They say all good things must come to an end; and while you’ll have to be the judge of how good the story was for you, we’re about to reach Part V, the final two chapters of Connected.
In life, there is only one definitive closure for human beings. But since Nolan, Josh, Tommy and Andy are young, life goes on and closure for them remains in some far distant future. We may not know exactly what happens to them, but we can wish them well and hope for the best as they start the next stage of their journey through life.
The same can’t be said for legislative amendments. They have a definite shelf life. They pass or fail, are withdrawn or modified, and so the final two chapters of Connected focus on what happened to the McPherson amendment and thus primarily on Andy.
I realize some of you are less interested in the political tale and may decide to skip these final two chapters. But if you decide to stick it out, I hope you’ll find both of them interesting and perhaps even exciting.
Even if you’re not interested in what happens to the amendment itself, I would encourage you to read them as events surrounding the amendment will also provide one final important insight into the relationship between Andy and Tommy.
If you stop reading now, you’ll miss that and I think you’ll be missing a lot.
What Comes Next
Following the conclusion of the story, I plan to take some time off for a well deserved vacation, one in which I plan to disconnect myself from the internet. Chapter 52, the last chapter, will be posted at The Annex on June 11, 2012 (later on Nifty), and I plan to depart on my little vacation on June 16th.
For those of you who follow the story here, I’ll have a little time to respond to any immediate e-mails or comments I receive after posting Chapter 52, but anything that comes in after June 15th will have to wait until I return toward the end of the month. Be assured, however, that I will respond to anything that does come in after June 15th . . . assuming the airplanes take off and land safely, of course 🙂
I want to thank everyone who commented on the story (or any portion thereof) and/or sent me an e-mail about it. There were a few unpleasant experiences, but most of you were terrific and I appreciate the support and encouragement you provided. I consider you friends.
As for the lurkers among you, well, I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you better, but I hope you enjoyed the story. I did my best; and while nothing is perfect, I’m proud of the story.
I plan to leave it up at The Annex, at least for the immediate future. Should I decide to take it down at some point, I would plan to give advance notice before doing that so you may want to sign up to receive e-mails about new posts at the blog (click on the Sign me up! button to the right).
The blog will probably be going inactive as well. I did it originally mostly because it seemed like a way of bringing some information to your attention during the seven days you had to wait patiently for each new chapter.
It seems like many of you did read it, but few commented or chose to disagree. It never became much of a dialogue and it also takes a lot of time, time I would rather invest elsewhere. I’m not saying I’ll never post anything here, but it will have to be something I feel really strongly about to make me do that.
I do plan to leave the the blog up, however. Should I post any future stories or have something else of importance to tell you, the blog would be the way I would notify you.
About Connected and Writing
Writing Connected took a very long time; in fact, years. If you could see some of the early drafts and compare them to what I’ve published online, you would laugh. But even after I started posting it online I’ve continued making lots of changes along the way. I’m debating whether to rewrite it entirely and try to get it published in book form, but I’ve outlined some of the problems with that in my response to one of the comments at the end of Chapter 44.
In any event, at the moment, I’m mostly just tired of the whole thing so I think I need some time way from it before deciding what to do next, if anything, with Connected.
As mentioned before, I did think of a sequel (and did actually write prequel that focuses on Andy’s life before arriving in Washington, including the time he spent together at Harvard with his friend, Sam Jeffords). But it doesn’t add a whole lot; and as for a sequel, there were a couple of problems I could never resolve.
First, I couldn’t come up with another big issue like war to build a sequel around. If you have a suggestion for one, feel free to share it. Beyond that, however, I began to see that I might have to take some of the characters we all like so much in different directions, professionally and sexually, to build an interesting story. I discuss that a bit more below, but the bottom line is that I like Nolan, Josh, Tommy and Andy and I didn’t want to put them at risk. They’ve provided us too much pleasure.
To some extent, you learn from your readers; and while a lot of what you learn is helpful and good, it can also be constraining at times. One of the things I’ve learned is that readers like characters who are nice, sex that is mostly plain vanilla, and endings that are happy. It’s hard to blame you for that. There are times when I feel the same way myself. People read fiction mostly for fun, not to be dragged through despair.
But there are times when I feel constrained by all of that. You never get to explore why Coach became a pedophile or what happens to someone like Wayne who can’t accept who he is. Or take Teddy, for another example; he interested me because he liked to cross-dress. I could have done a lot more with that and Andy’s masculinity issue, but I toned all of that down a lot to try to make Teddy more acceptable as a character.
I think I succeeded in that and I’m glad because I like Teddy, but I also think it would be difficult for a lot a people to relate to Teddy if I tried to make him into a major character. He’s just too different from most of us.
It isn’t just characters that are different though. There are varieties of sex and sexual practices that I would find it interesting to explore in a story, but that just wouldn’t be right for most readers, at least in my opinion. The same holds true with characters.
Based on the feedback I got, Tommy was my least popular character for a long time because he was doing something “wrong” by hustling for a living. So, in the end, I toned him down some to make him more acceptable to readers and hopefully most of you have come around and see him as a human being, not as a whore. I guess people can accept sinners as long as they repent.
There are times when I think the only way for me to proceed as a writer and to grow as one is either to write just for myself (because I’m hopelessly corrupted and can’t do myself any further damage) or to write using multiple anonymous pseudonyms so I could try some topics that wouldn’t interest a whole lot of people and, to be honest, I would have trouble putting out there knowing that the audience might include younger readers.
I probably won’t adopt that course. On the other hand, I can’t see myself doing multiple “relationship” stories (i.e., boy meets boy, boys fall in love, boys have polite sex and live happily ever after).
At the moment, I don’t have any another story to post. I’ve been toying with one off and on that I might spend more time with now that Connected is ending. But I probably wouldn’t be posting it until the end of the year at the soonest and I’m not satisfied with it at the moment in any event so I make no promises. If you have a story idea you would like me to consider, feel free to share it with me. Again, I don’t make any promises, but I’ll listen.
One thing I am fairly certain of, however, is that I won’t be publishing on Nifty again. I have nothing against Nifty. You can find some fine stories there and a built-in audience. But you inevitably lose some control over your intellectual property as an author if you decide to post at other sites.
So, if you’re one of those who read Connected on Nifty and think you might like to read another story by me, assuming there is one, you’ll need to bookmark this page and check back periodically to see if I’ve posted anything new.
Have An Unanswered Question?
I’ve tried to touch on most of the things I thought some of you might want to know more about. If you have an unanswered question or a comment on anything I’ve said, feel free to share it below or to send me an e-mail.
I guess that’s it for now. It’s a bit sad to see things ending, but we still do have two chapters and I hope you’ll enjoy them both.