The Columbian home page

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From fantasy to reality – One Columbia College student’s journey to success

By Amanda Noel

This spring while many Columbia College seniors are anxiously awaiting graduation day and making plans for graduate school, internships or careers in the fall, one CC senior has other things on his mind.

Lucas Davis, an English major, started college with ambitions of becoming an engineer, specifically a robotic engineer, but somewhere along the way his plans changed. Now, while he finishes his degree at Columbia College he is also completing the process of publishing his first book.

Davis’s book, “Prodigy,” is book one of a three-part series called Dragon Prophecies. “I’m currently working on book two,” says Davis. “I’m on Chapter 10, but it’s slowed down because of college. Senioritis is kicking in.”

Davis says he started writing “Prodigy” about three years ago, and it is currently in the editing phase. Davis has yet to release the book, but he says it should be on shelves by the end of this semester.

His publisher, Xlibris, is a self-publishing organization, he says. Davis explained that there are two different methods of the publishing industry: self-publishing and regular publishing. “Now, with the self-publishing route, this is an original story. It has elements from Eragon and D&D [Dungeons & Dragons], but I wanted to make it my own,” says Davis. “The other route would have been the publishing route, where I produce a transcript and a whole bunch of people read it, and then it’s out there and you don’t have any claim over it. Then somebody purchases the idea from you. I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted complete artistic control over this book.”

Davis was inspired to become an author by his parents along with professors at Columbia College like Dr. Robert Boon, instructor of English, Dr. Johanna Denzin, assistant professor of humanities, and Dr. Pamela McClure, associate professor of English and humanities.

Davis’s brother helped design the cover artwork for his book. His mother and brother graduated from Columbia College prior to Davis. He explained that he began his schooling at Moberly Area Community College (MACC) where he gained an associate degree in art, then came to Columbia College based on the good experiences his mother and brother had at the college.

Davis says the most important thing he’s learned at Columbia College that has helped him on his road to writing a book is “Editing, editing, editing!” He says Columbia College’s Writing Center has helped him immensely. “The Writing Center here has been a gem. Columbia College has really helped me and inspired me. The professors, the Writing Center – all these things have helped me on my way to success.”

Davis advises that if you dream of becoming an author, you must have patience and stamina. “A book is not written overnight,” he says. “It took me three years to write [“Prodigy”] and every bit of another year just to edit it. Even still, I’m not happy with it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy with it because it always needs to be edited, but eventually you’ve got to release the baby out into the world.”

This is the eighth or 10th time his book has been edited, he says. “You have to be open to suggestions, that’s key. You have to be open-minded. You’re not always right. It’s your story – your baby, and you want it to go your way, but you have to be open to interpretation and people’s [opinions], especially editors. Most of the time, they’re right and you’re wrong, and you have to learn that. It’s really hard to accept that. It’s hard to say that you’re wrong.”

After his book is published, Davis has no immediate plans for graduate school in the fall. Davis explained that he still has to take the GRE, which is vital before going on to a master’s program, and he hopes to eventually get his PhD. He wishes Columbia College had a master’s program in English. “Hopefully, I don’t get burnt out,” he says. “The real world is calling me, but school comes first, and Columbia College has helped me set my priorities straight.”

“Dragon Prophecies: Prodigy” by L.B.B. Davis, coming soon!

Sneak peak

“Prodigy” is a fantasy novel about a dragon named Lukhanus. It takes place in a surreal world called Lemuria. Davis says he projects himself and his ideas into the main character who is thrust into a world of racism and elitism by other dragon clans. There are five dragon clans in Lemuria who are the “top dogs;” however, Lukhanus is different. “He’s pretty much a homebody. He doesn’t go out, but he’s safe tucked away in his home and with his loving parents and his friend Bar,” says Davis. Bar is a talking werewolf-like creature, called a Knoll (except there is no transformation from werewolf to human), Davis says. The plot is a basic conflict between good and evil. Davis classifies “Prodigy” as a teen-adult book. He says, if it were made into a movie, he would rate it PG-13 because there is some violence and profanity.

Photo credits:
  1. Lucas Davis proudly displays his finished book "Prodigy." Photo by Amanda Noel.
  2. “Prodigy” cover artwork designed by Davis’ brother. Image courtesy of Lucas Davis.

No comments: