I was more delicate about it in my last blog, but Being More Social, especially chapter 1, sucks in a lot of ways. Chapter one is terrible and I hate reading it. While doing the edit, the clear opportunity of reworking the style through the edit came up, but as I hinted at in the previous blog post, that would have just made a new story, possibly one that lost the magic of the original. As well, perhaps more importantly, if I went through with altering the story to make it “better” every time I felt I had matured as a writer, I would have only written one story over the course of my lifetime. I’d still be working away at Being More Social, trying in vain to make it “perfect” in an endless ouroboros of an attempt.
Letting a story go can be very hard, especially since it has to be done twice when you’re not working from a strict outline or quota perspective. The first time is when you’re writing it and realize that at some point, closure needs to inherently be a part of the story. If Being More Social had over 160 chapters or something, it would ultimately lose its point, especially as a coming-of-age slice-of-life story. As much as you may love or hate certain characters you’re writing, ending a story well is an inherently critical part of that story. Even if existing readers like more content, not only will new readers balk and run away from a story with two hundred 10k-word chapters, but also, I firmly believe you can’t write two hundred chapters of a story and still have it be fresh, interesting, and well-paced. Not because it’s not theoretically possible to have that much content, but just human limitation. Authors are humans. At times, Being More Social itself is stretched thin, and it’s clear where and when.
The second time you let a story go is well after it’s finished. If any authors are reading this, especially authors that have finished a longform story before in the past, they’ll know exactly what I mean without me needing to elaborate. After Being More Social was finished, even as I tried to branch out with other stories, it kind of became my albatross. Other stories kept getting compared to it, people commented on these stories asking for more Being More Social, and these stories due to their lack of the same charm of the original story’s style and conventions didn’t get the same level of love and attention. Mutual Benefits, while at the time a decently popular story, doesn’t come close to what BMS had in its heyday.
The extent to which the responsibility of making a story as popular as my original story hangs around my neck is so great that at time of writing, my brainstorming page for the sequel to Being More Social is currently called Project Albatross. I constantly felt in the past like I had to prove myself with any subsequent story, or earn my way back up to a position some people see me already on. As well, there’s a selfish element to clinging to an original story too. It can be a big part of your identity, and it can hurt to leave the original story’s values, themes, and characters – especially to work on another. It almost feels like cheating. I didn’t write two hundred thousand words without leaving a lot of myself in those pages, so what does it mean if I leave that all in the past and work on consciously getting away from it?
It means growth, I guess. It’s another reason why I’m doing my edit of Being More Social now. I want to escape it at this point, instead of fearing the escape. I made no secret that I was nervous about writing a sequel to Being More Social, because I thought many people that liked the original would hate where I take it. Now, I’m just excited to do that. I am still a little nervous that my own growth has made me unable to write Adam’s dialogue as accurately (when it comes to Nicole’s, I’m fine – in real life I’m practically as sarcastic as her). But aside from that, I want to write a new story, and if anyone comes to me going, “I liked the original better,” I won’t feel like a failure. I’ll just tell them to embrace their joys and read the original again. And if they tell me they didn’t like where I went with this story and it was too different, I’ll merely tell them, “good.”
This week, alongside my other work, I also did some work behind the scenes and worked on the website. It’s nothing too jarring, but it’s probably the biggest overhaul I’ve done on this website since 2017. This includes, a few goodies, such as:
- A search bar. It does include blog posts sadly, but since those come with their dates, it’s easy to distinct them from pages. Now you can search by wording or character names, in case you remember a story but can’t remember which one they came from, or want to see how many stories include Nicole or something.
- Tags! WordPress only does an integrated tag system with their blogs, not posted pages (thanks WordPress) so instead of a conventional system, I had to make a new dedicated page for every tag and go through every story/chapter to see which tags applied where, so the tag system may not be entirely comprehensive. By all means, if I missed one, feel free to let me know. But now, for kink purposes, you can know which stories to check out (or avoid) by using the tags.
- Each story and chapter now comes with its own comments page! This way you can leave thoughts on the story itself if you want to talk about the story, rather than the most recent blog.
- A few other things including tidying up and reorganizing the site to be user-friendly, getting rid of wordpress ads, etc. I hope it makes your visit to the site more enjoyable!
Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you like the changes. Change is what we can expect, and I hope that as the edit of BMS, the chapters of MB, and the new stories all come out, we’ll all keep that in mind, including myself. I’ll talk to you all next week.