Lester D. Crawford is a writer of speculative fiction who enjoys creating science fiction and fantasy stories that explore relationships between contrasting characters and the struggles that bring them together. He revels in science and technology and spent many years working in the information technology profession. Living in the Pacific Northwest also allows Lester to enjoy photography and outdoor activities when not writing or thinking about writing. You can follow him on Twitter as @LesterDCrawford and on Facebook as Lester.D.Crawford.Speculative.Fiction.
Lester D. Crawford Blog
My Favorite 2018 Reads
I read quite a few books this year. Science fiction, fantasy, science fact, memoirs, current affairs, history, skill building, and self help are a few of their categories. I learned many things and I was entertained. These six are among my favorite reads in 2018.
- “The Lost Continent” by Tui T. Sutherland
- “Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire
- “Tess of the Road” by Rachel Hartman
- “My Lady Jane” by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
- “Space Opera” by Catherynne M. Valente
- “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover
by Lester D. Crawford
Santa said, “There are two kinds of people: those who are on the naughty list, and those who are not.” He handed me my gift and added, “Both receive the same gift. Karma sorts things out.”
I love my gift. She’s wonderful. And, karma taught me which list I’m on.
It had been a little sneeze, but now I sit in the yard, in the snow, the cute baby dragon curled up in my lap, asleep, innocent and sweet, smoke still rising from her nostrils as I watch my house burn, the flaming Christmas tree still framed in the window.
My 100-word Christmas story for 2018.
Keep Pushing, Keep Improving, and Keep Having Fun
For years, I’ve practiced the craft of writing fiction. The scale of the subject is sizeable. Every author has their own take on the topic and each has their own process for achieving success. By studying what these people teach, and by writing close to a million words, I’ve developed my process, a process that accommodates my personality and idiosyncrasies. I may never be a master, but I do constantly improve.
This year I’ve applied my process to short stories. The turnaround time for creating a short story as opposed to a long form novel has allowed me to rapidly practice story structure, character change arcs, and other details of story theory. Each story has strengthened my skill set. And, each story has been wonderful. I am proud of my accomplishments.
I’m going to keep pushing, keep improving, and keep having fun.
Character Change Arc as Story Driver
Normally, I know the plot of a story first. Then I lay over that plot the main character’s character change arc. These two steps happen so close together, there’s not really a delay between developing the plot and the character change arc. With my current project, however, I did not have the plot figured out. I only knew the essence of what needed to happen.
To solve my dilemma, I set the plot aside and concentrated on the main character’s character change arc. Once I knew how the character would change, I returned to built a plot to support that change.
Over the years, I’ve studied many resources about character change arcs and feel comfortable with them, but to help with my current effort, I decided to review and refresh my thinking. I reread K.M. Weiland’s article series How to Write Character Arcs.
I was amazed how that gave me insights and ideas about my characters and the story plot. More details are still to be developed as I outline, but I’m excited about where the story is going.
Fantastic Insights Occur
I’m a planner, which means I know my story before I begin writing. However, that does not mean I don’t discovery write. The plan provides the structure for the story, but the details that complete it I discovery write.
During the writing process, fantastic insights occur. For example, in my most recent short story, I discovered the dragon has a thing for rocks. When she finds a rock large enough to sit on, she jumps on it and says, “This rock is my rock.”
That affinity for rocks then grew into a backstory where the dragon collects smaller rocks, her hoard, which she enjoys sitting on. That detail is not revealed in the short story, so I feel compelled to write another story with this character so I can explore her rock fetish.
I’ll put that one on the to-do list because I another stories to write first.
The rush from having these fun insights and ideas is part of the reason why writing is addictive. I’m always looking for another flash of insight, another spark of an idea, another fix for that addiction.