Back in my fanfic days (discussed here), I hosted lots of people’s stories on my website. One of them was a guy named Ryan Carroll.
While reading fanfics, I learned to judge people by what they wrote or drew–particularly their self-inserts. If a person’s sert was psycho, or stuck-up, or really nice, so was the writer. Ryan’s sert was always really nice–a fun-loving nerd who found a way to travel to other worlds.
We were friends from high school, through college, and on into our 20s. I was friends with lots of people online, but Ryan was the one I had multiple crushes on–and I only knew him as words on a screen.
As we got older, he took his stories and characters and began stripping away the fanfiction aspects, building these characters into their own fantasy world. We had long conversations about Carda, Xironi, Demetrius, and how the angeli differed from real angels. We hammered out how to make an adoptable robot pet from GaiaOnline into a character. (“Let’s name her Esca, after Escaflowne!”)
We started writing story episodes together. I invented Indal, the chronomancer werewolf, because there was a sad lack of werewolves in Ryan’s universe. There also weren’t many male characters–he had loads of girls, though. (And I had loads of guys!)
We came up with the Strider of Chronos idea while writing these stories. Originally we had Carda finding out about it through a series of secret journals that were hidden across multiple worlds. We had this nasty thing called the Subspace Storm that changed every time we wrote about it. Sometimes it was an actual storm. Sometimes it was a disembodied soul disrupting the space between dimensions. Once it was the perpetually exploding home world of the cat people.
Meanwhile, we slowly went from emails to phone calls. We met in real life, which was awkward, but kind of fun. We kept building the Spacetime world. One particular episode, when the Subspace Storm sank Atlantis, was especially fun to write. I’m still sorry that it didn’t make it into the finished book.
Time went on. We got engaged long-distance, and aside from a few holidays spent together, we lived in separate states until a week before the wedding. It was awful. I don’t recommend it.
Once married, we took long walks together and continued developing the world. “What about Demetrius?” I asked. “There’s got to be more to him than a mustache-twirling bad guy.”
At the time, the main series villain was Octavian, and Demetrius was this demon-dude that he summoned all the time.
We combined the two characters, and figured out that Demetrius was in love with the fallen angelus Inferna. They did the whole Adam and Eve thing–she sinned first, and he followed her lead. He may wind up as an antihero in the final book, though. Ryan and I are quite fond of him.
We decided to turn this into a fantasy novel. I took Ryan’s notes and old drafts and began writing it. A couple of drafts in, I found a lovely little critique group called the Sandbox. Everybody there at the time has moved on to being published, or very close to it. We were a hungry bunch, and happily brutal on each other’s work. I learned how much I didn’t know, and began consuming craft books. They introduced me to James Scott Bell, among others. Cue heavenly choir here.
I also tried my hand at Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writer’s Month. This gave rise to the second and third books, both of which took several rewrites to distill the story from the fluff.
There was also a proto book 2, involving blood magic, a dragon, and a really big, angry robot–but it had so many problems that I scrapped it. I reused a few elements for the upcoming fourth Spacetime book. (I couldn’t leave the giant robot idea alone.)
Ryan, meanwhile, has been brainstorming the second Spacetime series (we’re calling it Season Two), which will follow the Spacetime War and a batch of new characters. The old characters will show up, of course.
All in all, Spacetime has taught me so much about writing. I’ve done plenty of things wrong, but then, that’s how experiments are. (Apparently the one I got very right was Chronocrime, because one of my friends goes back and reads it every year.)
The fourth book, which I hope to launch in June, is called Magic Weaver, and features the catgirl Xironi, and how she weaves space into portal-tapestries. She befriends Revi, the heroine of Wraithblade, and together they have all sorts of crazy adventures. There are robots. There is a tiny white dragon. There is a person who has had their free will removed by taking all probabilities out of their timeline.
Ryan and I are excited for this book, because it leads straight into book five, the series finale called Inferna’s Fury. Clues as to what will happen are scattered throughout the earlier books.
The first three books are (hooray!) available on all retailers. I’m so excited! It’s been such a long road with this series. Check them out! The Strider of Chronos, Chronocrime, Wraithblade, and the upcoming Magic Weaver.