Happy Monday, everyone! Now that I have Mondays freed up on the blog, I have some room to cover a broader range of topics. One thing that I really want to do more is talk about authors who have helped me as a writer. We all have those inspiring authors that stay with us as we write our own stories. And today, I want to talk about the one who had possibly the biggest influence on my writing career.
Bryan Davis is an author whom many of you probably haven’t heard of. He’s written many books and many series, most in the Christian YA sci-fi/fantasy genre, but he’s best known for his Dragons in our Midst series.
And that was the series that changed my life.
I was in fourth grade when Bryan Davis came to my school to talk about writing and his books. One of my best friends had already read all of the books released so far in the Dragons in our Midst series, so she was beyond excited that Bryan Davis was visiting! I, for one, had no idea who he was at that point. However, I already loved reading, writing, and dragons, so I was more than willing to listen to what he had to say.
Funnily enough, I don’t actually remember seeing Bryan Davis that day, but something he said must have hooked me because I asked my friend if I could borrow her copy of Raising Dragons. She agreed, and I tore into that book and its sequel as well. From there, I was captivated, and I waited eagerly for the next two books to come out—as well as the two sequel series afterwards. The final book of the storyline that began with Dragons in our Midst came out my freshman year of college. So yes, from 8 years old to 18 years old, this incredible story written by Bryan Davis grew up as I did. The characters still feel like old friends and the story lives in a treasured place in my heart.
But I didn’t actually realise just how much of an impact these books had on me until many years later as I looked back on my childhood. I was always writing stories ever since I could form sentences; I still have a little pink notebook where I wrote stories about my imaginary pets and me going to the movies and getting ice cream, complete with wacky illustrations. The spelling is awful and the letters are all different shapes and sizes, but they’re the first stories I wrote down (that I know of). Through elementary school, I continued writing here and there, but my output of stories boomed in fifth grade—right after I’d gotten immersed in the Dragons in our Midst series.
I think there were a few reasons why I started writing so much more (I had a fantastic teacher that year who really brought me out of my shell, for one), but looking back now, I’m pretty sure Bryan Davis was one of the main factors. Not only did I devour his books, but I also went to some of his talks on writing. I always came away inspired and encouraged. More stories blossomed out of me, everything from stories about my best friends, my brother, and I becoming pirates, to tales about lonely dragons. In sixth grade, I wrote my first novel in a series of notebooks. In ninth grade, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and completed a 50k-word novel. Later in high school, following another one of Bryan Davis’ talks, I realised that music and writing were my greatest talents that I wanted to use in my career.
Bryan Davis’ books encouraged me every step along the way. Not only did the stories inspire me to keep writing, but they helped me to grow in my relationship with God. And I firmly believe that as my faith developed, so did my writing.
Now, I’m fairly certain that I would still be writing even if it weren’t for Bryan Davis’ books. However, they showed me a really important part of writing that I’m not sure I would have ever thought about on my own. Bryan Davis, and his books, showed me the value of meaningful storytelling, which is the main part of my writing mission today. He taught me that stories shouldn’t be written just to be written, but to teach, encourage, and inform people.
Last week, I reread the Dragons in our Midst series. The books still hold up today as fantastic stories that anyone should read, full of incredible creativity, memorable characters, and deeper meaning that speaks to your heart. But as I read them this time, they reminded me of just how far I’ve come and how these books essentially shaped my writing mission today.
It’s safe to say that I would not be the same person, in more ways than one, without Bryan Davis and the Dragons in our Midst series. Not only did they help me to discover my love for writing, but they uplifted me throughout my writing journey.
One day, I hope to tell a story half as good as my favourite book series, Dragons in our Midst.
In telling meaningful stories, I also hope to encourage others to do the same! One big achievement for me has been writing the guidebook The 10 Lost Elements of Storytelling, where I dive into the critical elements of storytelling and how to use them to craft a meaningful story. This free book will only be available to newsletter subscribers, so make sure to be on the lookout for the email newsletter signup on the blog this week!