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May 19 2015, 04:09 AM
The Interference is a series I started as I was beginning high school. My home life had just gone through a massive upheaval with the arrival of a newborn, which resulted in me not having very much time to myself. I was generally very unhappy, and I needed a form of extreme escapism. I started The Interference, a self-insert fanfiction based on Kingdom Hearts II, on a whim, and it proved so effective an escape that I kept it going.
I started out writing very fast. As my skill improved, as my studies furthered, and as my sources of stress at home intensified, I started to burn out and slow down. Late into the third story, writing fanfiction started to become a chore, and it continued into a prolonged standstill for each chapter of the fourth story. Still, I was committed to the series, and it was always in my thoughts.
Looking back, the final nail in the coffin was my trip to college. I still wanted to write my crappy little fanfic, but my coursework was new and exciting and above all, rigorous. As little free time as I had in my old home situation, I had even less at college.
The Interference quietly went into hiatus without telling anyone. I never said anything, but it had officially moved to the back burner of my mind. Later, I started another much easier project, Friendship is Dragons, to keep myself creatively stimulated, and The Interference and its child projects were all but abandoned.
That was about five years ago.
Some stuff for TI has come out in that time. A few side-stories. The occasional chapter. But it's never been a truly active project for me, not when I've had so much other work to do and no idea in what order to do it. Many of my personal failings factor into this, not the least of which being laziness.
The abandonment of the series has always weighed down on me, because it's never left my mind even once in the last five years. I've still been imagining, still been planning, still been escaping to that realm where Alexander Karsath is going on adventures in video games. But it's emotionally balanced by the awareness that my laziness and indecisiveness have disappointed so many people.
The judgment of others; one more source of stress to throw onto the pile. Lowering my self-esteem to the point where I find it incredible that anyone believes in me at all.
And yet, that's what amazes me today, in this moment – that people still want to read The Interference, to roleplay on the forum, to expand on that universe. Interest has slowed to almost a standstill, of course, but it hasn't stopped and died, like I half-feared, half-hoped it would. But no, once every couple of months, through one communication channel or another, someone says, "You should write more of The Interference." "When are you going to write another chapter?" "Is this story still going?" Consistently. For the past couple of years now.
Today, in this moment, it baffles me. Part of me wants to scream at the top of my voice, "It's a Kingdom Hearts self-insert power fantasy fanfiction, guys! It's inherently crap! There's nothing genius here, nothing worth preserving! Move on and find something better!"
But while plenty of people did move on as I'd hoped, not everyone did. Not the most loyal of the forum members, despite my complete absence. Not DoubleCross. And worst of all, certainly not me.
The Interference has always been in my thoughts, chaotically balanced between my low self-esteem, my high desire for escapism, and the pounds of baggage I carry for not continuing to write it. Many factors – emotional, physical, logistical – have battled for dominance in the war for "Will I? Won't I?"
One of the biggest factors was, way back when I left for college, that I once thought writing would cease to be my profession. I wanted to be many other things at that time in my life. I wrote purely as a hobby, and assumed that once I achieved my dream I would put it behind me and work on bigger things.
That story ends tragically. I've fallen short on many of my dreams in the past few years, and I can't help seeing no one to blame but myself. But in this moment in time, I'm slowly coming to realize that, despite my "pie in the sky" aspirations, writing (and writing fanfiction) has been a constant companion.
Friendship is Dragons, Fallout is Dragons, and every other side project I've worked on in TI's absence has taught me a lot. And the most relevant lesson has been that, well, people want to see more of this "crappy" fanfiction I write, and they're willing to help keep it going if that's what it takes.
I started a Patreon at a very, very low and desperate point in my life. (A point that I haven't really escaped from yet; only floated above for a while.) Fans answered, and the desperate Patreon experiment turned out to be a modest success beyond my wildest expectations. And the significance of that gesture has only grown with time.
Finally, a message has broken through the cloud of misery: "People want to see more of these written fanworks you think are 'low' and 'crap.' People like what you're doing. People want to see you succeed." Depression is a word that gets thrown around a lot on the internet, but to someone in my kind of low-esteem mindset, that message is special.
Of course, I'm not saying that I'm feeling better just because strangers on the internet gave me money. I'm saying that was the metaphorical claw of the hammer pulling back the first nail out of the coffin. Kind words, hopeful reviews, and the quiet but consistent stream of questions has brought me back. Just enough that my desire to write again overrides my doubts, my fears, and my incredible guilt.
In a way, this is the start of a long exorcism. Therapy, in another way. This is something that I need to do, because it has dragged me down for many long years. I spent my teenage life investing a portion of my soul into this story, and I spent my early adult life with a part of me missing because I thought it was a waste. Damage has been done, and the road to healing means coming back and doing all the things I've wanted to do all this time.
Yet I know that desires are not always made real, and the present is in no way a promise of the future. I have no idea what will happen next, and what these words will represent in a year from now. I still sit upon a precipice. Will this represent the call to action that successfully launched the second wave of The Interference? Or will this be a ironic gasp of hot air that ultimately led nowhere? My hopes and dreams, my doubts and failures, right now all balance evenly on the scales.
With all that said, with context provided and reasons explained, let's break this down into the functional blocks of what these paragraphs mean right now.
To everyone who waited, I'm sorry. I let you down.
This is my announcement that I will be resuming the stories of The Interference.
And to everyone who stuck around, to everyone who commented once in a while, to everyone who patiently asked when, when, when... Thank you. I hope this makes you happy.
For my sake, as much as yours.
Nov 1 2013, 08:04 AM
Part 3: Alex
I stayed up all night to do this 'cause I couldn't sleep. I also did another couple of chapters of the edit pass of the first story.
Point is, the side stories are now over. Updating TI4 is now the next item on the list, at long last.
Oct 17 2013, 07:17 AM
As sort of a way of easing back into the writing process, I've spent the last few days taking a couple of chapters of the first story and giving them a quick edit pass, one or two chapters per day. The intention is to go through all four stories like this.
This is nothing like that old Final Mix initiative, a whole rewrite from scratch. This is just touching up here and there, occasionally adding some stuff when the muse strikes.
I'm up to Chapter 7 of the first story now as far as edits go. I imagine that once I reach the raw, unedited content of Chapters 9 and onward, this'll go quite a bit faster. (My main concern then will be formatting more than content, since I hadn't quite grasped "different character speaking should have separate paragraphs" yet back then.)
Apr 20 2013, 06:28 PM
So, here we go. The last side-story before it all comes back to TI4. And this one is probably the most ambitious of them all.
There will be two more parts to this, and then we're done with side-stories. Hopefully, the remaining parts will be just as short as this one. Hopefully.