. I settled on pursuing a new career as a speculative fiction writer.

For years, I had successfully written technical documents and articles. What could be so hard about becoming serious about writing fiction? Everything. Fiction writing is not technical writing. Fiction requires a different skill set. I studied everything I could find to learn how to write quality fiction. I set a goal of 10 years, 10,000 hours, 1,000,000 words to hone my skills. I am not yet to the 10-year mark, but I have exceeded the 10,000 hours, and I have created nearly 1,000,000 words of trunk novel material. I am improving, but I still have more practice to do.

During those years of practice, experimentation, and development, I created the worlds, characters, and plots for The Dragon Universe. Initially, I imagined a single book, but I eventually realized the story was too large. Rather than lose the story's heart and soul by cutting it to an acceptable size, I split the five phases of the story into five books. When I finish with the current trunk novel version of the story, I will return to the beginning and apply everything I have learned to create a work of art.

I feel good about how well my writing skills have developed, I am pleased by how the story has evolved, and I am excited for what the future holds. While it is still a work-in-progress, The Dragon Universe is wonderful. Follow me on my journey by following me on my web pages, Facebook, and Twitter. When the final version of the books come to market, read them and let me know how I did.

Lester D. Crawford Blog


2019-07-31
2019 Clarion West Write-a-thon Finished

My goal of designing another short story and beginning the writing of it has been met with the completion of the design of my Sten and Spice story and the beginning of the writing of the story.

Everything I’ve written recently has had a single point-of-view character. This story has two. The story is actually two stories that touch multiple times as the plot progresses. Conflict occurs between the two characters at those moments when the characters interact, but also, between the moments when the stories touch, the characters experience conflict with others who don’t like what they’re doing during those moments when the two characters are interacting. Ultimately, it all comes crashing down at the end.

This story is fun, but it is a considerable challenge.

Image showing two plot lines bouncing off each other multiple times with a boing sound finally ending with a splat.
Visual representation
of the plot of my Sten and Spice story.

2019-06-30
2019 Clarion West Write-a-thon

Again this year, I’m participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon.

This year the Write-a-thon corresponds with me beginning a new short story. I’m in the design phase. As I began structuring the story’s plot and character change arcs, I realized I needed more details in the back-stories of the world and its characters. First step became defining a clear timeline for past events so all of the stories that occur in this story world flow logically.

While I’m improving my writing craft skills, I’m having fun and I’m learning.

The Write-a-thon is a fundraiser for the Clarion West Writers Workshop. If you wish to donate to Clarion West in my name, go to my Clarion West Write-a-thon writer’s page and click on the Sponsor Lester D. Crawford button.

https://www.clarionwest.org/members/lesterdcrawford/

Clarion West Write-a-thon Badge
Clarion West Write-a-thon

2019-05-31
Resolution then Edit

This novella has been a challenge, but it has been a good challenge. I like the story. Only the last few paragraphs of the resolution remain. Then, the editing begins. Getting the original words down can be a painful struggle, but editing is pleasant. I enjoy refining the story, improving word selection, and honing to make the story precise with no unnecessary fluff. This will be a fine story, a story to be proud of.

Word cloud of manuscript with the size of the words indicating frequency of words.  Beneath that is a picture of the 88 pages (the text of the pages is not readable).
Word Cloud and Pages of the Manuscript

2019-04-30
Avoiding Deus ex Machina

Deus ex machina is a plot device where a person or thing is introduced unexpectedly and which provides a contrived solution to an apparently unsolvable difficulty.  I fear accidentally creating these.

In my current project, I have several situations that require setup ahead of time so that when the story arrives at one of those situations, the solution does not come across as contrived.  However, sometimes I haven’t fleshed out the events that would feel contrived if not properly setup ahead of time.

Tonight, I revisited earlier parts of the story to sow more seeds to cover the situations that are now beginning to take on their full form.  This weaving of story elements into a complex pattern is fun, but I will need beta readers to tell me if the setups work to prevent deus ex machina.


2019-03-31
Symbols

A symbol is a method of attaching meaning to an action or item by associating it with something else thus giving the symbol a new, significant meaning in the story. Symbols are ways to inform the reader without using actual words to explicitly convey that information.

My current project is an origin story for a character used in a later story. When this character is introduced, I give her a locket I intend to use in the later story. However, this triggered the “Chekhov’s Gun” principle paraphrased as “If you introduce a narrative detail, that detail must be used later in the story.” I decided I’d deal with that later and moved on.

Then, I needed something to help express the character’s distress. The locket introduced at the beginning was the solution. It was related to a tragedy in her life, which was the cause of her distress, and it resolved the Chekhov’s Gun dilemma.

The magic of this revelation was how it affected the story’s ending. I knew what needed to happen at the end of the story, but I did not know how it would happen. In a rush of adrenaline induced euphoria, I saw how the locket defines the story and creates the ending. Moments like this make writing addictive.

Symbols are wonderful. I think I’ll keep them.

Locket on necklace chain.
Locket used as a Symbol

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