To My Wonderfully Patient Readers
(I do not deserve you! –bow scrape grovel-)
So, um, guys... I have a rather guilty confession to make, and I come to you bearing this announcement rather like a beaten dog with its tail between its legs. Of course, I'm saying that because of how painstakingly off-and-on I've been with this story for at least the past two years, and although I've been wrestling with it for months on end, the conclusion I've come to may very well cost me a sizable chunk of my readership. Make no mistake; I feel terrible for doing this to you guys at this point in the story, but it needs to be done.
I think this draft of UG has finally kicked the bucket. I've been wrestling with it for easily a year or more, and at present, the most recent chapter is still sitting at... –checks- Three hundred and fifty-five words, which is even shorter than the first three paragraphs of this author's note. It is also the number it has been sitting at, virtually untouched, since the day I finished the previous chapter. I'm not going to lie, a large part of this is my own fault. I painted myself into a corner by straying recklessly from my original plans for certain chapters, and now it's gotten to the point where I can't really advance the story without going back and basically rewriting entire chapters from scratch. And that, in so many words, is a lot of work that I just don't have the drive for these days.
Never mind the fact that over the course of UG's existence, certain things have changed that are leaving giant, gaping plot holes and obnoxiously obvious inconsistencies, and it's just gotten to the point where, even if I finished this draft, I wouldn't be able to feel proud of it in the slightest. (Which is saying something, as I've never finished anything of this scale before in my entire life.) As things are, much as I absolutely adore everyone who still reads this, I can't help but cringe when new readers come along and get quite possibly their first impression of my work from... well... Unwanted Guardian. Primarily because it is so old, and I can barely stand re-reading it myself due to all of the grammatical errors and the sheer number of times I've done something stupid like use the word, "dilate" instead of "contract," when describing how the size of one's pupils shrinks. (Never mind the truly horrific writing that was employed during some of those sex scenes, 'cause... Wow. Talk about terrible.)
The errors and inconsistencies are absolutely prolific, and much as I love everyone who's stuck with the story thus far – much as I owe you the ending of this story... This thing has become one massive literary insecurity/headache for me. People may leave reviews on chapter three or five saying how much they enjoy it, but I can't help but think, "Oh wow, they're gonna fuckin' bail so fast when they hit the next chapter and realize that the quality has taken a long walk off a very short cliff."
I like to think that I've grown, that I've improved since I was fifteen years old and scrawled out the majority of this story, but... I'm going to be perfectly honest with everyone here. I take one look at the overall story and think, "Oh, god, the sheer multitude of things that need to be fixed. The inconsistencies! Do people even realize that Yami's not a reincarnated pharaoh anymore? Have I mentioned that? And what about Arty's hair? Please don't tell me I've been calling it magenta for the past five chapters when it should still be red and black." Never mind the fact that I was describing a scene from the 1650's while using architecture from god only knows when and clothing from at least the mid-1800's!
I panic. I obsess. I beat the crap out of myself for all these stupid, preventable little snags that have become completely ingrained in the story over the process of developing not just the plot, but the characters. And it's not healthy. It turns the task of working on this six year old project into a chore, and not a particularly pleasant one, either. Each chapter is getting harder and harder for me to write because of that.
That having been said, I may be, in essence, abandoning this draft, but I am in no way abandoning the story. I'm just... starting over. I'm tightening up the story, I'm plugging holes, I'm smoothing the wrinkles, and I'm hacking the fuck out of all those useless fluffy scenes that I thought I would keep when I was fifteen, even though they added absolutely nothing to the story, and failed to advance the plot in any perceptible way, shape, or form.
To summarise: I have been trying my absolute hardest to make this draft work, and to see it through to completion, but guys... I hate that it had to come to this, but I need to let it go. I'll keep it up on the site for people to look back on whenever it strikes their fancy, but I need to pull the plug on this monster once and for all.
I'm not killing the story. I'm not killing the "little" universe that's grown from this. I'm not killing the characters, and I don't think I could even if I wanted to. They're like cockroaches that way, I swear. I'm just saying goodbye to this particular version, plagued with leaks and holes and inconsistencies as it is, so I can focus more completely on making it better, which requires an almost complete overhaul, starting from the ground up.
This is where Unwanted Guardian: Redux comes in. Redux, which you may or may not already be reading, is the story I wanted, so much, for the first draft to be. Sure, it'll still have an occasional snag here and there, but the characters are richer, the description less plagued by words with a case of mistaken identity; the backgrounds are more defined, gaps of useful information have hopefully been filled, and Julian has become less of an apathetic, useless twat, and more the character I always had in my head but failed miserably at putting down on paper. (Looking back on it, I guess I really can't blame people for saying they didn't like him. "Dark prince" this, and "dark prince" that, and just... Gawd, did I really write him like that?)
Some of you may continue to hate him regardless. All I have to say about that, is this: Without Julian, this story would not exist. Period.
But that little quibble is not why I'm writing this, so everyone may continue to think about Julian what they will while I sit in my little corner snuggling him and trying to make him feel better. –laughs-
I'm pulling the plug on UG, but I implore everyone to mosey on over to Redux and give the little gaffer a chance if you have the time and patience to spare for it. If you're concerned that you'll just be reading the same ol' story UG had, just with shiny new wrapping paper... Trust me. That won't be the case. The times have changed, I've changed, the characters have changed, and so the story has had to change along with it. Hopefully for the better, but my opinion on these things tend to differ somewhat from what the readers see, and so, I'm relying on you guys to let me know whether I'm doing a good job.
There's already been a buttload of content added to elaborate on sections of the story that I neglected horribly the first time through. Granted, this also means that the beginning is substantially darker and more brutal than it was, but it's also true to the story that needs to be told. There will be sections that are utterly depressing, but there will also be sections that will, if I play my cards right, be light-hearted and humorous, where Jason and Rori can actually bond – sometimes with rather amusing results – instead of Jason just waking up one morning and realizing, "zomg I'm in lub-lub with the horny dead guy who repeatedly raped me! :D"
And yes, there will be smut. Not overly gratuitous smut, but there will be smut. Smatterings of it. Just enough of a sprinkle to get the imagination going and add a little spice every now and then. After all, you cannot expect Rori O'Connor to feature in a story and not do absolutely everything within his power to saturate the thing with sex. There is not a chastity belt in the world that would restrain that man's inherent penchant for debauchery. (Oh, and about the ending of the last chapter and the fate of Mr. Debauchery...? Yeah, don't worry about him. He'll be just fiiiiine.)
That having been said... I cannot thank you guys enough for sticking with this as long as you have. Really. This whole monster of a project would have gone belly up years and years ago were it not for your patience, support, and undying enthusiasm. It's been an unending pleasure writing this with you, even through the bad times, and I hope, with every last vestige of hope left within me, that Redux will be gifted with the same incredible, munificent outpouring of encouragement that UG has enjoyed for so many years.
'Cause I'm not lying when I say you guys really do make every last word worth writing. Really. Thank you.
(P.S. If anyone is interested in being kept a little more up to date with the status of your favourite stories, or perhaps just looking to see what I'm tinkering around with now, I've posted links to the other sites I'm active on – Twitter, Blogspot, etc... – on my front page. Oh, and, uh, as a hint... If you've been quietly waiting for me to repost the ficlets that had been posted with Guilty Pleasures but didn't want to ask, they are now in the process of being integrated into a new home, which can be found at my blog, An Orchard of Mines, which will also have a link on my main page. Thanks again, guys, and hope all is well on your ends!)