A work-in-progress. No publication date set.
Read my flash fiction. On Lester D. Crawford Speculative Fiction, select Flash Fiction.
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
Knocking the Reader Out of the Story
“There’s something wrong in not appreciating one’s own special abilities, my girl. Find your own limitations, yes, but don’t limit yourself with false modesty.”
â€” Sebell to Menolly in Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
Knocking the reader out of the story is something writing mentors warn writers to avoid. I think the concept is one of those nebulous notions that has no clear definition beyond causing the reader to think outside the parameters of the story. I don’t know how to know if something I write knocks the reader out of the story. When reading other stories, I sometimes experience moments of pause and ponder that might be considered knocking the reader out of the story, but those moments do not harm my experience of reading the story.
One such moment occurred when I read the above line of dialogue while reading Dragonsinger. It caused me to stop and think. I felt it was addressed to me. I am suffused with self-doubt. I shouldn’t be. I still have much to learn, but I am good at what I do. I must accept that and not let my doubts or modesty limit me.
Because I stopped reading and began contemplating, was I knocked out of the story? I don’t think so, but if that is knocking someone out of the story, I think it is something to strive for. I want occasionally to make the reader stop and think.
On the other hand, horrible sentence structures, bad grammar, spelling errors, typos, etc., also knocks the reader out of the story. Those kind are bad. Don’t do those.
Clarion West Write-a-thon 2016
Again this year, I am participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon. My goal is to complete drafts of the next two chapters of The Dragon Universe Book 5.
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 in my name on my profile page on the Clarion West web site by clicking on the “Sponsor Lester D. Crawford” button. As a reward for considering donating, my profile contains an excerpt from The Dragon Universe Book 5.
I volunteer with my local emergency services organization. For several weeks I have been preparing full time for a huge, multi-state disaster exercise. This work has taken time away from my writing, but I feel I am contributing to the community by doing it. The volunteer activity also contributes to my writing by enhancing my ability to tell stories containing disasters.
I recommend you also volunteer to help your community. Not only will your community benefit, you too will benefit.
“I believe doing good deeds is the purpose of life.”
â€” Kameekim in Flurfy’s Secret by Lester D. Crawford
The Fairyland Series was a Wonderful Reading Experience
The Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente is a collection of five books, plus a prequel. For me, the whimsical imagery and narrative of the stories created a delightful adventure and was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I have had.
Valente’s writing style in these stories is amazing. While I have no plans to ever try duplicating the style, I wish I had the skill and talent to do so. I am inspired to use what skill and talent I do have to create my own wondrous worlds even if they are not as magical as Valente’s.
Those of you who are just like me* will also enjoy these stories.
(* I am one in a million. That means there are more than 7,300 people just like me. Are you one of them?)
This is A-Through-L. He is a "Wyverary." His mother was a wyvern and his father was a library.
A-Through-L may not be a Dragon, but I love him just the same.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home
The Girl Who Ruled Fairylandâ€”For a Little While
(This is the short prequel published by Tor.com. You can read it at the link.)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making — Book Trailer
Inspiration Is Exhilarating
Often I speak about inspiration. That’s because moments of inspiration provide me the thrill that keeps me hooked on writing. Few experiences are more exhilarating than being inspired.
I needed inspiration. For a few days, I had struggled with a scene whose conflict was failing. My idea for the scene was wrong, which kept it from achieving its purpose. I could not find the actions and emotions to make it work. The characters’ motivations did not fit the situation and their behaviors did not lead to the desired revelation. Then I went to see Zootopia.
I enjoyed Zootopia. I recommend you see it.
In one scene, the two main characters exchanged two lines of dialogue that caused my mind minions to explode. An entire, fully detailed, exquisitely tuned scene came to me that was exactly what I needed for this precise moment in my story. I was ecstatic. I have yet to quit bubbling. After the movie was over, I rushed home and wrote, creating a scene that not only hits the proper action beats, but it hits the emotional beats perfectly to strengthen the relationship between my two main characters. All I had needed was the flash of insight those two lines of dialogue provided me.
I look forward to the next great moment of inspiration.