Archive for May, 2011

Excerpt from The Raven’s Fire, by Dawn Ross – The Keeper of Dragon’s Fire

Posted in Book 2 - The Raven's Fire, Other Stories with tags , , on May 28, 2011 by Dawn Ross
The Keeper of the Dragon's Fire

The Keeper of the Dragon's Fire

I am still working on getting my book together for e-publishing.  It is taking a while because I am bogged down with my full time and part time jobs.

While you are patiently waiting, check out the new website I created for an excerpt from my second book, The Raven’s Fire.  The Keeper of the Dragon’s Fire is the prologue to The Raven’s Fire.  The Raven’s Fire is Book Two of the Dukarian Legacy.  The website to visit in order to read this excerpt is

Book Review – “20 Master Plots and How to Build Them” by Ronald Tobias

Posted in Writing with tags , , on May 21, 2011 by Dawn Ross

20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them

Plots are very important when it comes to writing a book.  Without a plot, you just have a story.  A story tells you what happed, but a plot tells you what happened and why.  If you don’t know why something happens in a story, it can be very unfulfilling and boring.

When I started writing my book, I knew the story.  But in order to make it compelling, I had to make sure I had a decent plot.  So I bought this book, “20 Master Plots and How to Build Them” by Ronald Tobias.  This book was very helpful.  I learned that there is so much more to a plot than just the how and why.  Building a plot is also about building character motivation and significant events.

You may have heard that there is no such thing as an original plot.  Stories have been evolving for thousands of years, you’d think we could come up with something original.  But of all the millions of stories ever told, they all follow basic plot standards.  What makes the story original is the way the story folds around the plot – your characters, the setting, and the story’s twists and turns.

According to Ronald Tobias, there is no real set number of plots.  Some authors have claimed to have more than twenty.  But if you analyze the additional plots, you will find that they are really just a variation of one of the other plots.  Even Ronald’s twenty plots are similar to each other.  For example, the metamorphosis plot is similar to the transformation plot which is similar to the maturation plot.  In the metamorphosis plot, you have a character who changes into something else (like The Fly).  In a transformation plot, you have a character who changes within (like in My Fair Lady or Pygmalion).  And in the maturation plot, you have a character who learns something in childhood which brings him closer to adulthood (like Stand by Me).  All three of these plots are similar in that they are about a change in the character, but Ronald Tobias has decided to make them into three separate plots.

Other plots include the adventure plot (Indiana Jones), rescue plot, rivalry plot, riddle plot (mystery novels), love plot (not as generic as romance novels), and many more.

These 20 plots are guidelines only.  Nothing in story writing is black and white.  Also, your story can have a major plot plus a few smaller sub plots.  Writing a fantasy novel can have many plots.  The hero may rescue a damsel in distress while at the same time trying to solve a mystery or fight off a rival.

To write an effective story, you may want to consider reading Ronald Tobias’ book, “20 Master Plots and How to Build Them“.  You can purchase this book at our affiliate store, Writing a Fantasy Novel.

My Fantasy Art – Inspired by The Dukarian Legacy

Posted in About the Author, Book Art with tags , , on May 14, 2011 by Dawn Ross
Blue Dragon by Dawn Ross
“Blue Dragon” by Dawn Ross

My love for fantasy novels extends to fantasy art.  I love Ruth Thompson, Nene Thomas, Boris Valleyo, Keith Parkinson, and many many others.  While fantasy authors inspired me to write fantasy, fantasy artists inspired me to draw fantasy art.  I didn’t just pick up a pencil one day and start drawing dragons.  I have always been an artist.  My theme has always been animals and/or nature.  You can check out my nature and wildlife artwork at

My first fantasy-like artwork was Horse in Armor.  It was a pencil sketch I drew when I was a teenager.  I had given it to my Grandma.  Several years later when she died, I was given some of her books.  And lo-and-behold, the picture I had drawn for her was laminated and was being used as a bookmark!  It was a very memorable moment.

I didn’t draw fantasy art again until some years later.  I don’t remember what my next one was, but it was probably the Blue Dragon.  Birth of Chaos was next and was inspired by the title of Book Five of The Dukarian Legacy:  Dragon of Chaos.  Cave Fire Dragon is the most recent one I have done.  I actually started it several years ago and put it aside.  When I rediscovered it, the paper was messed up so I had to start all over again from scratch.  It is sort of inspired by Lord Kildas in Book Two of The Dukarian Legacy:  The Raven’s Fire.

My fantasy art is nowhere near as good as the fantasy art of Ruth Thompson and the others.  But it was fun to draw and paint.  I will never be a famous fantasy artist, or even just a famous artist (I may not ever even become a famous fantasy writer), but I just can’t help trying.

Birth of Chaos by Dawn Ross

"Birth of Chaos" by Dawn Ross"


Cave Fire Dragon by Dawn Ross

"Cave Fire Dragon" by Dawn Ross

What Kind of Fantasy Creatures to Use in Writing a Fantasy Novel

Posted in Writing with tags , , on May 7, 2011 by Dawn Ross

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythical Creatures

A fantasy novel should have a fantasy creature, right?  No, not always.  But depending on your fantasy story, you may want to consider it.  When I was writing a fantasy novel, I thought long and hard about what fantasy creatures I should use, if any.  There are so many different kinds… and then variations within those types.  Do I use a stereotyped fantasy creature or make up my own?

Making up your own fantasy creature when writing a fantasy novel can be fun.  It can also be tedious.  You have to describe the fantasy creature and its characteristics in full detail in order to give your reader a picture in his head.  You have to decide what the fantasy creature’s motivation is, how it relates to your story.  And you need to determine what sort of things the fantasy creature can and cannot do.

Even if you use a stereotyped fantasy creature, you still have to decide the details.  But the benefit of using a stereotyped fantasy creature is that you already have a basis for what it should look like and how it is likely to act.  You may not have to put as much details in its making like you would with a new made-up fantasy creature.

Types of Dragons
So what are the fantasy creature stereotypes?  Consider the dragon, for one.  He is often portrayed as a vicious fiery beast bent on destruction and/or occasional farm raids of sheep and villagers.  You also have the more benign dragons full of wisdom and magic.  The most common stereotype of the dragon is that he is guarding something.  It could be treasure, it could be his home, or it could be her egg.  If you are going to use a dragon in your story and he grazes like a cow, he may not be as believable as would a dragon who fits into the common stereotypes.

Types of Fairies
Another fantasy creature with different stereotypes is the fairy.  You have the mischievous wood sprites who like to make trouble, the mystical and magical creatures of the forest, or the magical wish-granting fairies, like the fairy godmother.  A fairy is generally small in size and they are creatures of the wood.  Some have wings, some don’t.  Of course you can make up your own kind of fairy with her own special qualities, but to make her believable, try to use a little bit of the common stereotypes.

Types of Elves
When you think of elves, you either think of the mystic human-like elves like Legolas in Lord of the Rings or you think of Santa’s little helpers.  Like fairies, elves are usually creatures of the wood.

Other magical fantasy creatures include unicorns, centaurs, gnomes, banshees, ogres, brownies, goblins, mermaids, pixies, dwarves, trolls, and so much more.  To get an idea of what these fantasy creatures are like (their stereotypes), check out “The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythical Creatures” by Dempsey, Collison, and Elvin.  Another good book is “The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures” by John & Caitlin Matthews.  The Ultimate Encyclopedia has fewer creatures but more information while the Element Encyclopedia has more fantasy creatures but less information.  Both of these books can be found on our Guides to Writing a Fantasy Novel Bookstore, hosted by