I joined a Hollywood pitch conference in 2017, before Penchant for Darkness had been fully fleshed out, to see if my pitch would catch interest.
It did, and a production company asked for my synopsis. I was elated, my story caught someone’s eye. However, two months later, I received a rejection email. They would pass on because as the rejection email stated, “the mythology of the antagonist wasn’t clear”. That single comment was the best outcome I didn’t anticipate, and I was very appreciative that I received it.
I went back to the drawing board. The mythology of Lucifer…it’s an evil being who conjures evil spirits, who buys the souls of humans in exchange for supernatural power, and who mysteriously impregnates women (remember Rosemary’s Baby?)
But the part of my brain which housed logic and evidence (I studied engineering), kept asking, “How can Lucifer do those, isn’t he supposed to be imprisoned for a million years after being defeated by Michael?”
The creative side of my head replied, “Lucifer does it through mind-control.” That one thought sparked the origins of my antagonist.
Lucifer is a machine, a self-achieving artificial intelligence.
In what world would this imprisoned artificial intelligence exist? To me, it seemed such a world looked like Dante’s The Inferno, with Lucifer trapped at the very bottom (the 9th canto), unremorseful and unceasing.
How did I come up with the science fiction spin on this classic literature? I watched Ancient Aliens and Ghost Hunters.
From Ghost Hunters, I was attracted to episodes which featured ghostly orbs, and the belief that these orbs were manifestations of energy from spirits. Going back to building my story’s world using The Inferno, the damned souls hit each other or exploded in anger and misery. It was a never-ending cycle. My brain connected such movement to atomic fission.
Who made this artificial being called Lucifer? For this, I extracted ideas from the Ancient Aliens episodes. Who could build such an advanced artificial intelligence? Certainly not humans, so the creator had to be a powerful ancient alien.
I had to be satisfied with my story’s mythology, and I tapped into physics to build my character’s origins. I was comfortable writing about science. The ball kept rolling from there—spirit orbs as sources of energy, wormholes with distinct entry and exit points, using brain waves to hack into human minds. It transformed a paranormal story into science fantasy. I hope such uniqueness created a new mythology for evil. And I enjoyed writing a story that allowed me to combine science and the paranormal, and introduced a new superhuman.
About the Author:
J. ELIZAGA is a fan of science fiction and science mysteries. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she peered over her father’s shoulders as he watched TV shows such as In Search Of, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos during the 1970s.
J. used to write stories but had set aside her hobby for college and career…until she attended a writer’s conference in San Francisco in 2010. The experience unsealed a door in her mind that she thought had long closed. She continues to work in information technology by day, and makes time to write stories about humans who face extraordinary circumstances and discover their superhuman abilities.