My Watch Says It’s Christmas

My Watch Says It’s Christmas
by Lester D. Crawford

        Christmas. My watch says it’s Christmas. Why do I still wear this thing? On this world, days are longer making my watch useless. Yet, I still wear it. It’s telling me it’s Christmas. I want Christmas. I want a Christmas tree, a tree like I had growing up, a tree that means happiness and joy, and gifts. I want Christmas. Instead, I’m on this God forsaken alien planet, hiding, hunted by a huge, carnivorous monster, a dragon who stalks me, a dragon who wants me for his Christmas dinner. I must move. I need a better hiding place. Merry Christmas.

Click here to hear MP3 audio file of “My Watch Says It’s Christmas”

This 100-word story is for the “Advent Ghosts 2011” flash-fiction challenge as described on Loren Eaton’s blog I Saw Lightning Fall, in post: “Shared Storytelling: Advent Ghosts 2011,” with links to submitted stories posted here: “Advent Ghosts 2011: The Stories.”

A Work in Progress

The Dragon Universe is a work in progress.

For years, I had the basic story in mind, but not until the path of my life led me to the place where I am now did I have the opportunity and incentive to write the legend. I intended the book to be 100,000 to 120,000 words. I discovered the narrative to be more far-reaching then I at first imagined. The story world is grander and the alien characters more complex and fascinating than expected. I knew the Dragon character well, having written several unpublished works about him, but the aliens were new to me and turned out not to be what I had originally envisioned.

The first draft became larger than planned even with several areas of the story glossed over. As the second draft filled out those glossed over areas, and deepened the plot, world, and characters, the narrative expanded. I am now convinced the completed legend will be near 500,000 words, too long for a single book.

The story consists of five distinct phases. When I begin the next draft, I will redesign the structure to divide the tale into five volumes. This will make each book a reasonable size and has the advantage of permitting the first volume of the series to go to publication quicker.

Publishing is an entirely different beast. The publishing industry is in a state of flux as the magic of technology changes the world in which we live. When the first volume is ready, I will decide if I should follow the traditional path of seeking an agent to represent the book to publishers, and then endure the rejections and delays that are a part of the traditional publishing process, or go the independent route, or maybe an entirely new world of publishing will have been invented. I will worry about the details of that step when I have to make that leap.

The road I follow leads me on a journey of growth, but has contained more potholes than I expected. Progress is steady as I run the course. I will cross the finish line as the winner.

Science and Technology is Magic

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
— Arthur C. Clarke

The “magic” in my stories is really science and technology. I have scientific (well, maybe science fiction) explanations for everything, even if something appears to be magical, and even if I do not reveal the information in the story. I had discovered the science behind why and how the Dragon bonded with his Rider, but not for why and how the Rider bonded with his Dragon. I kept telling myself, “The story will reveal the knowledge to me, eventually.” In this chapter, it did. That was exciting.

Learning new things about the universe I created for my story causes a dopamine flood in the reward and pleasure centers of my brain, and that creates a euphoric feeling. This makes creative writing addictive. I love it.

Another 10,600 words. This is fun.

Pages and Word Cloud

Pages and Word Cloud

Mozart was a Genius; I have to Work Hard

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) passed away on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35.

Mozart did not “write” music. He conceived an entire piece in his head then “transcribed” the music to paper, flawlessly. His original manuscripts are in perfect handwriting without corrections.

I am no Mozart.

My process for writing my stories involves extensive planning, charting, diagramming, mind mapping, outlining, and simply sitting in the dark as I talk myself through story issues while making notes with a voice recorder. I never write anything that does not require correcting, rewriting, and editing. When the entire process is included, my word count per day seems low, although once I am at the point of actually writing the prose, I can produce 1,000 to 2,000 words per day, with some days hitting 4,000.

Some writers say they produce 10,000 words per day, creating a sizable novel every couple of months. I find it hard to believe anyone could produce anything with a depth of substance and quality doing that. However, they might be a Mozart.

Mozart was a Genius; I have to Work Hard.