Publishing, Writing

The Journey of CHRONOMANCER by Ben Collier

The Journey of ‘CHRONOMANCER’

Posted on October 28, 2020by benjaminfrog

The seeds of the story that eventually became ‘The Final Power: CHRONOMANCER’ were first planted back in 2002, so it’s been nearly 2 decades in the making. I know the timeline because I remember how I was influenced by the first Lord of the Rings film, before the additional influence of reading the trilogy and seeing The Two Towers in theatres, which was late 2002 or possibly early 2003.

The main cast of characters and basic plot of the story have remained mostly unchanged since it was originally conceived. But with other projects taking the forefront of my attention, this one was put aside for a long time.

Roughly 5 years ago I began a personal project of taking all of the fantasy material that I knew of from different fantasy worlds like Middle-Earth, Tamriel and Azeroth to name a few, and fit them all into a single fan-fiction kind of world that I called “Grand Unified Fantasy” – I think just because I had been watching a lot of science documentaries at the time and kept hearing about Einstein’s “Grand Unified Theory” (not at all related.)

This project was begun for one reason, to create for myself singular versions of different kinds of races and groups like elves, orcs, vampires, and the like – creatures that typically have wildly varying rules depending on what story you’re telling. I had seen and heard so many different versions of vampires, and the rules about how they work, that I felt I had to keep making up my own from scratch whenever I wanted to tell a story with them. By establishing my own world with its own rules and myths, I could use that world as a template to build other fantasy stories off of, and then only make any changes that are crucial to the individual story.

As this fan-fic world developed, became more solid, and started getting more and more populated by races and characters of my own invention, I realized that I had put too much work into this world to use it for templates alone. It deserved its own story. So I began the process of either removing or greatly altering elements that were not public domain (a lengthy process of research) until I knew that everything in the world was either my own creation or publicly available. Then I began looking for a specific story to tell through this world.

This world is what eventually became Vel Ardon. And the story I found to tell through it is the same one that had been inspired all those years ago, which fit perfectly into the fantasy world I had formed.

But that was not the end of the process. Early 2016 is when I began writing the story in earnest, and I had a rough draft completed by the end of the year. 2017 was a sabbath year for me, which meant no editing or revising, and I knew I had to not even look at the manuscript until the year was done or else I would be tempted to make changes. So at the beginning of 2018, after an entire year of not even looking at the manuscript, I began revising and self-editing the rough draft until I felt it was ready to send to beta readers and a professional editor, followed by further revisions and self-editing until I finally felt it was ready to publish.

But that alone took an extra two and a half years (with other projects beside) – so much longer than originally anticipated. Not only because it was a longer novel than any I had published before, but also because I was not just telling one story – I was establishing an entire new world. One that I still also intended to be usable as a template for myself to use as a starting point for other fantasy tales. I was editing and revising an entire world with its own cultures, races, and histories.

I’m glad to finally be able to share this world with my readers, and thanks to the talents of artist Kirstie Shanks, I’ve got a professionally designed map to show everyone as well (colour version at top of the page)

I’ve also just un-secreted my CHRONOMANCER board on Pinterest for those who like to have visual aid when readings stories, or who are just interested in seeing kind of images I was using for inspiration as I wrote.

It has been a long journey to get to this point. Thank you for your support along the way!

~ Ben