Apology + Reflections
December 30, 2015
Yeah… it’s been a while. Life happened, and by the time I got back to AUSOS, I realized I hated it/it wasn’t the story I had originally wanted to write.
I’ve been struggling on and off over the past two years or so about how to deal with this. On one hand, I’m already practically DONE with the story, and I know people had enjoyed it, no matter how I personally feel about it now. I definitely owe an ending to those of you who haven’t just completely forgotten about this — I’m really sorry that I’ve left you hanging for so long.
But at the same time, every sentence I typed was like pulling teeth. I even considered whether it might be a good idea to just rewrite the stuff I hated or something, but that would be no minor project: looking back at what I’ve already written, I have a hard time pinpointing exactly “where it went wrong”. It would really have to be a complete overhaul, not just tweaks and extra scenes. And because of how close to finishing I already was, I felt especially bad about even considering a reboot, and every time I worked on other things out of frustration I felt extremely guilty as well.
I can tell you what I deeply regret: AUSOS was the first time I attempted writing with a “real” outline. Despite my prior experiences in the fanfic realm, I was extremely nervous about serializing an original story for the very first time. I convinced myself I had to have everything planned out so that I wouldn’t write myself into a corner, that following an outline was a necessary skill for me to develop as a writer if I wanted to become more self-disciplined.
Ironically, I ended up writing myself into a corner anyway by adhering so closely to the outline. (Some of my favorite parts of the story as it stands were actually written when I couldn’t figure out how to make the outline work while trying to keep to the schedule and just wrote whatever came to mind.)
… I didn’t fully realize the outlining was an issue, though, until I started experimenting under a different pen name and suddenly started finishing things left and right again. To be fair, it’s not like I don’t plan ahead even without an outline — I have always been what I think of as a “milestone” plotter with key scenes in mind that I write around — but the real trap I fell into with AUSOS was how stubbornly I wanted to cling to specific pacing/plot beats/twists when the story maybe demanded something different, just because I felt like I had already “committed” to a certain vision and ought to stick with it. Huge mistake.
So anyway, here’s how things stand right now:
- Episode 23 has been finished for… more than a year. I never posted it because by then I’d been on hiatus for so long that I wanted to just do one final update dump as an apology. That clearly didn’t work out.
- Episode 24 is in fragments. There’s a major twist in that chapter that I’d actually laid a lot of groundwork for, but when I finally reached the reveal, it still didn’t feel right.
- Episode 25 is also in fragments. It’s primarily about the fallout of the twist above.
- Episode 26: The last few lines are written — they were among the first lines I wrote for the story. The rest of what it was supposed to include according to the outline mostly feels like filler, in hindsight.
Basically, I’ve been sitting on this for almost two years now, and despite thinking I might as well just finish it and compile the ebook as I had originally planned, I’m just not happy with the end product, and not in the usual writerly “everything I write is terrible” way. Even when I write things that I think are complete crap, I’d like to at least believe in the story and in my own creation, and there are simply too many things that bother me (and have been bothering me) about AUSOS, without any easy fix.
I’ll be posting Episode 23 next week. It exists, it’s done, I might as well. As for the rest… I don’t know if anyone out there is still reading this or cares at all, but would you prefer to read the rest as a short summary, the fragments, fragments + summary…? The outline itself is nonsensical and not understandable to anyone but myself, but I feel like I should at least offer some closure for the readers who still care.
(Hope you all had a great 2015, and happy new year in advance!)