Last night I finished a novel that I started writing more than seven years ago. It wasn’t the first, or the last novel that I wrote with enthusiasm up to the 90% mark just to burn out on the last hundred yards. I am, of course, happy that I finished it. It’s a quiet kind of happiness: not the kind to make one jump up and down and clap their hands with glee, but more like relief that something that was wrong has finally been righted. I’m also hopeful that it means I might some day finish my other abandoned works and lighten the load of debt and guilt they’ve been weighing me down with.
But at the same time, I’m sad. Sad that it’s done and in a way — gone. A story is born inside the author’s mind, and there it grows and shifts and changes, and so long as it’s not written, it has a peculiar freedom to go in different directions, a potential to develop in different ways. The act of writing turns it from imagination to banal reality and thereby robs it of some of its magic. Infinite possibilities collapse into imperfect words. In a way, a story dies as it’s created.
This is the second in what will hopefully be a longer series of posts where I critique the beginnings of my own stories, written long ago, and try to make them better. You can find the first post here. Today I’ll look at my oldest, dearest and most popular Mass Effect fanfic, Fruit from Palaven.
Six years after abandoning an unfinished draft and six months after starting to work on it again, I’m finally ready to publish After Hours.
This is the story I was talking about in Writer’s Intuition. It’s another Saren/Nihlus thing, set between Signal to Noise and the events of Mass Effect 1. It deals with issues of trust in a passionate but troubled long-distance relationship. It’s the first overtly adult story I’m publishing on this site, and I believe the first I’ve ever written to come with a ‘dubious consent’ content warning. A dark story that was difficult to write. Even talking about it makes me edgy.
But it’s done now, and I’m satisfied with how it turned out. It’s a great relief to finish one more work that’s been on the back-burner for years. I hope my hypothetical readers will enjoy it.
Recently, I bragged about having completed the first draft of my Mass Effect fanfiction novel seven years after starting to write it, and boldly stated that I wouldn’t mind spending another seven years polishing it. But several months into it, I’m ready to go nuts.
(There will be no spoilers. This is about craft and whining. Your suspense is safe with me.)
Mind-blown by this beautiful piece of art, I reblogged it on Tumblr and retweeted it on Twitter and posted in on Facebook and drowned the author, Sixtus/Gladius, with repeated outpourings of praise and glee. But I still have more!