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The Pick Up Game


Comicality

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The Pick Up Game

Soooo...I have to admit to being truly intimidated by a project that I’ve been working on for almost two years now...but if I don’t just dive in head first and friggin’ DO it...then I’ll never get it done.

I’m well aware of the fact that I have been, and always will be, my own worst critic. There’s no side stepping that. it’s just a part of who I am. And while it can scare me out of posting and letting people see what I’ve written on most occasions...it can also be considered as an inspiration to step up my game and give this project everything that I’ve got to give to the point of absolute exhaustion. Which could end up in helping me achieve another level of writing that I couldn’t have if I didn’t at least give it a shot, you know?

It’s a rough frame of mind to be in...but I’d like to think that I was up to the challenge, and was able to create something that lives up to the ambitious goals that I had for this particular project.

So...let’s talk about the ‘pick up game’ this time around, and feel free to leave your comments down below. Good or bad. Or anywhere in between. Because I really think this is one of the most stressful projects that I’ve been a part of since I first started writing so many years ago.

For those of you know me best, my site’s anniversary is on June 19th every year...and to celebrate, I always try to do something completely different to exercise whatever talents I’ve got and what I’ve learned over the past year to evolve and to move forward into new territory and prove that I had more to give my audience outside of the typical ‘Comicality’ story. The first year’s offering was “Gone From Daylight”, and that went over so well with my readers in such a MASSIVE way, that it kind of became my annual push for all of the years that followed. (Including the ‘Rainy Day’ update, and the ‘Seven C’s’ update) And I’ve really enjoyed stretching out and showing my online fans what I was capable of, all while delivering a few surprises along the way. So far, they’ve all be extremely successful! But...challenge isn’t about guaranteed success. It’s about risk. And there are times when I feel like the mountain is a bit too high for me to climb, you know?

And that’s where I want to start this conversation. Because I’m curious to know if any of you guys would feel ok about picking up a story from another author, and possibly finishing it off from where they left off? Especially if you’re a huge fan of their work. It’s a lot more difficult than you might think...and I learned that the hard way, despite the honor of personally working on it, myself.

Full disclosure...last Summer (2022)...I wanted to post my continuation of another author’s series...and I totally chickened out. Hehehe! It’s true! I did! I was SO scared that I was going to screw everything up and get a tidal wave of backlash that would totally obliterate me! And I let that intimidate me out of posting it. But again...I want to give it a try, and I want to give it my all. I just had to toss my insecurities aside and find the strength to put my own ideas in effect the way that I imagined them. All I can do is hope and pray that fans of the original story will accept my take on what’s going on and follow me through to the end that I have in mind.

Now, I’ve been writing so many stories for so long now, that many people would think that I wouldn’t get intimidated by much at this point...

 

...And I can say that I’ve enjoyed my touch of internet fame because of it. But nothing could be further from the truth. Trust me. I was really flattered by the offer, but quickly found myself terrified at the idea of actually going forward with it. I was keeping it a secret for a long time, but I was asked to finish off one of a few Dom Luka’s stories on GayAuthors. “Leave The Pieces” was unfortunately left unfinished at the time, and I have always been a huge fan of Dom Luka since he started writing. I think “The Long Way”, specifically, is an instant classic! (https://gayauthors.org/story/domluka/thelongway/) That story just touched me, personally. And he was one of the best writers on the site. The emotion and the heart that he brought to his characters and his stories was immaculate, and gracefully done. Dom Luka is one of GayAuthors’ favorite authors of all time, and I feel that the praise is well deserved. Applause all around.

But, even with all of the successes that I’ve had of my own over the years...how do I follow that? I mean...I WISH that I had the ego to think that I could take one of his stories and finish it with any level of skill that would give his story a satisfying ending. That’s just crazy to me.

Nobody that I know of has spoken to Dom Luka in years, and I have no way to contact him to talk to him about it or to even ask permission to add to one of his masterpieces. It hardly seems fair. And the pressure that I felt on my shoulders was almost too much for me to tackle this story head on. Once I really got into it...I began having serious doubts, started comparing my work to his, and basically shutting down to the point where I felt like nothing that I could possibly write would ever be good enough.

So I stressed myself out. I procrastinated. I made false promises to post it and then backed out at the last minute. Hehehe, it really did a number on me, because I respected him as a writer and I didn’t want to tarnish his work with my ‘voice’ when I felt his voice was the one needed to tell this story. But, I had to take a series of deep breaths, had to build up some confidence in my instincts and my abilities...and I had to give this a try. Win or lose...at least I didn’t chicken out, you know?

So….what did I learn from this experience? Rule number one….RESEARCH!!!

If you’re going to continue somebody else’s story...you’d better know what you’re doing! I have an entire mini notebook dedicated to this one story. Character names and interactions, ages, events that happened, certain exchanges of dialogue, dramatic moments...I’ve got it all handwritten on paper so that I can flip through it and maintain the same feel and consistency needed to keep the story going while making myself invisible at the same time. Character histories, motivations, personalities...I went through to make sure that I could keep the continuity going, while still allowing a bit of my own voice to seep in here and there to become a part of the progression towards, what I hope, will be a satisfying ending. So, if you find yourself in the same position...research the shit out of all of those previous chapters, and get a real feel for the characters that goes beyond what you’re reading on the page. There’s plot, and there’s story. The plot lies within the story. The story exists way outside of the plot. So create these characters in your mind. Their backstories, their emotions, the depth of their motivations. Bring them to life, and they will ‘tell’ where the story should go from that point on.

Rule number two...stay true to the theme and the tone of the story overall. Take your time to recognize what the original author was doing with their story and try to fit into that same frame of mind. Try to analyze the story enough to find out what’s being said here. What’s the message? What’s the emotion being expressed? Where are these previous events leading up to? There are a million questions that you can ask yourself here, but the most important part of you picking up where another author left off is respecting the original text by seeing it for what it was, and continuing on from there. Whatever you felt reading it...you should feel writing it. I definitely tried my hardest to keep that whole vibe in tact while I was writing. NOT easy, considering the content!

Rule number three...lead, don’t copy! I definitely had the urge to try to copy what Dom Luka was doing, style wise, at first...but it wasn’t working for me. I felt like it not only lacked authenticity, but it was also insulting his efforts to build an honest story for the site. Like...this is something that he wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it for him, you know? Nor did I have any right to try to. I decided that, if I was going to take this story on, I was going to let his voice be his, and my voice be mine. He never had to mimic me to create it, so why mimic him trying to continue it. It would be different, but I cant see Dom having it any other way.

Years ago, we were planning to collaborate on a story together in secret and then release it all at once. Like, “WHOAH! Dom Luka AND Comicality, on the same story???” But his schedule and mine just refused to line up so we could talk about it and get it done. But I regret missing out on the opportunity. Hehehe, it would have been one of my dream ‘duets’! I’d still like to make that happen! (Looking at YOU, DK! Hehehe!) But lif gets in the way sometimes. So I get it. No worries.

I’m not exactly sure what happened to Dom Luka, and I really hope that he’s ok and doing well. And...if he’s around to read my take on his story and progress on from there...I truly TRULY hope that he’s ok with me doing that, and that I was able to capture the feel and bittersweet beauty that he was going for when he wrote the first eleven chapters. Because I really loved that story, and wanted to do it justice.

It’s never an easy task, trying to complete someone else’s personal vision. Especially when it’s someone with so much love and support behind them. But I definitely did everything that I possibly could to show that I was a good choice to finish off a series that deserved to be the classic that it was built up to be. I guess it’s up to Dom’s fans to decide that now. But I will definitely take a victory lap and grin from ear to ear forever if I even came close! Hehehe! I just hope that Dom will see this some day and come back to show us what his true vision was all along. I think that would be awesome.

Anyway, that’s it for now. You guys know me...I worry! And nothing makes me more vulnerable than my writing, so trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with a legend is rough on me. Hehehe! But we’ll see how it works out from this point on. Love you, Dom Luka! And if you’re out there, please come back to us dude! The world needs ya! The more angels, the better! :P

And if any of you are looking to complete a story that went unfinished for a long time, possibly indefinitely...be sure to ask for permission first if you can get in contact with the original author. And if not, make sure that you show the utmost respect to the story that you’re working with. And nothing less.

I’d like to think that if I suddenly walked outside and got struck by lightning or something, that someone would step up and finish off whatever stories that I had left open for them to do so. And I’d hope that they’d stay true to the original work and give it the kind of ending that I would have approved of. I’d applaud a creative perspective on anything that I wrote, and I’d encourage writers to take certain liberties if they felt it was necessary…as long as the ‘feel’ of it stayed in tact. Easier said than done. But if you read “Leave The Pieces”...I hope that it would be something that would make Dom Luka proud.

If you get a chance, go and check out the remaining chapters of Dom Luka’s “Leave The Pieces”, and see if I was able to stay true to his genius. And if not, how would you do it different? I’d b interested to know. It was a hard decision to make. Everything that I DID with that project was a hard decision to make, honestly. But I had to take a leap of faith, you know? So enjoy!

Plus….hehehe...love you David! Mwah! Omigod, he so cute!

 

 

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Would i do that? Even if i knew the author well, me personally, no, i wouldn't.  Simply put, it would not be their story, it would evolve into mine and my own voice at some point and for me that's wrong.  But i'm not going to tell you or other authors what they can or should be doing. i am not here thinking you're a bad person for finishing Dom's story or to cast aspersions on your work. It's just how i feel about it. 

I've read things that are unfinished and yeah it's sad but that is also just how things go sometimes. I think we should just appreciate what was left and not impose our will on them, be it a story, a piece of music or a painting.

Thanks for another honest and thought provoking piece.

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