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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.
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None of These Words Came Easily
I struggle at the beginning of every chapter. I review my outline and say, “This part is boring. Maybe I should cut it.” However, I had spent a great deal of time designing the story and the scenes in this chapter are important to the story’s progress. I tell myself it’s here for a reason. I must trust my design and write the chapter and its scenes. In revision, I will make adjustments, but not now.
I fight procrastination to force myself to slog through. Sometimes, great ideas emerge and I begin feeling better. Other times, I simply use craft skills to get the writing done.
Once finished, the same thing always happens. I sit back, read the chapter aloud, and say, “That’s good.” After applying a little editing, I feel even better about it. I like what I write regardless of the weight of my doubts when I first begin.
With every chapter and every scene, as I resist beginning, I tell myself, “When I finish, I will like it. The quicker I write it, the quicker that reward will come.”
Few things are harder than writing those first few words.
Pete’s Dragon Touched Me
The movie Pete’s Dragon (2016) had a few flaws and plot holes â€” I’m sure the Everything Wrong With <Movie Title> people on YouTube will have fun with it â€” regardless, the movie touched me more deeply than any movie I’ve seen. My emotional response was extreme even for someone who is touched by anything sappy.
Those emotions are what I want to capture in my writing.
I plan to see it again so I can have another good cry.
If you have a heart, I recommend you see the movie. Take a handkerchief.
2016 Clarion West Write-a-thon Completed
I completed the 2016 Clarion West Write-a-thon. I changed chapter 1 to better setup chapter 8, enhanced chapter 6, and finished chapters 7, 8, and 9.
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.