WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN?
(Or "On A Clear Day I Can See My House From Here!")
Speaking for myself, I can safely say that what you the reader end up reading is not always what was originally written. Each chapter of the stories you have read here were first written, then edited and corrected and often significant sections were re-written. There are many reasons for this; sometimes I just need to get something, anything, written down. It's easier to tinker afterwards, and even though it hurts to end up deleting five or ten pages of material because it just doesn't measure up to what I want people to see, sometimes it's just necessary.
That generates little fragments of lost story or dialogue that tend to sit around on my hard drive because, as anyone who has seen my apartment can tell you, I hate to throw anything out.
After "Doors Best Left Unopened", though, my writing hit a particularly rough spot. I'd been writing the same story since I started writing fanfic, and I was more than a little burnt out. The next story was going to be something different, a story that would answer the oft asked question, "Where's Ranko?"
For a while, though, it appeared as though this story was never going to happen. I couldn't bring myself to write, wasn't happy with any ideas that I came up with. I wanted this story to be something special, and even though I couldn't articulate what that something was, I knew I was nowhere near finding it.
Finally, after taking a break, I started writing again. No other story has ever given me the amount of trouble this one has, though, and it took several false starts before I hit my stride. Recently, I had cause to look back at the unfinished bits of story that led to what readers have come to know as OACDYCSF. It was a little like being an archeologist, unearthing artifacts that traced an evolution. Some of the fragmentary beginnings were fairly sizable, and it seemed sort of a waste to me that none of that effort would ever be seen.
So I started toying with the idea of putting these artifacts out where people could read them. It seemed a little self-indulgent at first, but when I floated the idea it received some fairly enthusiastic responses. And so I figured, hey, why not? At the very least readers will get some sort of idea how this story gradually came to be. If it proves an interesting experience for even just one person, then it won't have been a waste of time digging these things up and dusting them off.
I should point out that it is in no way necessary to read these to appreciate or understand the story as it is now. Neither will you find spoilers here, although the genesis of some familiar ideas will likely be apparent. I've written notes to go along with each piece; these do contain spoilers for the particular fragments that they are associated with, so it might be advisable to read them afterwards rather than before each segment.
So that's it. These are pretty much as they came out of my head; my pre-reader, Michael Chase, has seen and commented on them, but no significant revisions have been undertaken. These are all first drafts, except inasmuch as they grow from each other. They are also in chronological order as they were written. I hope you find them interesting.
Notes On Draft One
Notes On Draft Two
Notes On Draft Three
Notes On Draft Four