Guest post by Jonathan Cortez
Converging Fates Ten Year Evolution
Converging Fates is the sum of my childhood imagination and being bored at a summer job. Like many children, I thought dinosaurs were the coolest thing since Jesus. My friend and I decided to create the fourth Jurassic Park movie, and we did legitimately believe it would be the fourth Jurassic Park movie.
Plot template: crazy scientist doing crazy things; marines search for him on islands and fight dinosaurs. So a sci-fi channel original. In high school, this became a semi-original novel that I worked on infrequently. At one point, I was about 75% done. I still have some of that manuscript, and the writing is horrible. I used so many big words, convoluted sentences, and unnecessary obfuscation. I think some English professors would love it.
After I graduated, I worked full-time in a battery-recycling plant for the summer. My ultra-engaging job was to sort alkaline and nickel-hydrate batteries from nickel-cadmium. To prevent myself from lapsing into a coma, I worked on story ideas. I liked the concept of making my own fantasy universe, and I had a premise.
The big epic fantasies, LOTR, Narnia, Game of Thrones are all medieval settings. More so, there seems to be no technological progress. The Silmarillion covers thousands of years with no mentioning of the elves or men inventing anything. Narnia covers the entire history of a world, with the same lack of progress. I love science-fiction, and I love fantasy, so I decided to put them together and place the classic fantasy races in a futuristic setting. However, I needed a plot and villain.
I had the idea of a teenager from earth getting swept to another reality and live with hyper-aggressive elves, but that was it. I needed a focal point, and the Jurassic Park story was perfect. There was a villain, a plot, and action. There were exciting characters and transferable characters. A stoic marine male colonel easily became Vanyae. Tyrannosaurus Rex became the hydra.
For some reason, I was oddly motivated to work on this story. I wrote almost every day after work, and once college started, my ability to do very little and get decent grades proved most useful. Positive feedback from my friend encouraged me that I had something good. I've read that it's bad to show stories to your friends, because they'll give bias feedback. Maybe for short stories, but I wouldn't read a full novel on Open Office if I didn't really like it, and I don't think any of my friends would either.
I finished the manuscript in about six months. I had done three rewrites, which I believed was enough. I would talk about my query rejection process, but since I never got an agent, I don't really know what I was doing wrong.
I went back to the manuscript several times over the next two years. A month before I signed a contract, I finished the biggest rewrite, reducing the story by almost 20,000 words while expanding on description.
In previous rewrites, I only made minimal alterations. I felt that my story was complete and thus, there should be no major changes. You can't really be right or wrong in writing, but I think that after two years, I had developed enough as a writer, and I had enough of rejection, to realize major changes were beneficial.
Some of the things I removed will be making appearances later on: some character flashbacks, some origin myths, and a completely deleted significant character. However, they unnecessarily complicated this story and unbalanced the pacing.
The lessons I take from this: childhood is really important, but for some reason, it's often ignored. Go to a famous person's Wikipedia page, their childhood section will be very small, but I had a wonderful imagination then, and I don't see any reason to waste those ideas. Next, don't convince yourself your manuscript doesn't need major changes just because you declared it finished. There's never really a time when it's actually done (as the notes in my copy of CF testify to), but don't let it be too easy for you to stop major revisions.
Reagent Universe, Book 1
Publisher: Fresh Publishing
Date of Publication: 03 June 2013
Cover Artist: Jen Detchon
Deep in the remote Undervalley, a scientist is creating a portal that will link two universes. Never mind the damage his research does. A taskforce of elves and humans must hunt him down before he destroys their universe. The elves hold the key, Mahavir, a human abducted from the other universe. He is the link between universes, and his death may prevent a disaster. But Mahavir has no intention sacrificing himself for others.
About the Author:
Jonathan Cortez is a graduate of Penn State Behren, with an Associate of Arts degree.
He was an avid reader and writer from a young age, but even before that his story-telling and world-building skills blossomed while playing with Lego. He largely developed his writing craft on his own.
Jonathan is a big fan of science-fiction and fantasy, although he only started reading the genres during high school. When not reading or writing, he enjoys watching TV and listening to heavy metal.
He is currently still studying at Penn State. He is also working on the sequel to Converging Fates.