Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Writing Exercise for Blog Action Day's Focus on Poverty
Or…The Dragon has a challenge for blog visitors
By Fantasy Author Sandy Lender

Several of the inspirational topics discussed at Today the Dragon Wins have served the purpose of getting writers writing. Today's global discussion on poverty will be no different. I invite you to get out your pen and paper and think not just of how you address this social and economic issue in your fiction, in your world-building, in your creations, but also of how you solve it. What solutions do you work into your characters' actions? And could those solutions be of use to us in the real world?

When I built the fantasy land of Onweald for my Choices trilogy, I did so over many years. Each character has a family tree and history that doesn't necessarily have a place in the published books you can find at Barnes & Noble, but does have a place in the development of the world I created. Poverty and the struggle for basic survival held sway over many characters' lives. But "being poor" isn't usually limited to just one family or just one neighborhood. Depressed areas grow like a fibrous tumor when there's drought, famine, economic uncertainty, etc. Consider outside forces that affect transportation, and thus commerce. Consider the lack of education in an area that keeps its youth from forming the ideas and breakthroughs that would make farming, mercantile, science, and health care progress into new careers, new foods, new technologies, or new mindsets.

In the first novel of my trilogy, Choices Meant for Gods, I brush the surface of a story from the world's past when poverty was widespread in the southeast corner of Onweald. An enterprising gentleman's foresight and willingness to fix the shipping problems at the nearest harbor gave way to safe, efficient trade and gave the people of the area a slow climb into development and less struggle. It's that type of solution to poverty that a fiction writer gets to put into motion with just the wave of the magic pen. One person makes all the difference. One person takes a stand and says, "I'm willing to make a change."

Sometimes global change can start with one person doing a kind act. In that same novel, an orphan on the run from a madman arrives penniless, homeless, and injured at a great estate. The master of that estate sees her as a danger—could the madman follow her and threaten his family? But the lady of the estate looks on her with compassion. The lady of the estate sees her as a human being suffering from poverty and lack. The lady of the estate is just one person who performs the kind act of taking her in, healing her, feeding her, clothing her, and offering her shelter from the evil outside their walls. In turn, the lady learns that she has saved the life of the most important figure in her society.

Maybe the real-life actions we take to help those who suffer in our real-world society look small to us at times. We're just people. But consider the effect a kindness has on the person receiving it. Put that kindness in your writing exercise today and see what real-life solutions you might reveal for poverty.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
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