Hurry Up and Wait
You know...there was a time when the ONLY 'series' on the whole website was "New Kid In School". That was it, no more. And considering that the chapters were shorter, the themes were less complicated, the sex was out in full force, and the site/email/message boards/chats weren't anywhere NEAR as busy and hectic as they are now...a chapter every week or every two weeks was easily manageable. Even with a busy offline schedule, I had a chance to put out a continuing chapter on a somewhat regular basis without huge gaps in the storyline. But a lot has changed since then, and the series' have gotten to a point where they are all over the place! Hehehe! But they are always in constant motion, waiting for a new chapter to be completed, and this section is dedicated to knowing the process a little bit better.
What determines a series from the stand alone stories? It really just depends on what I have to say with it, and how long it takes for me to say it 'naturally'. You know? I can remember trying to get a story done in a single chapter, fit the sex in, have a point, make it believable, and still have some romance in it as opposed to "I met this really cute boy, turns out he's gay, and we had hours of hot sex". Back then, all of the chapters had sex in them. Explicit, detailed, sex. It was the 'grand finale' for each chapter, so I made sure it was in there somewhere. Sure, some stories had a sequel, some even had more than one, but they were all seperate incidents. Seperate stories with a seperate series of events (usually involving some kind of conflict in their newfound relationship). "New Kid" was the only story on the whole site that was treated as an actual 'soap opera' type series. And if you look back, even THAT didn't really become a 'series' until after chapter 4 when Tyler moved into town and it was established that he, too, was gay. Tyler, and the conflicts he brought with him, are basically the reason that "New Kid" is still around today. He brought the story to a level where a continuous plot could be linked together through all of the chapters and made it possible to keep things moving. Then others like Matt and Sam, Wil and Tommy, Ariel, Wilson, Hailey, Randy's Dad, and others came in to push it further. None of the other stories had that in the beginning.
The next big breakthrough happened with "A Class By Himself", which just happened to have that little extra 'something' that caught people's attention, and made a series worthwhile. The characters had a lot more to say than just that first chapter. And when the second one went over so well, the idea of the rich and poor separation between Tanner and Derrick became a factor that could be explored many different ways. As the story grew, Chris was added to the 'cast', and he created a different set of situations that made it easy to further the storyline, so did Tanner's mom, and now Derrick's friend Joel. These two stories were never MEANT to be a series at all! But they grew into a series because the characters and the lives they lived, led to other things. Those things had consequences, which led to resolutions, which led to questions, which had to be answered, which pushed the story into more and more chapters. After a while, the characters become so 'attached' to me that it's really hard to end a series at all. They have actual lives, and it's fun to write out what happens to them. You know?
Later on, there were some other series born almost instantly, and each chapter got longer and longer as I tried to get everything out that I wanted to say. Finally reaching the somewhat 'set standard' of a 40K to 45K chapter. I still try to adhere to that today, even though I go over more times than not. I moved away from the sex a bit more, and concentrated on the characters ore. Then...came "On The Outside". Why was it so important? Because it was the very FIRST new story on the Shack that didn't involve sex in the first chapter! It was the first story that I had ever taken my time and let the relationship build VERY slowly over time. When it was posted, and was SO well received by everyone reading...it made it 'ok' to have sexless chapters and the like in the stories and serials from then on. And now, a lot of them don't, not until later in the series. Sometimes MUCH later! The story went beyond the sex, outside of it, and there was a LOT to say, more than I could fit into one chapter. So I figured I'd make it a 4 part mini-series. As you can all see....that didn't work at ALL! Hehehe!
Nowadays, since there is a ton of emotions and dilemmas that I want to touch on with every story, almost everything I write becomes at least a MINI-series immediately. I begin with a set up in every first chapter, but it then spills over into a second chapter, then a third, then a fourth, and so on. There is no way in hell I can put a full dose of emotion into a 15K chapter like I used to when I first started. It wouldn't work. I'd have to skip a LOT of stuff, and it's that extra detail, the flirting, the glances, the shyness, the giggles, the doubts...that make love so special. So scary. So FUN! I want all of that to be a part of my writing. So most times, when you see me posting a new story, you can expect it to go on for at least two or three chapters minimum. "On The Outside" opened a lot of doors as far as me being able to take my time with developing the feel and the flavor of a story, and truly pouring a lot of energy into making it worthwhile.
I always laugh with Eggy when we talk about the characters in our stories, because we always refer to them as 'tempermental actors' on the set. Hehehe! And it's TRUE! I might have a seemingly flawless plan for how I want a chapter to go and what I want to happen...but my 'actors' might not agree with that and take the chapter a completely different way entirely! It's like, Ryan and Randy fold their arms and go, "Uh...Comsie? My character wouldn't say that. It should go more like this.." And I end up folding more times than not. That's just the way that I write. If it doesn't feel natural and easy, then I don't try to force it. Every character has a personality and a hstory and a presence in each series. It might be funny to have Ariel dance on a table in the lunchroom and give Tyler a huge kiss on the lips in front of everybody...but that's not in his 'character'. Ariel's a shy guy, and accident prone, hehehe...so no matter what I might be thinking at the time, if 'he' says he's not doing it, then he's not doing it. Pure and simple. That goes for all of the other stories too.
However, the downside to all of this, is that my plans for each chapter and the series as a whole get thrown pretty far out of whack most of the time. I write from beginning to end, and I honestly never know how a chapter is going to end until I'm actually in the midst of writing it. Then, I get close to the 40K mark, figure "I'll start wrapping this up now with this and that and such and such", and voila....you have a new chapter. Finished and ready to read. Then, I try to pick it up from there in the next chapter and see how far my actors are going to throw it off THIS time! :)
Anyway, despite the unpredictable, and sometimes puzzling, nature of writing this way, it really does help me bring the kind of life to the characters that I want to create. And even though that means that events I had planned for chapter three might not happen until chapter TWENTY THREE due to all of this extra circumstances and all...it's still the most comfortable way for me to do it.
Ok....now I'm going to try to explain one of the most EXTREMELY, painfully, excruciatingly, frustrating parts of the whole process! At least as far as YOU guys are concerned! Hehehe! Ok, listen, I am ALWAYS writing! ALWAYS! I PROMISE you that! It's gotten to the point where a part of my day is missing if I don't write something before I go to bed! Seriously. It's as neccessary to me as breathing is. Nothing has really been 'discarded' or forgotten about as far as the series are concerned. If I left it open, then it's getting a sequel. However, I write according to the mood I'm in and according to how it's flowing for me at that particular moment. So I might work on one story one day, and another the next day, and go back to the first one after that. If those two stories don't fit my mood, I might start a 3rd one. Then, when all of those little bits and pieces and additions get close to the end (sometimes for three or four stories at once), I finish them off, edit what I can, and put them out there for you to read. Simple, right? Sure...on MY end! To YOU guys, however, it looks like a much more sadistic act on my part.
Ok, understand...you may REALLY love "New Kid In School", and I'll work hard to finish it up and post it! But...while you're reading that, the "Class By Himself" fans have to wait. While I finish and post that one, the "On The Outside" fans have to wait. While I work on THAT, the "My One True Weakness" fans have to wait! And I won't even get STARTED on fans of "Magic Man" and "Gone From Daylight"....which take almost a half year (MINIMUM!!!) each to finish and get perfect on top of all the other stuff Im working on! So for every story I post, there are fans of maybe five or six other stories that have to hold their horses until the chapter for THEIR fave story gets finished. And by the time I burn off a new chapter for them ALL (Which takes a LOOOOONG time), the fans of "New Kid" are desperate again because they realize it's been months since they had the last chapter! You see what I mean? I'm ALWAYS writing, but in the time it takes me to finish a 'round' of chapters for each series, the others have become neglected again. I can only do one at a time, and by the time it comes full circle again to your personal fave, months and months might have passed you by. That's why it takes so long. I might get a burst of inspiration for one story or another, burn through 20K worth of writing in one sitting, and then bring out a new chapter early. Other nights, I'm emotionally drained from work, or I'm tired, or the phone is ringing, or I have unexpected company...and nothing gets done. Then some nights I'm here, and my writing feels awkward and sloppy. And I KNOW that if I force myself to keep writing anyway, that I'll just end up really hating it, erasing it, and having to do it all over again. Or possibly having this horrible blotch that ends up ruining the whole series. So I don't write much at all those nights. But trust me when I say that I haven't forgotten any of the stories that I've posted and left at an unfinished point. Most of them are probably in my files near completion as you read this. K?
Easily put...I have no idea. ::Giggles:: I think that I just wing it most of the time. Since I only write certain stories when I'm feeling a certain way, I'm just more 'into the moment' and it makes it easy to remember what I'm doing. For example, I might being have another fight or an issue with my father, or recalling some awful memory after having a bad day at work....and start working on "My Only Escape". It's easy to keep the characters straight in that story when I'm in that mood, because the boys I created to carry out that particular emotion for me kinda represent the way I'm currently feeling. (If that makes any sense, let me know! Hehehe!) So whenever I'm writing, I'm already in a mode where the characters act and react naturally in accordance with what I'm thinking.
Now there HAVE been times when I've gottena bit mixed up! Believe me! There was one time in particular, where Justin from "Gone From Daylight" was on my mind, and Ariel from "New Kid" was on my mind, and I wrote out an entire conversation between the two of them before I realized that Ariel was not supposed to be in "Gone From Daylight"! That was supposed to be DYLAN that Justin was talking to. Hell, at one point I even forgot Ryan and Randy's ages for crying outloud! And there are other times when I get my names mixed up or find myself repeating something that I might have used in another story, and get a little crazy with it. Especially on those nights when my muse is active and I'm writing for long periods of time. When I start getting tired or uncomfortable, my mind might wander a bt away from what I'm doing. Strange.
Overall, I guess it just works out that I happen to be really involved with what I'm doing while I'm doing it. Outside of that...I'd probably forget most of my own stuff. Hehehe! There are already many people online who know my stories better than I do, so don't doubt it!
Over? Wow...tough question. "Gone From Daylight" Was originally going to be done with in three chapters. "On The Outside" was going to be a two parter. "New Kid" was going to end at it's 25h chapter. Who knows? New ideas pop up all the time, new characters, new plot twists...it all happens automatically. It's HARD to end them sometimes. Not that I couldn't work something out where I could bring it to a close and make it complete. But the thing that's important to me is that you guys realize that these people and their lives extend before the first chapter and beyond the last chapter. That, if I were to end the story, you could easily be left with the idea that they will go on and still have good times and bad times, and if a year or two from now I decided to start the series up again or make a sequel series....you could jump right back into it without being lost or having to rentroduce yourself to the characters. They should be a part of you, like friends of yours that you carry with you even when they're not around. If I can find an effective way of doing that without chopping off a series' head by cutting it too quickly, then great. If I find a series where I've said all that I can say and it's 'done' in my mind, then great. But I still have some ways to go for most of these series on the site, and the more I try to finish up one chapter, the faster the NEXT chapter comes into fruition. So I guess it's going to be a 'wait and see' type of thing.
And that's it! That's pretty much how the series get made and how I try hard to keep them all going at once without messing them up beyond the point of repair. If I was only writing one complete series again, it would be MUCH easier! But I'm dividing a lot of time and emotions amongst a horde of completely different stories at once, and that makes it downright IMPOSSIBLE to write 'em as fast as you guys read 'em! But no matter what, when that new chapter that you've been waiting for comes out and gets posted on the site, you can be SURE that it will be worth the effort I put into making it shine for you all. :) Kewl? Enjoy! And keep reading!!!
This page was last updated on February 11, 2016.