While I feel I already covered a lot of ground on my personal thoughts on my more recent works in the "Milestones" post, I figured that, seeing as my stories are hitting milestone viewcounts one after another, it might be time to revisit some of my stories and discuss my thoughts on them, and what went into writing them.
While this post may be embellished slightly, I should preface this by stating that my memory is not the best that it could be. While I have fairly good reading comprehension, and can relay the basic overview of a book or film or what-have-you that I've seen or read, when it comes to personal things, especially my life experiences, my brain tends to remember how I felt during those times more than it remembers what elicited them.
I'm certain that anyone who's even given my page or works the most cursory glance with their mature filter off has already read An Unholy Matrimony at least once. Since I published it well over two years ago (though the last update was January of this year, for grammatical reasons), it's gone on to amass over 4,000 Unique Views, making it the most viewed story on my account. While I am very proud of the achievement, and I'll be very grateful when I manage 5,000, I had to figure out just what was it that got people hooked. So I did the only thing that was sensible.
I re-read the story, front-to-back.
Those who know me well enough will know I rarely ever read my own stories over. However, I have two particular reasons for doing so. The first reason is to see how it holds up from the perspective of an author, and the second is to re-learn background details about a few particular characters, as readers of Hand in Hoof will notice that Archnid is a supporting character.
One thing that tends to keep me from reading my stories retrograde is a feeling that very often pervades a lot of authors, including myself: I fear that, upon revisiting, I might want to go back and make changes and revisions, to the point where I end up completely redoing it, much in the same way George Lucas went about redoing the original Star Wars trilogy. Even a couple of the a-list authors on this site have drastically re-tooled their fics to either make them better or conform to canon.
So, with this in mind, how does it fare when looking back?
To my surprise, it holds up pretty well. The story, though predictable at points, is enough to get invested in, and I can see why people got into it. If the comments are anything to go by, it was more about the development of the relationship than the actual coitus that ensued. Thinking on it, I think the better parts of the story were my use of dialogue (especially some clever alliterative appeal) and the interaction between the characters. There are errors here and there, and at some points, I do think I got a wee bit carried away, but I think in the end, I told a really good story.
So good, in fact, that even months after the additional fourth chapter was added to add an extra bit of closure, people were gnashing at the bit for a sequel. A lot of people.
However, the reason why a direct sequel has never happened is much the same reason that the ending to my second best clopfic Wrapped in the Coil of Sin was so rushed. While I was happy to concede to fan demand and make an extra chapter of An Unholy Matrimony to perhaps close out the story better, and I have had vague ideas on an epilogue for Wrapped in the Coil of Sin—Hell, I've got another potential clopfic on the back burner—by the time I was nearing completion of Wrapped, after months of mental slumping, I was burnt out. I wanted to be done with the story so that I could move on and focus my efforts on a single project again without another story distracting me from that. While I admit, the end result of Wrapped could have been better, it was still an ending enough for me, and that's what counted.
As for An Unholy Matrimony, I'll give it to you very forthright: I have no plans on making a standalone sequel to it. While I understand people want me to, and I do rather like the characters of Recluse and Archnid, I simply have no idea how to continue the story past what's already been done without going into territory that a dozen other HiE fics (my own included) have already tread flat.
However, don't think I'm letting these characters be discarded. I'm not. In fact, they are already appearing in Hand in Hoof, as part of a sublplot. Nothing major, but they will make a brief appearance together soon, and we'll have some character interactions between the Hybrid Regents and Lance's party.
With An Unholy Matrimony sitting at over 4,700, Wrapped in the Coil of Sin just close to 3,500, and Hand in Hoof having just passed the threshold of 3,000, I have only this much to say.
Thank you. Seriously, thank every single last goddamn one of you. Were it not for you guys reading my stories and pushing me ahead with encouragement and ideas, without you people cheering me on, I don't know where I'd be. I know that, compared to some authors on this site, I might just be a tiny drop in the vast pool of authors and stories that are waded through every day, but to know I've got not just one successful story under my belt, but three, and perhaps even more that stand out? That just serves as a reminder that, no matter how slow I may work this craft, no matter how hard I fall sometimes (and believe me, I've fallen at least once or twice, with some pretty noticeable results), I will always have at least one of you giving me that pat on the back to assure me that my efforts aren't in vain.
My singular regret, aside from perhaps not taking care of myself as well I do my stories, is not being able to hug you over the internet. So, I suppose this will do:
Here's to the next thousands, lads!