No, I'm not writing about the Mayan calendar. Well, at least I don't think I am. With me, you never know for sure.
Instead, I'm referencing the final dozen chapters of "Daze In The Valley," that today I put into their final form for posting.
Yes, although I'm sure to some it looked as though it might run forever, it's almost done.
I could have gone for the "What The Fuck?" ending, given them all HIV and pissed off a lot of readers who've stuck with the story from the outset. I wouldn't do that, now would I? (Insert any name you wish to call me at this point if you remember that god-awful story I wrote several years ago called "Double Play.")
No, I wouldn't do that. For one thing, I spent far too long to close the story like that. In fact, when the final chapters go up (tentatively scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20) I will have spent just short of five years on this story. It was June 2007 when I wrote the first sentence of a story called, at the time, "Untitled Porn Story." (Clever, huh?)
Not surprisingly, that first sentence, "Alan had never considered how unsexy sex could be." appears nowhere in the finished story. In fact, neither does Alan. Those of you who have been following along for the past 18 months know him as Adam.
I grew to like Adam. I grew to like all the main characters. In fact, I liked them all so much I couldn't decide which girl Adam should wind up with. Allie was originally supposed to be a villainess, sent to disrupt the burgeoning relationship between Adam and Sarah. But I liked her so she became a heroine.
Then Rebecca was supposed to be the one to create havoc. Then I started to like her, too. Next up came Anya and then Lucy. But, hell, I liked them, as well.
Shelly was supposed to disappear midway through but, you guessed it, I liked her, too.
My original outline had the story running about 200 Word pages in the standard style I use for writing (about the size of my other stories). By the time I was finished it clocked in at 1,672.
That doesn't count the 60 or so pages of notes I took about the adult industry. It doesn't count the notes I'd jot down about each scene to make sure I kept the characters straight. It doesn't count the cast list or physical descriptions. All told, I have about 1,800 pages of "Daze In The Valley."
And it took up 5 years of my life. I wrote other stories during the frequent breaks I took from the characters. "The Hillside," "Finding Shelter" and my next story -- which still is under it's working title -- were all written while I battled with "Daze."
I'll be a little saddened to see it end -- no, probably not. It was fun to write but it's not so much fun to edit and post. That's almost like work. Perhaps if I were a better writer, it wouldn't be so difficult to get a story into shape to put online.
To say the story wouldn't have turned out as well as it has without BlackIrish, ZoltanTheDuck and Lee would be the understatement of the year. Although I credit Zoltan and Lee with proofreading, they both added commentary that made me take a hard look at the way some of the scenes played out or would be perceived. Their help was immeasurable.
Then there is BlackIrish. From the very beginning, he made me ponder the direction of the story. He pointed out loose ends and unresolved situations. He found logic flaws and continuity problems.
In short, he did everything a professional editor would do without receiving a single bit of compensation save for my thanks.
Well, to those three fine individuals, I will offer it again here publicly.
Thank you for all the hard work you put into "Daze In The Valley." It was an absolute joy to work with you.
I offer my sincerest hope that the readers who have enjoyed "Daze" will take a moment to reflect on the thousands of individuals (and the countless thousands of hours they donate) who write the stories, who edit the stories and who moderate the site.
Then offer up a silent thanks for all their efforts.
And to the thousands of readers who downloaded the story (and appeared to have enjoyed it), I offer my thanks to you.