(original post here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65233163962/permalink/10150903224493963 )
First, let me say that my heart is racing a mile a minute…
So I guess this update has been a long time coming… I’ve made up my mind today that I can no longer drag this out, and I want you to know that I am deeply sorry that it has gone on this long. The waiting. The back in forth. The failed goals. It’s difficult for me to come to any conclusion with TEF/TNF because my heart is STILL on the fence, and has been for, well, years now. Yes, years. I need to tell you all what the real deal is, just be truly honest with you because I love and respect you guys so so much… First about this particular story, and then a little with my life, since my writing has taken a back seat to it during this drawn-out hiatus that sometimes, well, hasn’t really felt like one.
I ask that you please read through this slowly, and read all of it. Thank you.
When I was first repeatedly asked about whether or not there would be a sequel, before the EB wedding in TEF, I didn’t really think there would be one. Honestly, I didn’t feel a need for one. But then more and more people were asking and begging and demanding and suggesting, and as I got to writing more chapters, I felt that maybe I did have much more to say and that it could work. When I got to the end of the story, I really didn’t want to let go of my characters OR my readers because both had been so very important in my life for that last year. And, even though the story didn’t have nearly as many reviews as others, it was my “little engine that could”, banking so completely on word-of-mouth, because you guys just loved it so much, and you promoted it, and you made it win awards, and got it noticed by people I’d never imagine would read it. I developed relationships, friendships even, with my readers, which was something I never wanted to take for granted. I felt I had a responsibility to you guys because of the hard work you put into it from your end, telling everyone and supporting me through the many ups and downs of a writer’s life. The encouragement was overwhelming and I grew more excited about it and had so many outlines and details and things planned for each character. I began to really, really love and commit to the idea. But then things hit hard in my personal life (more on that later), and I lost focus. I put myself on hiatus so I could separate work (real life) from play (writing), thinking I could pick up where I left off at any time.
But then I started to get demands and threats and hate mail, to the point to where, even though I pretended it didn’t upset me, it really did emotionally drain and mentally hurt. The threats have continued to this day, some of which have been so cruel, I can’t even… I haven’t been able to acknowledge all of them. Two years later, I’m still receiving them, from every social networking site available, and even though I think I’ve grown a little immune to it and have learned to mostly ignore it, it still bothers me. When I snap back, I get attacked. When I ignore them, or the constant question of “when”, I get attacked. I tell myself on one side that I should be grateful that the interest is still there, and to put up with it, or that they’re just passionate. But no one should make excuses for any kind of abuse, and I myself should know that more than anyone, given my personal history.
A lot of the delays with this story come from mental battles. I’ve felt, with all the negative attachments and threats, that this story is no longer (& hasn’t been in the longest time) my own. Even though some of you have held my hand and said, “do what you want, I trust you”, there’s too much demand coming from too many people. “Don’t you dare have Edward or Bella cheat again” “Don’t you dare put Ryan or Aimee in it” “Don’t you dare put Edward back on drugs” “Don’t you dare let anyone die” “Don’t you dare keep Jacob with Rosalie or put Alice with Emmett” “Don’t you dare make Edward lead Alice on again” “Don’t you dare fuck it up after I’ve waited this long to read it,” and so on and so on.
And whether or not I planned to have these things happen or explore any part of these things, it didn’t matter, because I, the writer, was being put on tight do-it-or-else restrictions for my own story. I felt the creativity being drained from me. Every idea that I had, every new branch of the tree I was developing, I found myself holding back and asking what would happen if I actually was brave enough to do this, to go there, to put that in the story? Would I receive more threats? Would I lose followers/readers? Would I be bashed? Would I lose status in the FFN world? Would anyone read anything else I wanted to post in the future if this didn’t live up to their expectations? And I always chickened out.
Yes, sometimes I wanted to know where peoples’ heads were at on TNF and what they *wanted* to happen, just to see if I could find some lee-way to do my own thing and still find a way to please people and meet some of those expectations. But the more I asked, the more it backfired on me. I let too many people make decisions for me. I let too many people take over. I felt that, even though there were so many ideas (and still are!!) pouring out of me for each one, these characters were all stuck. I could not go anywhere with any of them because, no matter what road I took, someone was going to be upset. I WANTED to go back and explore things that were purposely left open in TEF. I WANTED to take new risks, with old and new things, to explore the insides of the walls before I completely closed the door.
Some of the things I WANTED to look into but felt I couldn’t were; Ryan & Bella’s past, Ryan & Bella’s future and how they co-exist while working, Ryan’s side of the story, things that weren’t really said on Bella’s side that needed to come out, how they were growing/developing now, more of Edward’s jealousy and WHY it was so different with Ryan than anyone else, what was really going on in his head, similar issues with Edward & Aimee’s story, Edward’s job, Tanya’s threats in TEF and how they’d affect them now, Bella with her boss and how Edward and his storyline came into play with that one, and so much more. I wanted to explore Alice’s growth in how she addressed all of her issues and how she got to where she is now and how that affects her decision making. I wanted to dig into Rosalie’s heartbreaking journey during the gap between TEF and TNF, and why her story has changed so much. I wanted to explore Carlisle and the rest of the parents and take a look at Colleen’s choices and how they affected her daughter’s life and examine Jasper’s changes and his new life, the things he had to let go, look at Jasper & Bella, Jacob & Bella, Edward & Alice. On and on and on some more. But any time I thought of putting Edward in a scene w/someone female, or Bella in a scene that made her, as a character, question things in her life no matter how well or not it was going, like EVERY SINGLE PERSON REALLY DOES, I chickened out, because I felt most would not “allow” it. I felt no one would be happy.
Then there was something I couldn’t write about because I had no experience, THE big change from TEF to TNF: Children. I’m not a mother yet. I haven’t been around a lot of kids. I don’t know their development levels at certain ages, how they speak, how they act. I don’t know much about them at all, and I’ve always been told to write what you know or what you can factually guess. Even though the children in these characters lives were important, they weren’t going to be the MAIN story. So I thought I could handle it. But then that little voice inside my head kept saying, “No, you’re going to get it wrong and people are going to be upset with you and continuously correct you, no you can’t do this or say that or have them do this or choose this when they’re kids are at home” etc. Even though kids were the smallest factor in this story, I just couldn’t GO THERE.
I couldn’t do anything. I’d stare at a blinking cursor for hours. Then hours turned to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, and eventually it got to the point to where I couldn’t even open the project at all. I couldn’t even stomach getting on the computer.
AND THEN THERE’S MY PERSONAL LIFE:
I’m a private person. I always have been. I open up to very few. Some things about myself I’ve been able to express in my story and use as my outlet. But other things I keep to myself. But, maybe you should know the little things. Maybe it will help understand how things have progressed. For instance, the fact that in the past 2 years, since TEF was posted, I’ve moved over 6 times through 4 different states across the top to the bottom of the country. That takes a lot of you, especially with the adjustments and obstacles that brings. I’ve had people in my life that haven’t been the nicest, or most supportive, people that have been downright nasty and abusive. I’ve been in new places where I didn’t know anyone and didn’t have any friends, anyone in the “outside world” to talk to because of it. I’ve had several health scares, some which were serious. I’ve had to open up some old wounds, things I had to do in order to move past, or try to, at least.
And now my life is taking a new path, and BIG changes are happening as I write this. My husband & I are definitely my main focus now more than ever. But, I also feel like I don’t have to continuously put my writing and my joy on hold any more, and that’s what’s most important.
I feel like I can write again.
But, apart from the struggles, what’s sad and most depressing is there’s still a major part of me that WANTS to write TNF. I still have so much to say and to explore. I still have so much love for my characters, even the ones you love to hate. I’m proud of them!! It takes good writing, I think, to make someone hate someone. I even created little videos that I wanted to put up on You Tube that are just SITTING in a folder, with hardly anyone watching. Visual creations that took the stories to a whole new level, things you could see and hear. Other sides of the story that wouldn’t be written, like Ryan’s and Aimee’s and Carlisle’s…
I want to go back, all the way to chapter one of TNF, and do it right. The right way. The way it’s supposed to be done: MY way. Just start over. And, I want to remind myself that I don’t want to and shouldn’t care in the long run who gets upset with the tiny things because I would KNOW in my heart of hearts that, if they stuck with me during the hard times, all of my characters would get to the end of the road safely. That they would be happier in the end because I wasn’t afraid to go there, and now there was no more loose ends, and things would all make sense and be calm in the end. That I could GET to the final “THE END.”
But I worry that it’s too late now. It’s been too long. I’ve filled you and myself with too many false hopes and unfinished goals, and that your expectations for what you want and need out of this story won’t be met. That it’s just too late to make it right. That some likely don’t even care any longer.
There’s also the constant fear that if I did it and posted it for you and no one likes it, what if, then, no one looks at anything else I want to write after that?
What if… What if… What if…
SO THAT LEADS ME TO SECRET #3:
I’ve been writing other things in the meantime. Things I’ve felt excited about because I still feel like they’re still MINE before anyone else’s. Things I’ve been DYING to share with you, and talk to you about, and tease and detail and post. EB stories, mainly, and even a possible Vampire Diaries one in the future. (Yes, I’m serious. Don’t hate me.)
But, again, I worry that, if I were to post these things, it wouldn’t make many people happy, and I’d lose a lot of you. There’d be a constant interrogation of “Why did you write this instead of that, why did you have time, don’t you owe this and this and this to us for waiting???”
And the truth is, yes, I owe you. I really do feel like I do. And I worry that, no matter what I do or post, it wouldn’t make up for the time you’ve waited and supported me, and I’m sorry for that. I’m so sorry. If you only knew how much it breaks my heart to know that I’ve let you and myself down, to admit all of this. It crushes me to know that I’ve failed at this, at my passion, my outlet, at the one thing that has brought so much JOY to my life, and brought me to all of you.
And I just don’t know what to do now. I don’t want to lose any of you. I don’t want to lose more than I already have. But I know it’s not fair of me to ask you to stay, if all you stuck around for was this. Even though I still want to ask you… and ask you things like…
Do I let TNF go? Just call it a draw? Let TEF be loved for what it is, and let everyone form their own conclusions for these characters so everyone can be happy?
Do I write for myself and take that gamble?
Do I just post YT videos pertaining to the characters and just let that speak for itself, instead of writing the story?
Do I lock it up and put it in the corner and ignore it and focus on other things?
Do I pull Ragweeds because it’s been on hiatus for too long, too? Should I let that one go? Is that one still “mine” first?
Do I post these other things I’ve kept secret?
Will anyone take another risk with me, whether TNF is posted or not? Will anyone give me another chance with other things and put their time into my stories and still have faith that they can come together?
I just wish I had the answer. So I’m here, honest, with wounds open. I take full responsibility for not delivering when expected, for not being able to fully speak out until now. And, even though I’m prepared for the backlash this post is going to cause, I know it’s better to be truthful and put it all out there. I just can’t live with this harboring over me, and you don’t deserve to either.
To those who have been nothing but kind and supportive, please know that the negative things were not directed toward you. And to those who may have said cruel things or given threats to me or any other writer: I hope this will show you the raw truth of what words can do. Of how much it affects someone.
So if you want to tell me where you stand with me, now that it’s all out, I’d really appreciate it.
Thank you for reading this, and for waiting, and for caring, and for encouraging. The positive is the ONLY thing keeping me from pulling the plug on FFN altogether. And you will never know how truly grateful I am for all of my readers and for this incredible fandom, no matter the negative, and how lucky I feel to be a part of it.