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

Read my flash fiction samples. Select Lester D. Crawford Speculative Fiction then on that page select Flash Fiction Samples.

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

A Story’s Theme is a Powerful Thing

Theme is an idea that is central to a story and often is summarized in a single word. When a writer begins writing a story, he or she might not know the theme. Even later, the theme may not be obvious.

When I began developing The Dragon Universe, I gave no thought to theme. The concept of theme was confusing, so I did not worry about it. Then, one night, as I talked to myself about the story, working through details, an epiphany occurred. The following describes the story.

Backpacking had been a leisure pursuit until Les came upon a prefab, forest manager’s cabin that turned out not to be a cabin. He now struggles to survive on an alien world using only his wits and his backpack’s contents. Encounters with strange creatures, animal-like people, and a terrifying Dragon challenge his sense of reality as he finds himself in the midst of a struggle that will determine the fate of many worlds and will send him on a journey to his destiny.

My epiphany was that the story’s theme is love. I realized most of my stories were at their core about love. I have a soft heart and my stories bring that out. Stories that involve loving characters who work together as caring partners toward a common goal triggers an emotional response that I think was always there, but until now had been unnamed.

This brings me to why this comes to mind. The movie trailers for The Good Dinosaur (2015) trigger that emotional response. The tag line “A single kindness can change everything” touches me. Knowing Arlo’s situation makes me feel for him. Having Spot help Arlo and join forces with him makes me rejoice. I have high expectations the story will affect me deeply. I hope it does not disappoint.

The Good Dinosaur will be in theaters on November 25, 2015. I look forward to a significant emotional response. I strive for my stories to do the same for my readers.

The Good Dinosaur Theatrical Poster

The Good Dinosaur (2015) Theatrical Poster

Arlo Lost, Alone, and Frightened image

Arlo lost, alone, and frightened. I feel for him.

Spot Comforting Arlo image

Spot comforting Arlo brings tears to my eyes.

The Dragonet Prophecy

I quickly needed an audio book. I found one. I logged onto my local library’s catalog and searched through the audio books I could borrow via download. I came across one with dragons. Since I am writing a story that has a dragon, my interest was piqued. After a little research, I decided to try the book. I am glad I did.

The book is The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire, Book #1) by Tui T. Sutherland, read by Shannon McManus, who reads wonderfully. This is a middle-grade book. So far, there are seven books in the series with three more yet to come.

The publisher’s web site describes the book as: The dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy, a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice.

I enjoyed the book.

I do not often re-read books because, while I like some books enough to read them again, my to-read list is long. Re-reading a book means not reading a new book on that list. However, The Dragonet Prophecy urges me to re-read it more than any other book I have ever read. This urge was triggered by the big reveal near the end regarding the protagonist. After learning the truth and gaining an understanding, I must read the book again with that knowledge so I can see the story from a new perspective.

The Dragonet Prophecy Audio Book Cover

The Dragonet Prophecy Audio Book Cover

2015 Clarion West Write-a-thon Goals Meet

My goals for the 2015 11th Annual Clarion West Write-a-thon was to complete drafts of chapters 14 and 15 of “Buddy Journey,” book 4 of The Dragon Universe series, and to create a mind map and outline for a novelette, or possibly novella, but probably too long for a short story, of the Risirid (characters in The Dragon Universe) survivors' origin story that focuses on Patriarch's contribution to that survival and subsequent prosperity.

I met my goals.

Clarion West Write-a-thon Goals Meet

Buddy Journey Chapters 14 and 15, and Mind Map and Outline for Patriarch’s Story

Participating in Clarion West Write-a-thon

I am participating in the 2015 11th Annual Clarion West Write-a-thon.

My goal is to complete drafts of chapters 14 and 15 of “Buddy Journey,” book 4 of The Dragon Universe series, and to create a mind map and outline for a novelette, or possibly novella, but probably too long for a short story, of the Risirid (characters in The Dragon Universe) survivors’ origin story that focuses on Patriarch’s contribution to that survival and subsequent prosperity.

The write-a-thon is a fundraiser for the Clarion West Writers Workshop, a nonprofit literary organization based in Seattle, Washington, 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 in my name at www.clarionwest.org/members/lesterdcrawford/

Default Story Telling Mode

I seem to write in two modes — short and long — with nothing in between.

The short pieces are flash fiction (100 – 1,000 words). Some small inspiration causes these to just pop out. My long fiction tends toward the mega epic 600,000-word range (which ends up having to be broken into multiple volumes). Even when I diligently try to write a short story (1,000 – 7,500 words), it sneaks into the novelette size range (7,500 – 20,000 words), which makes long appear to be my default story telling mode. The truth is, short is my default.

My writing style and method, I realize, even for the 600,000-word tomes, is really just flash fiction. Everything I write is a series of flash fiction scenes. These short scenes snap together like Legos® to make the long stories. I think that makes me the writer version of a LEGO® Master Builder.

by Lester D. Crawford

The hatchling Dragon came bounding up and bounced as he said, "Mommy, Mommy, let's play hide-and-seek."

Hope sighed. After she had accidentally hatched the orphaned egg, she had accepted responsibility and did her best to raise the little Dragon. He was cute and loving, but difficult to care for.

Hide-and-seek was one of his favorite games. Hope did not care for the game because it provided her no challenge. When it was the baby Dragon's turn to hide, Hope always won because the Dragon did not understand he could not hide behind his wing. When she finally "found" him, he would bounce and shrill with excitement. When it was Hope's turn to hide, the Dragon always won because, no matter where or how well she hid herself, he easily sniffed her out. When he found her, he would cock his head all proud and smug and make a rasping purr.

Wanting her Dragon to be happy, Hope played hide-and-seek.

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