Comicality's Top Ten

by Comicality

There have been many times, when folks have asked me what my personal favorite story was out of all of the stuff that I've written on this site. And as most of you guys already know...I hate, HATE, HATE, almost all of my own writing!!! That's really not a modesty thing, I honestly don't like it and wish I could be much better at it. I'm working on it. But there are some stories that I feel really connected to on this site, mostly because of the emotional circumstances surrounding them. And because of that, I suppose I can count them as being some of my favorites. So...for those that asked...these are Comsie's personal top ten (In no particular order). Enjoy!

"New Kid In School"

Naturally! This story is the one that started it all, so it's like my first born son! The first chapter was actually typed directly into an email, written in a few hours, only 'skimmed' over once for mistakes, and then sent to Nifty. I made sure to save their response, and I've kept it until this very day. June 19th, 1998. The love that I have for this story comes mostly from the simple fact that I never expected it to be anything more than a one time thing to say that I gave it a shot. One story, two cute boys, maybe three or four emails of feedback if I was lucky, and that would be it. I'd be able to get something off of my chest, and other people...well, they be able to 'get off'. What I got in return, was enough to carry this site to where it is today. Right away people seemed to connect to it, and sent encouragement for a second chapter. I still have those emails saved as well. The second chapter warranted a third, the third warranted a fourth...and once Tyler was established as a permanent character in the snowballed into a 30+ chapter story. If it weren't for that little urge to give this inspiration a shot, none of this would have been possible. So "New Kid In School" will always exist as one of my lifelong favorites, mistakes and all. My life, before the posting of this story, was EXTREMELY different back then! So I hold this particular series up as the story that changed my life. It created this site, it allowed me to meet and talk to amazing people from all over the world, it helped me get through some of the hardest times of my life, and it allowed me to come out to my best friend who I've been in love with since I was 14. "New Kid" is the beginning of everything, and that's one of the reasons that it will always be close to my heart no matter what.

The characters in the story were almost entirely based on people that I knew growing up. "Ryan", "Tyler", "Sam", "Matt", "Wilson", "Ariel"...all real people! (Still catch a quick glimpse of Sam from time to time, but that's it) People that I had crushes on, people that I knew everyone ELSE would have crushes on if they met them in real life. (The funny thing is...I'm sure some of you HAVE) But over time, the characters that I made them into began to grow personalities of their own and the story is now written more from my imagination than my memories. I love all of the characters, new and old, dearly, and I know it's going to be a sad day when I decide that it's time to end the series. I doubt I'll be able to do it without feeling bad about it. They've been a part of my life for way too long now to let them go. :)

"My Only Escape"

As disturbing and unsettling as this story is for a lot of people to read at first, it was another one on this website that I truly hold close to my heart. More than anything, it represents the freedom from a secret that I have been keeping mostly to myself since I was 7 or 8 years old, and remains the only story that I have EVER written where graphic parental abuse was the main focus of the storyline. On this site, or anywhere else. Many people ask how 'true' this story is, and it comes pretty close to being factual in a lot of places. There are a lot of things that I think are just too gross or uneccessarily brutal, and therefore don't belong in the story, so I don't put them in there. I think certain details would make the story unreadable. If anything, they draw more attention to the abuse than they do to the romance that I'm trying to bring to the surface more and more with every chapter. But it did happen to me, and until the first chapter of this story was written, I was really being held hostage by it emotionally.

I was soooo oversensitive about abuse and hitting a child before this. I was trying to post hints of the problem here and there in other stories, but whenever people commented on it or asked for things to 'get better', I got really flustered. I felt like yelling, "Where was MY happy ending?" Or "Why didn't anybody just magically appear and make everything all better for ME when I was getting my ass kicked?" I took it very personally and I shouldn't have. I think that was a big part of me pushing to finally write "My Only Escape" out and really describing to people what was going through my mind through all of this. What it really feels like, and what it does to you over time. I was way too emotional over it to say that I honestly had the feeling 'under control' I decided to just sit down and do it. So far, it has become a bigger website favorite than I ever thought possible. That makes a lot of that pain and secrecy go away, and I appreciated every email that I've ever gotten on this story. It feels incredible to have that incredible weight lifted from my chest and to actually be able to really let go of some of that awful experience a little bit at the time. Those beatings are a part of my personal history, and being able to get that out of my system truly helped to make me feel like a worthwhile person again. I have many, many, (MANY! Hehehe!) relapses into feeling like I'm not doing anything right and screwing up badly enough to warrant being shot! And I'm still kicking myself for every mistake, still withdrawing from everybody when I've got 'bad stuff' to deal with, still feel like shit from time to time for little or no reason at all. But I'm learning. Thanks to this story, I'm finally learning.

"Decisions Of Love"

The main reason that this story has such a strong meaning to me is because it's one of the most EXACT depictions of how I was feeling at that precise moment when I started it. I remember it and 'feel' it as vividly and as clearly as I did then. I wrote the entire first half in one sitting. Angry, hurt, crying like CRAZY, totally was awful. And yet I was trying to 'hold back' a little to keep from ranting TOO much. I was in extremely bad shape at the time and was still really guarded when it came to putting my feelings out there for anybody to read. Still, this painful story was determined to push straight through to the surface. It's a long long personal story that I'd rather not go into, but to make a long story short I fell madly in love with somebody who fell in love with somebody else that I was really close to. It was about a week or so before I left the Shack for the first time, not knowing if I was ever going to come back at all. I had JUST found out the heartbreaking 'news' an hour before I sat down and started typing it out. I took a walk out by the lake onto this long pier that went out into the water, and literally cried my eyes out where my roommates couldn't see me. Anyway, when I came back in, I was soooo angry, sooo frustrated. I just felt worthless beyond anything you can imgine, and I was so STUPID for not seeing what was going on earlier! It was one of those things where you just hated yourself for not being exactly what someone wanted when they were exactly what YOU wanted. You know? Anyway, when I got back online I just started pounding away at the keys and poured out every harsh and hurtful word that I had rumbling around inside my head. It felt like my chest was collapsing, and I cried the whole time I was writing that first scene in the parking lot. I usually, nine times out of ten, avoid that kind of pain and try to keep it from swallowing me whole like it used to when I was younger. But this time, this was the first time that I ever really 'channeled' it into something and wrote it out like that. To this day, it's still one of the biggest expressions of pain that I've ever written for the site (With the exception of "My One Fallen Angel"), and that first half still brings me back to what it was like that night.

Once I had finished getting my feelings out in that first scene, I saved it, turned off the machine, and tried to go to sleep on it. The next few days I didn't even touch it. I was hurt and disgusted and didn't even want to look at it. sat. I moped around for a long time, pouting, crying, ready to put my fist through a wall, and didn't go back to finish it. I stepped away from the site, said goodbye to the good friends I'd made online, shut down my email...I was done with it all. "Decisions Of Love" sat in my files for over a YEAR, without another word added. (It didn't even have a TITLE until later on!) It was a place that I didn't want to go back to right away, and the other people involved used to read the stories back posting it would have been rude and 'public' and an invasion of privacy. Not to mention that I wrote it when I was angry. I hated EVERYTHING! The whole fucking WORLD! It wasn't necessarily a clear vision, you know? So I let it rest, and instead (when I returned to the Shack a month or so later, I think) wrote my feelings about the situation in a different story. And in a much calmer frame of mind. It had the same basic storyline, same basic painful memories in it, but was told much more objectively without me being so blinded with rage and heartache. That story was "Arcade Junkie 3".

Did I ever finish it? Of COURSE I DID! Hehehe, it's on the site, isn't it? A year later, I found it in my files, and decided to touch it up a bit (Took out some of the hateful words, curses, and pure 'venom' that I had put in it to tone it down a little. But made sure that I left about 90% of it the same story as I had written it that night). Then, after finishing the second half, I posted it on the Library as a writing contest challenge. Challenging anyone reading to finish the story any way they saw fit. Those other stories were incredible, and I think the other writers were really able to relate to the feeling of what was going on. Even more than I had expected them to. My own ending to it was written in a whole new frame of mind. Much more maturity and much less temper tantrum. And to this day, I only glance at the first half of that story. Just to think back to what I was feeling that night. When the whole world felt like it was just 'overwith' and I wanted to die. I know that might sound kinda creepy and weird, hehehe...but there's beauty in that misery sometimes when you look back at it. I can appreciate that.

"On The Outside"

Ahhhh yes, Ethan and Drew. They've grown into two of my all time favorite characters to write for, and this story was a milestone as far as the overall style for the other series was concerned. This was actually the very FIRST series that I ever took slowly before bringing the two love interests together. Before "Outside's" debut, every stand alone story, every chapter of a series that I was writing, had sex in it. SOME kind of sexual impact where that was basically the goal of each chapter. If you look through the older stuff, it was kinda like an x-rated 'sitcom' of sorts. You had two cute boys, some kind of conflict, and they find a way to get together and have sex within 30 minutes or less. It's not that I was just a horny bastard (well...not ENTIRELY!), but that's what I was use to reading on Nifty at the time. When I started, I wanted the stories to be as erotic and sexual as I could make them without losing a sense of an actual romance. Since it was for a primarily 'sexual' audience, sex seemed like a requirement.

I think the change came shortly after some comments came in about how all the 'easy fixes' and 'happy endings' in my stuff seemed fake and unrealistic. Which to me was a bit of a conflict because those were the type of stories that I wanted to write. I wanted something uplifting and something that would allow people to feel GOOD afterwards, you know? Not just because of the sex, but because I needed people to know that those magical moments and romantic situations and chance opportunities DO happen! They happen every day. I've been to the dark side of life, I didn't enjoy my extended vacation there. Anyway, it was the comments FOLLOWING that first bit of feedback that got me thinking. It seemed to be more about the fact that people were more into the stories than the actual sex. I could 'tone it down' and still have a decent story. Now...I'm pretty stubborn, hehehe, and was wondering if a lot of my audience would suddenly feel like something was missing if I didn't add the usual sexcapades at the end of a chapter. But I was definitely paying attention, and "On The Outside" was the first story that came to mind when I started thinking about a plot that would take some time to work through.

It was something that I had been planning for a long loooooong time to write, and had only completed the first few paragraphs. It was sort of based on a boy that I had a crush on in high school (He was so damn cute!). But no, he wasn't gay. Not that I know of. At least he wasn't 'out'....just a little girly in the most subtle ways. The whole idea was something that I really wanted to tackle at some point with the an 'out' kid and a closeted boy could possibly get together and be happy. What happens when those two worlds collide, being so different? With one boy who has to deal with the circumstances of hiding who he is, and another boy dealing with the circumstances of NOT hiding who he is. Drew and Ethan practically wrote the story for me once their personalities were born. The original version of the story was going to follow the same suit as all the others. Drew and Ethan meet, they find some way to become friends, it turns into spending some time alone, and then bang-bang-bang. It was only meant to be a one time story. But...with the new feedback coming in, I thought that out of all the new stuff I was writing, this one had the most potential for going a while without sex. So I started writing it over again from scratch, and decided to split the first chapter into two different parts. The first chapter was written with much more detail and I made sure to not take things too quickly or rush through to get them together. Or to even be friends for that matter. That first chapter went over a LOT better than I thought it would, and as the series went on, I found less and less reason to fill it with anything sexual at all. Or any of my other stories for that matter. It just...worked. And I really came to love the added emotion and detail that I could put into developing a stronger relationship between the two love interests. I think it made people care for the characters a lot more. So this spread to the other stories, and suddenly I could go a long time without writing much sex at all. That opened the doors for a whole new level of storylines, details, and plot twists that didn't revolve around sex.

So, "On The Outside" isn't just one of my favorites because of the characters or the story itself, but because it was one of those turning points that set a standard for how I write things out. The unfortunate part of all this is that NOW I have 100 stories all going on at once and they all need sequels in order to be complete! Hehehe, I'd KILL for a simple 30K one time story these days! Seriously though, it's definitely in my top ten, and more than deserves to be there.

"Save Or Sacrifice"

You hurt as I was at the time that I wrote this, I had pretty much become used to the whole idea of having my heart broken (Again...hehehe! It's gotta be me). So I think I handled it a lot better than I did with "Decisions Of Love", instead trying to see things from all angles instead of just spitting fire in every direction. I think it was channeled a lot better and made more of an effort to be 'fair' to everyone involved. Again....long story, but I got the wonderful opportunity to play "Ben" in a situation with one of my best friends and someone I had feelings for. I'll leave it at that. What intrigued me most about writing this story, though, was being able to approach it from all three sides of the story. Once I started writing it out, the mission became to make it so there were no real 'bad guys' involved. There weren't any intentional stabs in the back this time around, and it was a challenge trying to balance things out to where everybody had a reason for falling into this situation the way that they did.

I knew how I wanted the first chapter to end, and my thoughts and feelings rushed right back to the surface for that argument to take place. I remember stopping myself from getting enraged all over again, because I didn't want this to be that kind of story. That would have defeated the whole purpose of trying to understand what happened, forgive, and put it behind me. I think that it worked out pretty well in the end. I believe I had finished two chapters and was halfway through the third before I even made an 'attempt' to talk to the other two people involved again. It was one of those emotions that I just didn't want anymore, and I felt stupid holding that kind of grudge against two people that I cared about so deeply. Did it hurt? HELL yes! It hurt like CRAZY! For like months and months and MONTHS! Hehehe! Does it still hurt to this day? A little, I guess. But not enough to matter.

Anyway, this story's balance and the refusal to make it anybody's 'fault' is what makes it one of my favorites. It's a long way from being a temper tantrum (even though there's parts of it in the first two chapters. What can I say? I was miserable), and the dilemma of who's right and who's wrong became an involving storyline to think out and write down. Now...if only I could find a cool way to wrap it up and give it the ending I want it to have! Hehehe! I was worried about how it'd turn out and how the hell to solve the problem, but I think I've got some ideas for the rest of the story. Whether it's good or not, you'll have to be the judge.

"A Class By Himself"

The ultimate 'upset' in Shack history! Hahaha! What can I say about "Class"? I mean, I love writing the series, I love the characters, I love how it's grown over the years into what it is now. But you want to know what REALLY made this one of my favorites right from the beginning? The fact that this story finally FREED me from the unbreakable SHACKLE that was "New Kid In School"!!!

Don't get me wrong, I love "NKIS" with all of my heart, but at the time when the first "Class" chapter was written, I was doing all I could to get another one of my stories noticed. It was always, 'That was cool, but where's "New Kid"', or 'It was good. "New Kid" is better though', or 'Just write "New Kid" from now on and forget about the other ones'. Arrrgh! Hehehe! I really wanted to do a wide variety of different stories, dealing with subjects and issues that "NKIS" wasn't built for. One of those topics was the difference between social and financial classes. That's where Tanner and Derrick were born, and the story turned out to be a hit. By the end of the second chapter, it was almost running neck and neck with the site's reigning champ, and even had some people claiming it to be their favorite OVER "New Kid". That truly made a huge difference for me! It allowed me to finally get out of that pigeonholed little rut I was in and branch out into a variety of different series that grew to be just as potent and well loved as the site's original.

Now...that's not the ONLY reason that it's one of my favorites. As a story, it's really been an insanely fun series to work on. I was able to give this one a playful sense of humor, and a few touching moments that still stick with people to this day. For some odd reason, the Tanner and Derrick characters are extremely easy to write for when it comes to romance. They just seem to have that unbeatable chemistry that works when I think of the two of them together. When the third chapter was finished, I decided to put that chemistry to the test, and made the fourth chapter a special 'Valentine's Day' update. Just to see how romantic those two could possibly get. And that pushed the series into a whole other category for a lot of people. It remains a favorite chapter for the majority of folks reading. The storyline just blossomed once Chris was added into the cast of characters, and it is now moving on from there.

The whole series has recently gotten a facelift (You can find it under the header "A Class By Himself: Remixed"), where all of the chapters have been corrected and touched up. New formatting, new scenes, new details, new dialogue...the works. I was going to have to repost it to Nifty in order to send in the new chapters, so I figured "Why not fix everything wrong with it, and make it a decent representation of the site?" You know? But you can still read "A Class By Himself: Classic" too on the website if you want. Read 'em back to back if you want. This story is the one that allowed me to branch out more with my writing, and gave me the courage to try new ideas like "Gone From Daylight", "Billy Chase", the "Rainy Day Update", and many others. And the two main characters feel like best friends to me after all this time. I couldn't adore them any more.

"Gone From Daylight"

By far, one of my very VERY favorite stories to write on the website! It was the little voice in my head that kept whispering, "If you build it, they will come." Hehehe! There were many times while I was writing that first chapter, that I wanted to quit and toss it into that black hole with a bunch of other unfinished projects. I didn't expect it to work at all. It scared the living shit out of me the first time I hit the send button to have it posted on the website, and it's still a constant heart attack for me whenever I'm working on a chapter. Because CONSTANT perfection means more to me on this story than any other so far. I always refer to "GFD" as my 'pet project', and it makes me so happy that it's done as well as it has on the Shack over the years. Gathering a huge cult following of folks who know the story, the vampire rules, and its characters forwards and backwards! Even better than I do! And that's not an exaggeration...they usually point out little inconsistencies to me here and there that I don't notice myself while I'm writing. (Which is why I always post it in three parts on the Library now before the full re-edited version makes it to the story list. It gives me a chance to solve those little problems and fix those details before it becomes set in stone) This story needs a blooper reel, seriously. Hehehe!

The first person I ever showed this story to was one of my closest friends online. He was the ONLY one allowed to even PEEK at it at that point, he was sworn to secrecy, and he was one of the only people who knew that I was even working on a story like this. I pitched it to him as a cross between "New Kid In School" and "The Lost Boys", and even though it was already half finished when I sent it to him, I was really hoping that he wouldn't tell me it sucked. Just to justify me scrapping the whole project. I wanted him to be brutally honest with me as I had never done anything like this or anywhere else really. So I braced myself for the worst. The reaction that I got from him......hahaha! Wow! I still have that email saved to this day too! He was SO completely overwhelmed, so speechless, that I was floored by it. Needless to say, it was enough encouragement to go through with it and give it a possible shot at being on the site. I touched it up a little bit and ended the first chapter in a way that could feasibly be the one and only chapter just in case everyone else hated it. I mean, I was literally getting emails from folks who were telling me before even reading the first word that the idea of an 'erotic/sci-fi/horror' story wasn't really something that they would be into. So some of the people that knew about it were a bit skeptical. "Daylight" was also extremely long in comparison to everything else that I had written. THREE TIMES as long! It would require someone to sit there for an awfully long time to get through it all. I wondered if that was going to cause people to put it off until later. AND it would only be posted on the "Sci-Fi" section of Nifty where only sci-fi fans would see it. I worried that no one else would ever get the chance to read the story at all. As if all that wasn't already working against me, I was trying out an entirely new approach, attempting to push the envelope in ways that I had never done before, AND trying to create a 'readable' way to explain this weird fucked up philosophy of life that I've got. Just attempting to put what I was thinking into words without sounding like some kind of space man from planet Zero was a challenge in itself. I could only hope that people would somehow catch a phrase or two and know what the hell I was talking about. I didn't want to sound like a mystic, but I DID want to give everyone a unique view of life and society that they could hold onto and maybe use it to create a new perspective of their own. What can I say? I got lucky with this one.

It took longer to plan out all of the characters and storylines than it did to write the first chapter. I needed personalities, and looks, and background stories, and locations, and sequences, and quirks and flaws, not to mention a way to kinda play around with the whole vampire legend and add some new twists to it that I haven't seen before. Believe it or not, hidden very deep in every situation, in every character, and in every philosophical outlook mentioned in the entire life story is being laid out in front of you. From the vampires and the 'thirst' being a metaphor being gay and outcast, to hiding my attraction for teens, to how I was learning to deal with what I was, to the Beast (representing my battle with suicide), to 'Comicality' being my online persona and what's expected of him by others. If you look back at the passages, read the words, you'll see more of me and my life than you will in most stories. It's hidden pretty deep, so you'll have to get your binoculars for most things! Hehehe! But it's in there, trust me. There isn't a single line of story that doesn't have some kind of deeper meaning. Even in the fight scenes. I make sure of that. That's why each chapter takes so long.

By the time I had reached the end of the first chapter, the series had been planned all the way up through chapter 8, and now I've got everything planned all the way to the very end of the series. It just takes forever to write it all out and get from point A to point B. Especially when I keep adding things to the story to flesh it out more. There are tons of cameos from Shackers and ex-Shackers alike from the message boards and stuff, so you may see some familiar 'faces' in there. But remember that these chapters were plotted out YEARS ago, so some of those 'faces' might be long gone from the board these days. All in all, it's just become really fun to create this whole new world from scratch, to express as much of myself as I can while hiding it behind metaphors and twisted little plot points, and to have people actually understand some of the things that I'm talking about. I wanted people to get a glimpse of the world the way I see it, a glimpse of LIFE the way I see it, and so far people seem to get the idea. Honestly, I think this is probably the most effort that I've ever put into a story, and it will become the most rewarding when it's over. Despite it being one of the most grief causing, stress inducing, stories to work on (!!!) it's still a favorite. Hehehe!

"Final Hour"

Where to begin? "Final Hour" was a story that was specifically written for the "Rainy Day Update" on the site, and existed as something that would end up being a lot more serious than a lot of the other stories that I was writing at the time. There was no humor in this one at all. "FH" was one of the first stories that I thought about adding to the update, primarily because I wanted all of the stories to take place through different frames of time. It "Someone For Me" happened over the course of a few weeks, then this would take place in just one long hour. It was one of those stories where I wanted to dig deep into old wounds and try to turn it into something concrete for anyone else who needed to truly understand what was happening here. Based on something that I knew really well, and could maybe help someone else through it. It was all about my personal thoughts (and planning) of suicide when I was around 14 years old and things had gotten rough for both my mother and I. Much like "My Only Escape", it was something that I only hinted at and skirted around for a long time. The biggest dive into those feelings being with the beginning chapter of "Gone From Daylight" one year prior to this story being written. But it wasn't enough. It wasn't really a 'focus' yet, and I wanted to be as close to the feeling again as I could stand. So...I took the plunge, and just went through with the whole thing.

The story itself is fictional, creating a series of incidents for the main character to go through that would somehow tie into the rest of the special update. But I wanted that emotion to be real. Vivid. I didn't want to CONDONE suicide, not in any way. God NO! But I also didn't want to patronize the teens and others who might be going through it. No slogans or super sad depressed thoughts, no tugging on the heartstrings with the typcal "No one will miss me when I'm gone" stuff. I didn't want it to come off as one of those pep talks that you get in health class. Something like that can be easily ignored or pushed aside by someone in trouble, you know? This wasn't an anti-drug pamphlet, this was a true emotion, and I needed to get that accross this time. When I went through those times, suicide felt more like a business deal. Like another 'chore'. There was no emotion or sadness or any of that involved for me at all. Not at that point. Take out the trash, clean my room, get rid of my 'gay' evidence, give Mike my cool stuff....then slice my wrists. It was no more complicated than that. It was just a dark place that I didn't want to be in anymore, and I hated it. End of story. So I wrote it out as honestly as I could, and I think something about that pulled people into the story more than it would have if it was your average 'woe is me' story. I wrote it in small sections, never for too long a period because it was emotionally draining to work on most times. Seriously. And when it was finished, it felt like a piece of me was finally laid to rest for good. It was yet another brick off of my chest. It remained ONLY on the website for a long time, until the unthinkable happened. A close friend of mine in real life...only 17 years old, and basically like a little brother to me, took his own life. I had JUST seen him and given him a hug the night before. I can still see the smile on his face from that day as clear as day. It was 2001, pretty much one of the worst years of my life, and by the time this event happened...I was so distraught that I could hardly breathe. I lost faith in pretty much everything for a while after that. I was weak both inside and out. I didn't talk to anybody, I didn't call anybody, I hardly left the house...I cried all day EVERY day for weeks and weeks on end. And when I wasn't crying, I was completely numb inside. Anyone who tried to even get through to me on the phone or in email during that time can tell entire emotional state was just shutting itself down completely. If I made it through a phone conversation for more than two minutes without bursting into tears, I was doing good. No one could help me through that, not online, not Mike, not my mom...nobody. And God knows they tried. I'm used to taking care of my problems all by myself, it's just my way. But that was waaaay too much to handle on my own. So it took it's toll on me.

He committed suicide the same way I had planned to all those years before, with a razor blade. I didn't know what happened until he didn't show up for work the next day. To think of him in that dark place where I once was is one of the most painful thoughts I can possibly imagine, and it still burns just as much inside today as it did back then. Just knowing that someone I loved so dearly had to die without me at his side. He was one of the sweetest kids I knew. The story, "Final Hour", had a much bigger meaning once he died, and after a period of intense mourning, I posted the story at Nifty in his honor. As a tribute to the boy that I lost.

I've only read it twice since that summer when it was first posted. Once before posting it on Nifty, and once because I received a special email from someone who wanted to read it to one of his high school classes. (I checked for over-explicit content) I don't look at it any more, at ALL, and probably won't for a long long time. While my friend will always be in my heart, suicide is something I'm done with. It's a part of me that's gone now, and I don't want it back. No matter how important the story may be to its audience, I can't bare to read it again. It's painful for me to even glance at now.

So what makes this story one of my favorites? It's the touching response that I got in return for Nifty's post. The overwhelming amount of emails that came from boys and girls alike, many of them teenagers going through similar hard times, who saw "Final Hour" and read the "My Fallen Angel" post...and were deeply affected by it. Some of them admitted to contemplating suicide themselves, or showing it to a friend who they were afraid was going to do the same. Some from people who had tried before unsuccessfully and had learned their lesson. The amount of sentiment surrounding this story truly gave my friend's senseless death some kind of meaning in my eyes. It didn't take away any the pain, but at least it gave it some purpose. "Final Hour", I think, truly was able to help a lot of people out and made a difference in many people's lives. If just one life was spared that horror, just one, then I'm glad. Good. I hope it's still doing that to this day. He would have wanted to help. He was that sweet. And I hope he's proud of me for doing it. It's an important story to read if you haven't done so yet.

"Magic Man"

While this one got a bit lost in the shadows for a while, it is still one of my favorites. 'Why' will become evident as it grows into the plot a bit more, and readers can see what's happening with the story. When it was first posted, it got a mediocre response, not many replies at all. And the ones it did get were'bad'! Hehehe! Basically, the same trap that I was once in with "New Kid In School", I was now in that same hole with "Gone From Daylight". And I had no way to get anyone to separate themselves from the vampire story long enough to get into anything different. However...beating "GFD" is not why I wrote it.

During the few years that the Shack had been online, I had made a lot of online friends through email and the like. Friends that I loved dearly, and cared for, and wanted to help. But there was a time when I was seriously getting burned out and 'delicate' when it came to the problems of everyone writing to me. It's not that I didn't want to hear it, because I DID. But do you know how terrifying it is to have someone you know and love and talk to all the time...tell you they want to die? Or tell you that they were verbally, physically, and sexually abused? That they were kicked out of the house, or were beaten up at school, or outed to their parents by accident? Over time, it can really get to you mentally. And despite my best efforts, there was no way for me to cheer them up, or make them feel any better about their lives, or to wake them up out of the misery that they were putting themselves through on a daily basis. I sympathized greatly, with all my heart, but more than that, I wanted them to rise out of that pain and get better. I wanted them to be stronger than the misery and the obstacles and the doubt and the fear...and to get an outlook on life that would help them through it. Doing that...proved to be near impossible.

I wouldn't call it 'whining', because all of these people had real problems, real dilemmas, and I knew it was hard to deal with. But there was a vast majority of folks who 'refused' to cheer up. Almost on purpose. Without rhyme or reason, they were happier being sad. (If that makes sense) I mean there were literally TONS of folks who were locked into this pattern of breaking down with some sort of huge dramatic plunge every week. And that's dangerous, especially when they let themselves sink so low. I know because I was there. I STILL do it myself from time to time. So "Magic Man" was going to be written almost like a 'textbook' for breaking that cycle. To pulling yourself out of that quicksand and reaching for the sun instead of trying to sink lower into the mud. Unfortunately, there has only been one chapter written so far, and it's only the introduction to the puzzle. I think that's where the negative reaction came from.

I wanted to create this depressed, average, almost 'unlikeable' character...that would eventually learn and grow and turn into something more well defined. Something stronger, wiser, more aggressive. The whole story is about finding the wisdom to separate the trivial bullshit from the truly rugged ordeals in your life. And then finding that inner strength to overcome them no matter what. But it takes 'effort', and a real desire to be better than what you think you can be. This was the only way for me to really describe that. So the first chapter is concentrating on ONE thing, and one thing only....the 'cycle'. That repetitious circle of fear and doubt and self pity. That happens over and over and over again. That monotonous routine that I don't think a lot of people realize that they're trapped in. I've read it in many emails, many many times. Same pattern, same circle, same comments, same problems, same reactions, same fears. Sometimes word for word. That's what I wanted to display with Gavin in the first chapter. I didn't want him to be Mr. Popular, cute little slim teeny bopper boy. Because not everyone can BE that kid in real life. Most people aren't. I needed a boy that was much more everyday. Also, while I was introducing Gideon into the story, I wanted him to be much more aggressive than the other characters that I had written before. A snotty brat with an 'in your face' approach. The only person who would be strong enough to break through Gavin's defenses and force his way in to helping him get better. I needed Gideon to be kinda weird and off balanced and quirky this first time around. To not really tell Gavin much of anything, just flirt with his self pity by inspiring a few well placed questions here and there. Just to tantalize him into realizing that maybe there were answers out there that he wasn't seeing. Gideon's role in 90% of this chapter is to simply 'bully' Gavin into questioning his life and his routine, which will ultimately help him to break it and build a more productive one. That's what I wanted people to get. That's why the story is slow and repetitive and miserable. It's a representation of what a lot of people go through and never see it for themselves. It's the reason for Gavin to change.

So, while "GFD" was written for me mostly, "Magic Man" was written for all of the amazing people out there who needed that much needed pep talk. Those people that needed that lightning bolt from heaven to strike them and give them the energy to get on their feet and take the whole fucking WORLD on if they had to! It was born out of the emails and conversations that I had been having with folks who seemed to be perpetually in a state of depression but did nothing to really improve their situation because they were scared of what it might mean. (Don't worry, I'm hardly one to talk. I do it too, the same as you) It was a story that I felt was needed, and when the second chapter comes out (and IS coming out!) I hope that people will be able to see the second stage of Gavin's development and understand what the story is trying to accomplish. I plan for this to be a four chapter story, and hope I can keep it to that. "Initiation", "Acceptance", "Metamorphosis", and "Manifestation", were the original names of the four chapters. That may change over time, but it is plotted out from beginning to end, and I hope that it will turn out to be an inspiring story once it's all said and done. I guess it's my 'hope' for this one and what it can do that makes it one of my favorites.

"Savage Moon"

Last, but certainly not least, is the brand NEW story..."Savage Moon"! There's not a whole lot of detail to go into about this one, as it is just beginning. And if what I have planned for this one works out right, it may become a new site favorite! It is the future of the stories on this site, and I'm going to be stretching out, character wise, story wise, plot wise, writing far as I possibly can. Hopefully it'll be a big improvement over everything I've done so far. That's what I'm reaching for.

The fourth series in what was once going to be a sci-fi trilogy, "Savage Moon" will have a much darker feel than what a lot of people are used to. Dark, in an outright 'evil' way. And I like that. The other members of the sci-fi trilogy had different concepts to them. "Gone From Daylight" was about life and society. "Always" (Unreleased) was about choice and circumstances. And "Magic Man" was about inner strength and perspective of life. "Savage Moon", however, is about letting go. About being true to yourself and releasing that tight grip on those fun little impulses that we deny ourselves all too often. But it is also about knowing the limit, drawing the line at a certain point, and not letting those impulses control you to the point where you've lost your morals and sense of logic. It's about being free but knowing how far is TOO far. So far, I'm having a blast writing this story, because it's taking me to places in my writing that I've never been to before. I can be 'naughty' with this one. Violence, and selfishness, and sexual passions, and aggression, and greed, and jealousy...I can really indulge in all of these things fully while writing this story, and it leaves a lot of room to be creative in a way that I couldn't do with some of the other stories. So I get to dig in the 'forbidden files' of my mind for this one and be as ruthless as I want to be. So "Savage Moon" will turn out to be a different 'animal' entirely from the rest, and I hope that everyone enjoys it!

The first chapter has been posted on the site, and is only the 'set up' for what's to come. Trust me, the characters in this story will not be anywhere NEAR as nice as the ones in "Gone From Daylight", or even "Magic Man"! So check for this one, and I hope it becomes the next big thing for the Shack!

Well...there you have it. My top ten favorite stories, in no particular order, and the reasons why. I'm sure the 'best of' list a LOT different for most of you reading this, but this is purely speaking from a writing standpoint. These are events from my life, both good and bad, that have molded me as a person and therefore everything else that you read on this site. So my reasons are different. If you have a different top ten, send it to me! I'd love to see it!

Thanks to 'Jason' for suggestng the idea for this section (I hope this is up to 'code', mister! Hehehe! ::Salutes With A Kiss::) Now....if you don't's taken me a looooong time to type all of this out! LOL! So I'm gonna get up and go do something 'unrelated to the internet' right now! Seezya!

This page was last updated on February 11, 2016.