Second Alliance is, admittedly, far longer than I originally anticipated. I don’t know that I had a page number in mind, but it is a fan fiction, and I only started writing it as a practical exercise for myself while editing an original work. Over time, it developed into something much, much bigger. Not just in the sense of page numbers, although with 451 at my last count that is certainly true, but also in the sense of the plot. SA has developed a series of side stories that should all tie back into the main arc in another 20-30 chapters.
Even writing that number makes me feel tired.
As I was going along, not realizing that this was becoming some sort of epic undertaking that would take longer than the cumulative amount of time I have spent growing two children, I thought I was being really clever leaving little clues about this shocking, butler-with-the-candlestick-in-the-library type of reveal that would occur in the middle somewhere. Then I got to that point, and the readers were pretty upset. I think the most generous comment I received was, ‘I didn’t see that coming‘. Which was the point, sort of, but I didn’t realize that all of the other comments – ‘how could you‘, ‘I loved that OC‘, and ‘WHY!!!‘ would almost hurt my feelings. I actually typed out a response to one comment that was basically: chill out and wait for the next chapter, my friend, all will be revealed.
And then I deleted it.
I believe a good story is supposed to be exactly the things that were bothering me in the comments: anticipation, nail biting, tears for those unjustly hurt, disgust for the villain, screaming at the characters ‘don’t go down there!‘ and ‘just tell him!‘. All of that, and then turning the page as quickly as possible even though it is hours past bedtime and you have to get up early the next day. Unfortunately, the nature of a serial story is that there is no immediate page turning. The next chapter isn’t up yet. It can’t be. I am still crafting the story while you are reading it. Although I try to write a few chapters ahead of what I post, to allow for minor edits and emergencies in case I can’t get any writing done, I still delay a week or so between posts. This is not a full time gig for me. It isn’t even a paying gig. It can’t be – it’s fan fiction. This is a tribute to another creative mind, not my own personal story – no matter how many hours I have spent on it.
Having said that, I get it. I’m a reader too, and I’m the fickle type that can easily move on to something else if content isn’t available on my schedule. Especially if I was left unsatisfied. So, to stem the angry mob, I have decided to go ahead and post Chapter 43 of Second Alliance here, much sooner than I would have put it up on a fan fiction site. If it works well, I may go ahead and publish more of the story here first, more frequently.
Go ahead, turn the page, even if you do have that presentation tomorrow. This will be worth it. Promise.