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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


2017-07-31
2017 Clarion West Write-a-thon Finished

For my 2017 Clarion West Write-a-thon goal, I finished the chapters that let up to the plot point half way through the second half of act two. When I reviewed the outline and reread the previous draft of the last quarter of act two, I was excited, but decided it needed improvements.

In this part of the story, a new character arrives to sow destruction that hits the protagonist at the darkest moment at the end of act two. The character achieves this by moving through a change arc from being sweet and innocent to being wicked and malicious.

Since I worked on the previous draft, I have gained a better understanding of the protagonist’s Lie versus the Truth and how at the midpoint he began trying to change himself. As this new character’s actions challenge him, the wrong path becomes tempting again causing him to struggle to stay on the path he knows is the right one.

I will control the flow in this sequence by using story structure and a character change arc for the new character, in a sense treating it as a standalone story. This will bond the last quarter of the second act in to a coherent theme.

This will be fun.

Character Dimensions, Story Structure, Mind Map, Outline

Character Dimensions, Story Structure, Mind Map, Outline


2017-06-30
2017 Clarion West Write-a-thon

I’m using my on-going writing efforts for my participation in this summer’s Clarion West Write-a-thon. My goal is to finish my current work’s second act hitting and passing the story’s darkest moment as I move into the third act.

The write-a-thon is a fundraiser for the Clarion West Writers Workshop, a nonprofit literary organization based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with a mission to improve speculative fiction by providing high quality education to writers at the start of their careers.

You may sponsor me by donating to Clarion West. On the Lester D. Crawford Clarion West Write-a-thon profile page, select the “Sponsor Lester D. Crawford” button.


2017-05-31
Tag Lines, Log Lines, and Pitches

After attending a discussion about pitching to agents and publishers, I decided it would be useful to create tag lines, log lines, and pitches for all the stories I have planned for my The Dragon Universe collection. Doing so will help me focus on what those stories are and ensure I create a coherent narrative thread throughout.

For each story, I will write a description for the elements in the narrative structure. I will then add details as they occur to me. As I do this, I will create style sheets to define the characters and locations. My current collection of notes with its hundreds of thousands of words already contains much of this information, and more is still in my head. This project will help me document and organize that information.

While I’m doing this, I will also develop ideas for short stories both within the current story universe and outside it. It would do me good to write a few short stories different from the world in which I’m currently so deeply embedded.

Three-Act Narrative Structure
1. Beginning
2. Inciting Incident
3. Plot Point 1
4. Pinch Point 1
5. Mid Point
6. Pinch Point 2
7. Plot Point 2
8. Climax
9. Ending

Short Story Narrative Structure
1. Action
2. Background
3. Develop
4. Climax
5. Ending

The more I think about how much fun writing is the more I forget how hard it is to write.


2017-04-30
Symptoms Instead of Causes

When I began this chapter, I was thinking the midpoint of act two was a big event in a chapter later in the outline. As I worked, I was also studying, again, character change arc concepts. An epiphany struck: the character change arc I had designed for this story focused on symptoms instead of causes.

While the protagonist’s three character dimensions defined in the story design are correct, a reevaluation of the character change arc revealed the correct Lie the protagonist believes and the Truth he needs to accept and pointed to this chapter as being the midpoint of act two.

Now, the 53,000 words that are the first half of this draft of book 5 need to be edited to apply this new understanding. This epiphany also affects the series change arc and the change arcs in each book of the series. Therefore, the 440,000 words in the drafts of the first four books need to also be reworked.

The net effect: better stories, after a lot of editing.

“You are not the boss of me.”

I stared at the Dragon, pondering his unexpected words, and feeling his aggravation through our bond.

“No, I’m not your boss. We’re partners.”

“You do not treat me as a partner. You treat me as if you own me.”

“You’re my Dragon.”

“You are not the boss of me.”

Draft Book 5 Chapter 15 Pages and Word Cloud

Draft Book 5 Chapter 15 Pages and Word Cloud


2017-03-31
Inspired by Uni the Unicorn

Somewhere, I don’t remember where, while wandering about in my writing community, someone recommended Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager. This is a children’s book for ages 3 – 7 years. My local library system has five copies all of which are currently checked out.

Following is the publisher’s description of the story.

“Uni the unicorn is told there’s no such thing as little girls! But no matter what the grown-up unicorns say, Uni believes that little girls are REAL. Somewhere there must be a smart, strong, wonderful, magical little girl waiting to be best friends. In fact, far away (but not too far away), a real little girl believes there is a unicorn waiting for her, too. This magical story of friendship reminds believers and nonbelievers alike that sometimes wishes really can come true.”

The story is lovely, but ends shockingly.

SPOILER ALERT! Uni and the little girl do not meet.

My reaction was, “What the heck!” The ending was not what I expected.

Scheduled for release on September 5, 2017, is Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager. I hope Uni and the little girl meet this time.

I requested my local library system add the book to their collection. Recently, when I checked the status of my request, I found that, on by behest, they had ordered five copies.

Rosenthal inspired within me the desire to write my own children’s book influenced by the story-world in my current work-in-progress. My mind minions are already providing me ideas for the story and the lesson it will teach.

On March 13, 2017, Amy Krouse Rosenthal passed away. Rosenthal wrote more than 30 books. I, for one, had been touched by her writing. She will be missed.

Uni the Unicorn and Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True Book Covers

Uni the Unicorn and Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True Book Covers


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