I was brought to a rather startling realization the other day.
“Damien Part Three” was a series finale. Not just a season
finale, a series finale. I’ve reached an
end, a stopping point, a place from which I must decide where to go from here.
This realization was brought to my attention by a friend
whose feedback has been among the most
consistent, honest, and valued I’ve received over the years. One of the few who doesn’t shy from
telling me the bad as well as the good. Which, though no writer ever likes hearing the negatives,
is really what I do need and appreciate. (Note: by “negatives” and “bad,” I’m not talking about the
Attacks of the Prude Patrol <g>)
Among other things, he pointed out to me that “Damien”
was, in terms of numbers and tone, my
“Hunter’s Moon.” It was my 65th piece in my continuous fanfiction saga, and it had a definite sense
of closure and completion to it. Yes, there were other things I could continue to write about, more
loose ends, storylines I could pursue ... but to do so would be anticlimactic and unnecessary, and
would even detract from the power of the “Damien” stories.
My 65th fanfic. I have lost track of how many times I’ve
stated my intention to keep going until I’d
at least outnumbered actual episodes of the show. “Hunter’s Moon 3” and “Damien 3” both being
the 65th in their respective series wasn’t something I’d purposefully done, wasn’t planned ... but
I’d be a fool to ignore the significance of that parallel.
(At this point Tim helpfully interjects: “What, you’re
going to write one more good story and then a
dozen crappy ones?” Har, har, don’t make me come over there, smart guy!)
I think I was unwillingly aware of it in the back of my
mind as I was writing the “Damien” stories. That
this was it, this was an ending, things were wrapping themselves up whether I liked it or not. The final
confrontation and fate of Jericho, for instance ... I didn’t expect it to happen quite this fast, but it was
fitting, it was right, it was something I couldn’t have changed even if I’d wanted to.
My goal here isn’t to panic the faithful followers of
my stories into thinking that I’m quitting. I couldn’t
do that. Not now, not for a long time to come. And certainly not until I’ve reached that stated goal of at
least 79 ; )
But I am going to be changing, taking a new direction.
As things stand now in my universe, it is March
of 2001, the clan is relatively safe and secure, most everyone is happily mated, and in one fell swoop
they just lost most of their adversaries. There are things I could do, and some that I will, but they
are going to be handled in a different way.
Basically, what I’m saying is, it’s spin-off time. Henceforth,
the majority of the fanfics that I write will
fall into one of the following categories:
1. The Guardians -- set 15-20 years in the
future, centering mainly on the characters of Amber, Alexander,
and Orpheus. The questions and loose ends left unanswered at the end of “Damien” will likely be addressed
through flashbacks, memories, and history. We’ll also be seeing more of Old-Mother and events in the far
past, as Amber’s adventures with the Phoenix Gate continue.
2. The Dissidents -- several of the Avalon
gargoyles will be striking out on their own, led by the
temperamental Tourmaline and the hunky Corwin. I anticipate run-ins with the Pirate Clan, other
gargoyles around the world, and maybe even Brendan and Dakota.
There will also be a catch-all category that will include
such stories as “Statue” (my projected Black
Adder crossover), perhaps another visit to the “What Might Have Been” alternity, the occasional naughty
vignette, and others that may crop up clamoring to be told.
Several years ago, Stephen King announced that he was
going to end his Castle Rock stories in a big
way. And he did, in “Needful Things,” one of my favorite of his books. But I’ve noticed that although
he did that, he still can’t seem to stay away. Keeps creeping on back. Now, it’s colossally arrogant to
compare myself to him, but colossal arrogance has never stopped me before ... ; )
So I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be sneaking back
to visit Goliath and company on occasion. Just not with
the same degree of intensity as before. “With the Revolver,” for instance, will simply have to involve the
original clan, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Another Shameless Plug” this summer to coincide with the
release of my second book.
This decision wouldn’t have been an easy one to make,
except that really, it was made for me. Just as the
stories and characters sometimes surprise me with the directions they take, so too did the series. It came
naturally to this stopping point of its own accord, and to continue now that I’ve realized that would be the
wrong thing to do.
I’m facing this change with a mixture of anticipation
and terror. But it’s because of the positive experience
in working with characters like Elektra, Aiden, T.J., Godiva, Gustav, and Jericho, that I feel I can move on
with this shift of focus.
And it is because of everyone who has read and responded
to my stories over the years, be it through letters,
artwork, requests to borrow, or founding a fan club, that I feel confident and hopeful that I’ll be able to
continue presenting enjoyable and compelling tales.
In closing, I’m going to get sappy and say that these
past six years have been the best in my entire life. While
much of that is due to Tim and Becca and my book, the rest of it is directly due to Gargoyles, to fanfic, and
to my rambling extended clan of friends. Some of us may have our differences, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.