Do You See Dragons in the Clouds?

The following post was kindly contributed by special guest blogger and sci-fi/fantasy author Douglas R. Brown. His works include: The Light of Epertase; Legends Reborn, and a werewolf tale with a twist, called Tamed. Doug has recently released the second book in The Light of Epertase series called A Kingdom’s Fall.

Do You See Dragons in the Clouds?

“It’s a dragon. See the tail and the puff of smoke from its mouth?”

“All I see is a bunch of clouds.”

Being a fantasy writer isn’t much different than seeing magical creatures in the clouds. Yes, I’m saying we are crazy. OK, not really. It is just that a writer needs to rediscover a way to see dragons in the clouds instead of losing that ability somewhere along the way from childhood to adulthood. Sure, there are rules to writing, time restraints, and other obstacles to becoming a writer, but at the heart of it all is finding one’s imagination again.

Let me give you an example. My full-time job is as a firefighter/paramedic on a large urban fire department. In the district where I work, there is a street named Bluefield. I’ve driven that street hundreds of times with my firefighting coworkers without a second thought. But while I was neck deep in writing my third installment in my Epertase trilogy, one day it became clear I hadn’t shut off my creative juices before going to work. We took a call to Bluefield, as we often did, and when I saw the sign, I thought “Hm. The blue fields.” As I thought about actual blue fields, I came up with blue fields of sorrow. It just kind of flowed. I was inspired, not because of some major incident in my life but because of a simple name on a street sign. If I hadn’t relearned how to see dragons in the clouds a few years ago, I’d have never given the street named Bluefield a second thought. But I did. And you know what? It gave me a super cool section to my final Epertase installment.

That’s how a lot of ideas have come to me. It’s not as much because I’m some special creative person as it is that I’ve opened that creative door in my mind that often gets closed by other people with the stresses of growing up. If you want to write, especially fantasy or fiction in general, my best advice is to open that creative door again.

There is a lot to being an author, including hard work, a grasp of the language in which you are writing, and a measure of talent for telling stories. But the most important element, I believe, is that of imagination.

Ok, so it wasn’t a dragon I saw in the clouds . . .

It was a gigantic turtle with a long tail blowing a bubble. Hey, that gives me an idea for a children’s book.

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