Symbolism is a literary device that uses one thing to represent something more abstract. I have intentionally used symbolism before in my stories, but sometimes they appear on their own. In the last month, this happened twice in my current project.

First, a picture of a baby dragon with a teddy bear inspired me to have the main character find a stuffed toy animal similar to one she had had before her parents disappeared and give it to the baby dragon. Instead, I decided to give the stuffed toy animal to the main character as the only object she has from before her parents disappeared and left her orphaned, an object that becomes a symbol of her parents. The effect was immediate and remarkable by revealing a new layer to the character’s personality and internal life, and a new method of exposition as she talks to the toy.

Second, in a scene when a teacher tests the main character to evaluate if she has lost proficiency in skills after a prolonged interruption in her training, she is asked to perform a soliloquy from a play, which meant the scene needed a soliloquy for her to perform. I explored several possibilities before settling on a speech about the character portrayed in the play being a symbol that inspires others against oppression. Even though the main character doesn’t’ know it, she is seen by others as a symbol for their own resistance to oppression. Thus, the soliloquy introduces the idea of there being such a symbol. The trick is to have that symbol drive that particular plot thread without having the main character realize she is the symbol.

This is hard work, but it’s fun.

What Promises Are Being Made

As I push forward with my current project, one question I’m asking is “What promises are being made?”

The first chapter explores the main character’s everyday life, which is one of constant threats and daily struggles to survive, and where she has to stay focused and vigilant because danger lurks.

I need to ensure I maintain the mood even as I show she has built a decent life for herself regardless of the threats she continuously faces. It’s a challenge to keep the good and bad aspects of her life balanced so the despair she experiences is not lost.

Then, that decent life is disrupted causing the future to look ever more difficult.

Progress on Current Project Continues

This draft of the story is well into the second act. I’m adding more world building to what’s written as my mind minions keep adding details about future events. My outline covers the entire story, but those pesky mind minions keep adding to it. Moreover, I discover details as I write necessitating going back to set up the needed context to support them. This story is challenging, but I feel good about it.

100-Word Story for Christmas 2023

The Santa-Verse
by Lester D. Crawford

Every Santa is real. I know. I’ve met them.

I invented a transdimensional door. I opened it. A red and green and silver and gold Christmas dragon wearing a Santa hat fell through. He was angry because taking him from his Earth was ruining Christmas.

His Santa Ring’s distress signal summoned more Santas from the Santa-Verse, Santas of every type and species. Chaos ensued. I was sure I would be crushed.

Our Santa brought order by returning the others to their Earths.

He told me to stop making transdimensional doors.

I think, instead of a door, I’ll make a window.


Audio Version of The Santa-Verse

I have a tradition of writing a 100-word Christmas story for the Advent Ghosts Flash Fiction Challenge run by Loren Eaton of the I Saw Lightning Fall blog.

If you wish to explore other people’s stories, check out Advent Ghosts 2023: The Stories.

I Can Do This

“The mother dragon gave me the responsibility to protect and care for the dragon egg. That responsibility is now to protect and care for the baby dragon.”
— Hope in “Hope and the Last Dragon”

Every paragraph, every sentence, every word of this story has been a struggle, but as Hope says, “I can do this.”

I Want to Be Just Like Them

There are people I admire and want to be just like. Their sex, gender, race, creed, heritage, national origins, or any other classification are superfluous and irrelevant. What I’m talking about when I say I want to be just like them is based on their character.

New Blog

When my long-time web hosting provider closed, I lost my 13-year-old blog. I could have brought that blog to my new home, but I decided to start a new blog instead.