Well, folks, sorry to say, but this is the point where the ball stops rolling. I won't be able to write any more chapters, but this isn't the end! For the next while, I'll be talking about the remaining chapters, in detail, of what would have happened, why, character motivations, symbolism, authorial intent, and of course, excerpts, which will include, as I mentioned on my tumblr, the entire finishing scene. A number of scenes I'm just fond of might get written up entirely just because. We'll see as we go. Though for not being able to carry through, even to as far as the next chapter and the end of act, I am truly sorry.
However: as these commentaries most certainly will not be allowed under this site's strict content rules, I must advise you go to Archive Of Our Own via the link at my profile, as I will be unable to make any further posts here. Thank you. There the incomplete chapters and provided commentary will fall neatly under the comfortable banner of "fanwork" and can be preserved, which should be the point, shouldn't it. While this site will truncate the link, simply add this to the base Archive Of Our Own URL:
If I'm in the mood, I may also do a post-mortem of both drafts a few months later, though is anyone ever really in the mood to write a post-mortem? Sometimes you just don't want to go back.
You probably want to know why. It's a combination of four major factors. Firstly, the stress factor: not the fic itself but its impact on other things. For the longest time, Hands has been my source of comfort, but those days have passed. It would be one thing if I were doing professional writing with my time, but it's not possible to tell my other job "I can't cover for my co-worker's newest hangover-day because I need to write my fanfic." It's easy to come to resent your hobby when it actually costs you in both free time and chore time, nevermind the guilt of thinking "If only I had been working on the other thing…"
Speaking of the other thing, my "external influence" has failed. This is no mean problem. This was my major hope at finding real work, a centerpiece for my portfolio. It wasn't meant to be a major piece, or especially my last hope, but that was what it became over time, and with its failure I think we can see that I never had much hope in my chosen field, or much ability. In the past few months I've slowly lost any hope of finding work in my field, and with the final failure of this project, it seems I may not even be able to enjoy the field as a hobbyist. Failing to complete this fic means a large chunk of two years wasted, but failing to complete the external influence is the final step in the failure of about seven years total. I'm not even sure what this makes me, now, if I can't be what I'd been planning, searching for, building towards. My remedy for the problem is to begin a new project, and there's no room for the fanfic in that schedule. Well, maybe there is. Part of me suspects I'm lashing out at Hands, but the other problems are indicative.
The third problem is the drop in readership. Technically this is misleading: the last chapter had a very high boost in readership, but we all know it's because you were drawn here by a demo chapter promising more of Gamzee's crotch. Come on, you can tell me ;). It really depends on where you want to measure, but if I were a CEO, these numbers would be less of an excuse for the shareholders to fire me and more an excuse for them to set me on fire and punt me out a window, because they would have nothing else to lose and everything to gain by doing so. This is my fault. To those readers who aren't reading this because you left for lack of regular updates or a dislike of the new draft in general, I deeply apologize. As a factor in ending the fic, my reasoning should be clear: as I stated during the vote for the end of the first draft, I pride myself more of an entertainer than as a writer. This draft has been a poor source of entertainment. In that regard, it has been as much a failure as my external project.
With stress, there is no joy. With pressures, there is no time. With failure, there is no pride, and together, there is no reason to continue to squeeze myself through this hole. But for those of you who are still here, the entertainer in me thanks you, the author in me thanks you, and both of those (and my inner, screaming instincts as a gaming completionist) promise to carry through with the notes to the end. I'll even throw in a bonus for those who stick around: the last planned Homestar Runner-style intermission from the first draft. Karkat, if you'll recall, was "Preparing for the fucking inevitable" and I never got around to finishing it. That's last, though. Because I'd actually have to finish this one. It wouldn't really be funny in summary-form.
One step at a time, though.
For those that never finished the first draft, I will be redirecting you to those chapters as we go through the next few, as I only actually made it about half-way through this second draft. If you want to start reading now, go to Chapter 10 of the original draft, but if you have the patience, bear with me, and I'll be sure to provide a context and reading guide for each chapter explaining what was going on in the original draft (it's quite different), how the chapter was going to be adapted and so on. Once we get past the end of the first draft, we'll be purely in notes and excerpts territory, but hopefully I can make that entertaining. As usual, updates will be on my tumblr and the MSPA forums thread.
Thank you all once again for your time, your attention, your proofreading and criticism where applicable, and most importantly, the chance to entertain you through plot, humour, character relationships, and in the case of the first draft, recast jokes from a 2000-9 web series, like the muses most certainly intended. I hope to see most of you as we carry through to the end.
I'm going to leave this message up for a few updates, after which it will probably be replaced with a less florid post simply explaining that this was the point where the fic ended and that readers are about to enter the Behind The Scenes chapters. Have no fear: your comments, insults and mimed reaction gifs will be preserved!