Questions & Answers

After Dust to Dust’s completion, a few of my lovely friends and readers hosted a “wrap up” discussion on the It’s Done thread over at the Sims Forums. I’ve decided to share some of these questions and answers here, in case anyone was interested!

Also, I am ALWAYS more than happy to answer any questions from readers, so do not hesitate to comment with anything you may be wondering about and I will answer! ๐Ÿ™‚

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD

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Q: This ending is just beautiful and everyone loved it! Did you have it in mind from the beginning on? If not, when did you decide on the final ending?

A: Thank you! Okay, this answer is going to be borderline-embarrassingย haha

When I first came up with D2D, the ending I had in mind was SO bad haha. Lucas was going to bring Evelyn back with no sacrifice on his end. Then, he and Evelyn were just going to live happily together until his natural death of old age. They were even going to get back together romantically! I don’t even know what I was thinking!ย Not only would a 75 year old dating a 20 year old be super strange (haha) but it just felt so cheesy and boring and unoriginal and unrealistic (lol as if a ghost story can be ‘realistic’ย :P)

Thankfully, I quickly saw the light and threw that ending out the window! Ever since then, I’d known that Lucas was going to sacrifice himself. It really felt like the best way. But, at that point, I had multiple options I was considering — In one version, it was a straight-forward sacrifice and Krystina actually had to make the Ambrosia for Evelyn. Something felt “wrong” about that one… Lucas had to be the one to do it, after everything he’d gone through to get to that point.

Another option was very similar to the way the actual ending ended up playing out, but Lucas actually lived long enough to see Ev alive again for a few minutes. They shared a real, physical hug and he revealed the truth about his sacrifice, then died. Part of me liked this one, because it gave them those few minutes they’d always dreamt of — where they are BOTH alive and solid and can finally FEEL each other… But I ended up being cruel ๐Ÿ˜› (I was even briefly considering being even MORE cruel and having her not see Lucas at all! Gaia/The Hermit would have revealed to her about Lucas’ sacrifice and helped her to move on without her getting to see him one last time… But that ending was just too mean :P)

So, in the end, I thought it would be a better “journey” for Evelyn if she went through that deep depression and grieving. If she’d had that conversation with Lucas right away, it would give her resolution too quickly. I don’t know…. I guess I was thinking from a selfish author-y POV “What would be more dramatic and emotional and interesting to read?” so I decided that it was better to have things play out the way that they did in the ending everyone knows. I only made that decision a couple of weeks ago!

Until then, I was going with the one where they were going to have those few minutes together. I wonder how people would have felt about that ending?

Q: How long did you usually take to write a chapter for Dust to Dust? Is there anything that helped you with writing like music or something?

A: I am SLOW. Like, SUPER slow. Like, insanely super slow. Like, it takes anywhere from 3-5 hours to write a chapter, sometimes more! Hahaย But it should be known that that isn’t 5 hours STRAIGHT. That’s 5 hours that includes chatting with people on Origin, poking around the forums, and checking Facebook ๐Ÿ˜‰ I always have so many ideas in my head, but when it comes time to sit down and write, it’s hard to focus. I write in “bursts”. Like, I’ll sit there for 20 minutes doing nothing but typing. Then I spent another 20 minutes goofing around/doing something else. Then I come back to what I wrote in those first 20 minutes and obsessively edit it ๐Ÿ˜›ย Then I write for another 20 minutes. Then repeat (more or less. Obviously this isn’t EXACTLY what I did every time, but you get the idea!)

As for screenshotting… That can take the same amount of time, more, or less than writing, depending on the chapter! Ones where it’s just a conversation between two characters take maybe an hour or so. My time-jump chapters usually take HOURS and HOURS. Like, up to 7 or 8. It’s so difficult because I need to age my characters, set up scenes, etc. The epilogue took the longest amount of time by far… I legitimately spent about 13 hours total. I’m not exaggerating at all. XDย ย Mind you, that was over the course of 3 days, but still! I checked the timestamps just now of my screenshots and I did 4-5 hour bursts of screenshotting for three days in a row in order to get that epilogue.

So… The answer is that these chapters take a LONG time. ๐Ÿ˜›ย And as for music, that actually distracts me too much if I try to listen to music while writing! ๐Ÿ˜› But I always listen to ‘white noise’ on YouTube. It helps me focus on what I’m writing!

Q:ย The stories idea is just so intriguing. How did you get the idea of writing a story revolving around a ghost?

A: I have always been a “story” player. I have never written any SimLit before D2D, but I always loved to tell stories through my playing. It was almost like roleplaying, and writing the storyline in my head as I played. In TS3, one of my favorite “stories” to play out was having a child have an imaginary friend that no one else believed was real. The kid grew very close to the imaginary friend, and even fell in love with them as a teen. The kid would then work to make their imaginary friend real so they could finally be together and prove everyone wrong. It’s such a cheesy cliche, but I really always loved that one.

When I decided to try writing a SimLit story at last, that was the idea I kept coming back to. But without imaginary friends in TS4, I wasn’t sure how to make it work. Then I thought to myself “What if the kid’s ‘imaginary friend’ is really a ghost?” and then I just kinda went with it! I was very excited to write this story, because I’ve always wanted to write a really beautiful love story…

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a romance with a ghost really would never work out in real life, and I knew that the boy and the ghost would not end up together in the long run… But I thought to myself “Well, it’s still a love story, isn’t it? Who says it has to be romantic?” ๐Ÿ™‚

Q: What “team” did you root for and why?

A: Hahaha okay, I feel almost like this question isn’t entirely fair… I kind of HAD to be #TeamMel to make Lucas spend his life with her, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I suppose the short answer is TeamMel. But there’s a longer answer (and here it is!)

Lucas’ relationship with Evelyn was so important and special… And let’s be real — it’s kind of the thing that “hooked” readers in the first place! ย I see things this way — Lucas and Evelyn are basically the definition of Starcrossed lovers. Their personalities were so compatible, and they truly could have been each others’ soulmates (maybe they were, in a way). But the reality of their situation got in the way. It simply COULD NOT work between them, in the long run. They weren’t ‘meant’ to be together romantically. And it was very painful for me to have to write that ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Now, all that being said, I don’t think that should take anything away from his relationship with Mel. I almost tried to allude to this idea by Mel’s thoughts about moving on after Christian — She truly loved her first husband and thought they’d be together forever. But he was taken from her by death. Does her love for Christian take away anything from her love of Lucas? Of course not! Her comment (in chapter… 41? 42? I’m bad at remembering! XD) saying “Maybe it’s possible to have more than one love of your life” is just as applicable to Lucas. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and if I’m allowed to answer the reader question… Well… I think everyone knows… *strokes Lucas’ beard lovingly* XD

Q:ย In keeping with the theme of teams, what made you choose to have a character like Melanie? Were you afraid it would turn readers (and avid Evelyn fans) off from your story?

A: Ever since the beginning, when I knew things wouldn’t work out with Lucas and Ev, I planned for him to have a new love interest who he would share his life with. I really needed to write a character that readers would warm up to (this relates a bit to the second part of your question haha) and also who would feel compatible with Lucas. That was how Mel came to be! She was always planned to show up when/how she did (more or less), even in the earliest versions of my story ๐Ÿ™‚

And in answer to the second part of your question, I WAS TERRIFIED. You seriously can’t even imagine. I felt anxious enough with Lucas’ 21st birthday… But when I introduced Mel, I was freaking out! XD Don’t get me wrong — I know that not every reader will like every character… Of course they won’t!

But, at the same time, I feel like readers need to feel a connection to the characters in order to care about what happens to them. So I was terrified that people wouldn’t care about Mel and therefore would not be moved/affected by what happened to her (fun fact, Mel was always going to die before Lucas, and be the one to convince Grimmy to tell him the last ingredient). I knew that everyone loved Evelyn and also loved Lucas and Evelyn being together, so it was very nerve-wracking for me! But I think most people warmed up to Mel in the end, and saw the beauty in her relationship with Lucas ๐Ÿ™‚ Or at least, I hope they did!

Q: How far in advance did you plan?

A: Hmm… This is a complicated question! XD Back in the end of June was when I first came up with D2D, and did my original test playthrough. At the time, I had a very vague outline that looked something like this: (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for people who weren’t there for the discussion…)

-Boy meets ghost
-Boy wants to bring ghost back to life
-Boy falls in love with ghost
-Relationship with ghost doesn’t work out
-Boy and ghost do not see each other for many years
-Boy gets married and has a child
-Child befriends ghost
-Boy meets ghost again
-Boy grows old
-Boy finally brings ghost back to life

So if that counts as “planning” (lol!), then the basic outline had been planned right from the start!

As I’d kind of mentioned in response to one of July’s questions, things like the very ending were changed a bit as I went along. But, for the most part, everything was planned out well in advance! I think the “latest” that anything changed was a few weeks before a chapter was written. Things like the very ending changed a couple of weeks ago. The “selfishness” angle (which was mostly my boyfriend’s idea, I must admit! :P) also come to being only a few weeks before I actually got to that part ๐Ÿ™‚

Q: What surprises happened?

A: Not too many! I admit to being a super micro-manager on this XDย I think the biggest ‘surprise’ was introducing the supernatural elements to the story (beyond ghosts). Having Grimmy and also having the Hermit be Gaia/Mother Nature were NOT in my original plan. In my test-playthrough, Lucas happened to be in the park when a townie died, and Grimmy showed up. That turned on the “lightbulb” and made me go “Aha! Grimmy can tell Lucas about the ambrosia!” and that whole plot element developed very quickly in my mind! (Originally, Lucas was going to find out about the Ambrosia on his own through research)

When we first met the Hermit, she was really going to just be a weird “witch” type lady. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted her to be “something more”… So I decided she would be Mother Nature, and I just went with it!

The only other real surprises were Krysti’s kids and Ev’s kids. I did not influence their genders or anything, so Krysti having a daughter and then a son was unplanned. And, as for the epilogue, I had ORIGINALLY planned to have Ev have two kids SEPARATELY… but the game gave her twins! ๐Ÿ˜›ย So I rolled with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q:I know that Mel is a Townie–what other Townies played major roles?

A: Yes, Mel is a townie! (And a very pretty one at that!). Lucas’ friends were all townies too — Noah, Sam, Camryn, and Laura (all of whom, by the way, I feel bad about having them fade away into the background… But it kind of had to happen for my story. But I guess it’s also kind of realistic right? You don’t see/talk to you your friends as much as you get older and have your own families).

I will say that I made them be townies for a reason! I kinda wanted it to feel “real” (again, as “real” as you can get with a story like this!). In the “real world”, Lucas would have just met the people living around town… So I had him befriend the actual kids who lived in the neighborhood and fall in love with an actual townie girl he ran into at a bar (but I did change her makeup and give her eyelashes XD). And I confess to purposely making sure the townie Lucas would fall in love with was pretty ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q: And, I know that Ev’s husband was created by Munter–what other Sims were created by friends and community members?

A: Damien and Becca were both gallery sims I’d downloaded months before starting D2D, as were Evelyn’s parents. I’d used both couples for past saves before, and decided to recycle them for D2D. I feel awful not knowing who made them originally so I could credit them! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Oh, and the blonde Lucas had his one night stand with was also a gallery sim. Mind you, all of these were gallery sims I gave makeovers too, so I tweaked them a bit. But they weren’t 100% original creations!

Other characters like Mitch and Christian were recycled from my Legacy and were made with game genetics. ๐Ÿ™‚

Q:ย As a reader who often gets carried away by my emotions and responses when leaving comments, did you ever get comments from readers that made you face-palm, and if so, how did you manage to carry on and stick to your original vision and just let readers deal with their own feelings and emotions?

A: Hahaha I’ve had a few of these! I’ve had a couple people get mad about certain plot events, or express dislike of a character, etc and it’s hard to not get upset/defensive about it! Hard as it was, the best way to get through it was to try to tell myself “You know what? This is MY story. I’m writing this for ME… Who cares what they think?”

But I definitely admit that it was much easier said than done!ย I had my fair share of wilty flower moments related to reader reactions!

Q:ย What’s your favorite memory about having created this, and do you have a favorite part of the process (like playing, daydreaming, taking screenshots, or writing)?

A: Ooh, this is an awesome question, but I don’t even know how to answer it XDย Hmm… I guess favorite memories (plural!) were any time I was able to move myself with what I was writing. I don’t mean to sound conceited or something XD It’s easy sometimes, as a writer, to “distance” yourself from the events and emotions going on in the story. Things like being so concerned about how to word a certain sentence or a particular line of dialogue that you are thinking more technically than emotionally. This has definitely happened to me! Any time I was able to make MYSELF feel emotion while writing was special to me, because it made me feel like “Okay, this is good.”ย ๐Ÿ˜›

And my favorite part of the process… Hmm… This might be a strange answer haha but I loved the daydreaming/planning part. I would be driving in the car or standing in the shower or laying in bed and all these ideas would just start pouring out of my imagination. I’d start writing lines of dialogue in my head, visualizing screenshots, etc and get so excited and eager to get to work. Those moments were always so amazing and really helped drive me to write and work on my story!

Q: If you could do it all again, knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

A: The answer is yes! Nothing huge, but yes.

The biggest change I would make is to re-write my first 10-15 chapters and make them longer and more detailed. When I started writing this, I kind of “held back” on my writing, if that makes any sense? Like, I intentionally kept my chapters around 500 words or so, didn’t do as much description, etc. And honestly, it was kinda because I was like “This is how SimLit is supposed to be, and people reading this will not want to read anything too long or wordy”. Then somehow between chapters 15-20, I just got so invested in the story that I didn’t even care anymore, and stopped holding back ๐Ÿ˜†

Another change (that I think a re-write of these first several chapters would help!) would be to show a little bit more of Evelyn and Lucas’ relationship. We barely saw them together when Lucas was a child, then BAM as a teen he’s in love with her ๐Ÿ˜† I think a lot of their relationship development had to be imagined by readers. I wish I could go back and change it!

Q: Some of your most powerful chapters are the wordless ones, how did you come up with that concept?

A: Ah, the wordless chapters! I love them ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ™‚ And I was so glad that readers enjoyed them too!

It all started with that original Evelyn interlude. At first, the chapter was planned to be Evelyn and Lucas talking, and Ev was telling Lucas all about her life before she died. I wrote maybe a paragraph or two of it, and then it just didn’t feel right. It felt… I don’t know how to describe it ๐Ÿ˜† But it didn’t feel right, trust me!

So I was thinking to myself “Well… what if you just let the pictures speak for themselves”? At the time, I had never seen anyone do a wordless chapter before (I know now that I’m not the first one to think of the idea though ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hahaha) so I was nervous that it would be weird and no one would like it… But boy, was I wrong! Hahaha

After I saw the response that first interlude got, I thought of future plot points that I could do interludes for. I knew I’d do one for Lucas’ birthday, one for Mel’s backstory, one for Mel’s death, and the epilogue. The one where they were searching for the angelfish was actually another last-minute decision like that original interlude though! I was going to actually WRITE about their attempts to find the angelfish, but again, I started writing it and things didn’t ‘feel’ right. So I went wordless. ๐Ÿ˜†

Q:ย I enjoyed that most of your characters seemed to have character flaws, making them more believable (Lucas’s indecisiveness and avoidance of conflict, Ev’s selfish ways… though I can’t think of any flaws when it comes to mel, ha!). How did you come up with those?

A: That was always one thing I really wanted to do in my story — have flawed characters! (Though, like you said, I didn’t really give Mel an obvious flaw… Which I feel kind bad about? ๐Ÿ˜† I guess in the pre-Lucas days (as seen in her Interlude) one flaw of hers would be refusing to let go of the past and move on. Almost Evelyn-style. But we didn’t get to see that side of her, really ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )

I honestly don’t even know if those flaws were conscious at all… I just sort of wrote the characters that way ๐Ÿ˜† As I think I’ve mentioned before, all of Lucas and Evelyn’s flaws are also MINE. I am horribly indecisive, I will avoid the truth in order to avoid conflict, and can be extremely selfish (in Ev-like ways). So I guess I was kind of thinking “How would real-life, flawed Amanda deal with this situation?”. And that’s what ended up happening! The whole “this was a lesson to teach Evelyn not to be selfish” thing did not come about until late in my story, actually (I had been avoiding trying to think of a reason why Evelyn was kept behind. @ra3rei and my boyfriend helped me reach the decision to go with that selfishness angle!). But part of why it was so easy to come up with was because of Ev’s past behavior and mistakes… so her flaws ended up aiding the plot quite a bit ๐Ÿ˜†

Q:ย I remember in your earlier stages of writing you were uncertain of how to best portray Lucas’s increasing age, and he’d aged even more after that. How did you ultimately deal with depicting characters much older than yourself?

A: Lame answer time…

I didn’t really deal with it… I just… kinda did it. ๐Ÿ˜† It was very difficult for me! I ended up deciding to stop worrying about trying to make Lucas sound or act a particular age. Instead of thinking “What would a 70 year old say in this situation?” I just stuck with “What would LUCAS say in this situation?” Things like his angry reaction to Mel’s dying… I have a hard time picturing a 70 year old man having an outburst like that ๐Ÿ˜† But… I can easily picture LUCAS having an outburst like that. And, in the end, I cared more about staying true to my characters than staying true to their ages ๐Ÿ˜†

I did try to take into account the WISDOM that might come with age though. Things like Mel’s reaction to her diagnosis or Lucas’ words to Evelyn in the final chapter… I don’t think either one of them (especially Lucas!) would have the wisdom to say the kinds of things they said in those chapters if those conversations had happened early on in the story. So that’s the most I was able to try to work their ages into my writing style, I guess. ๐Ÿ˜†

Q:ย Why did you decide to include the camping trip into your story and how do you think did it affect Lucas’ and Ev’s relationship?

A: Ah, the camping trip! One of my favorite chapters was that scene around the campfire with Lucas’ plumhole friends ๐Ÿ˜† I don’t even know why, but I will always remember it as one of my favorites.

Anyway, I had a double-reason for that string of chapters! One was to introduce Lucas’ friends, and to show that, even surrounded by friends, Lucas is kind of an “outsider” (he’s the “weird one’ in his friend group, if you know what I mean!). And the second reason, of course, was to have Lucas meet Gaia and get those first seeds that would eventually lead to him finding the Death Flower.

I wasn’t sure at first HOW to make Lucas find those first few ingredients, then I felt inspired to have him go to Granite Falls and meet the Hermit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though I tried to make my story not entirely sim-like, I still wanted to be sure that people understood it was still SimLit, so including a plot point like Granite Falls helped me to do that!

I think that Lucas’ discovery of those plants in Granite Falls changed his and Ev’s relationship for the better (for a while, at least!). For the first time, Lucas truly felt like there was a real chance of bringing Ev back… It became more than just some fantasy he’d had — it was something real and achievable. And, if you recall, at the time, Lucas really wanted Ev to be brought back so the two of them could be together. So I think that mindset of “We are closer to REALLY being together at last!” helped give their relationship a little positive “push” (but we know it didn’t last for long!).

I will say though, that on the flip side, Lucas’ friends’ reactions to his confession about Ev did HURT their relationship a bit. As we saw in Chapter 20 (Where Ev tried to meet his friends), Lucas has decided to stop trying to explain Ev to his friends and treat it like a joke to save face… Which I feel like I can’t judge him too harshly for… But I’m biased toward siding with my characters, since I live in their headsย ๐Ÿ˜›

Q:ย Your side characters are also insanely loveable even though they don’t have much screen time. How did you decide who and how many side characters to include?

A: Aw, thank you! As I’ve mentioned before, I loved having Lucas’ friends be in the story, and I felt so bad that they disappeared into the background!

I also felt really bad about Mel’s brother and her best friend. They simply had to fade into the background too (but even quicker than Lucas’ friends did!). It was difficult, because they simply couldn’t “fit” in the plot anymore… It was like they were no longer relevant ๐Ÿ˜† But I hope readers didn’t think that they were literally gone from Lucas and Mel’s lives or anything. I imagine lots of time spent off-camera with them (and also with Lucas’ friends, though it was probably mostly phone calls, since they moved!).

I never wanted too many side-characters for my story. I really wanted the focus to be on the Ainsworths and Evelyn, which is why my side-characters got so little ‘screen time’. I only included people who I felt were relevant — Lucas’ parents and friends, Mel’s brother and friend. Krystina had a friend who got a mention, and then there was Mitch and Dani and Alex, who were basically side-characters too ๐Ÿ˜† So I guess it wasn’t a 100% conscious decision — I just included whoever I felt was necessary to the story!

Q:ย Why do you think Mel was so hesitant to get to know Evelyn even after she realised that she was actually real?

A: Mel had a lot of mixed feelings about Evelyn, so the answer to this question is a bit complicated. Partially it was pure jealousy — This young and beautiful girl (dead or not!) who her husband was once in love with (and who still loved her husband) had suddenly come into their lives. I feel like I wouldn’t be very keen on her either ๐Ÿ˜†

Another factor is feeling like an “outsider”. Evelyn was a best friend to both Lucas and Krystina for a long time, but Mel had never even met her. I think of it almost like a schoolyard at recess, where there’s a group of friends who have this really special inside joke and there’s that one friend who doesn’t get the joke and awkwardly stands off to the side while everyone else is laughing and having fun. ๐Ÿ˜† Imagine that, but the “joke” is Evelyn hahaha. I know that’s the worst analogy ever, but there you go haha.

And, of course, we have the biggest reason of all — the one Melanie finally revealed to Evelyn in chapter… 88? Ish? The fact that she’s SO jealous that Lucas can be reunited with the first love he thought he’d lost years ago. She would have given anything to see Christian again, and seeing Ev was a constant reminder to her of what she was missing.

Plus, let’s be honest — it’s freaky. There’s a GHOST living in her backyard. I don’t know if I’d want to meet a ghost ๐Ÿ˜†

So… all of those reasons combined!

Q: Were there any characters that you wanted to introduce but never did?

A: Hmm… Not really. I’d toyed around with showing Lucas’ grandparents or his uncle (Damien had an older brother) when Lucas was a child or teen, but I couldn’t find a way to make it fit or be relevant, so it was just a passing idea that never went anywhere ๐Ÿ˜†

Q:ย How did you get into the mindset when writing for the Grim Reaper?

A: Ooh, I love this question!

Um… Honestly, I basically thought to myself “Okay, pretend you’re a self-righteous, co-cky j-erk who thinks humans are im-beciles… Okay, great, now write!” ๐Ÿ˜† (Sorry for all the hyphens… had to get by the censor haha)

It was very fun to develop his personality! He’s the closet thing to a comic relief character this story has ๐Ÿ˜† I figured he would have this mean attitude, but also be very jovial and not take things too seriously either. I dunno exactly how it came about, but that was how he came out when I sat down to write him ๐Ÿ˜†

 

Q:ย What made you want to write a love story in the first place?

A: To me, the most powerful stories are love stories. Not even necessarily ROMANTIC stories. Just… love. That sounds so unbelievably cheesy, but it’s how I feel ๐Ÿ˜†

So I’d always wanted to write something about a force as powerful as love. And in the very very beginning, D2D was imagined as more of a traditional/romantic Love Story. The plot quickly developed in such a way that Lucas and Ev’s relationship drifted away from romance…

But I decided that it was still a love story. I think one thing that I really wanted to portray in this story was that just because Lucas’ romantic feelings for Evelyn faded, he NEVER stopped loving her, and he never loved her any less. When most people think of “love”, the first thing they think of is romance. And the second (for me, at least) is family. I think a type of love that gets overlooked in a lot of stories is the love of friendship. I think it can be just as powerful as romance or familial love. And, though they did experience that romantic affection for each other for a time, that powerful friendship was the heart of this story, I think. And the heart of the journey to bring Evelyn back to life.

Of course, there are lots of kinds of love that I tried to show in D2D beyond just Lucas and Ev. Familial love between Lucas and his parents and Lucas and Krysti, romantic love between Lucas and Mel… Also the idea of LOST love, like Mel and Christian, or Lucas and Evelyn (for a while, at least). As the wonderful @CathyTea mentioned in a recent chapter of her legacy, it’s all about love. :blush:

Q: What motivated you to write something with a somewhat darker theme?

A: Hmm… It’s funny, I have never really thought of my story as ‘dark’ before… But I can totally see it. I mean, it’s all about death! (life and love too… but death is kind of the center of things, huh? :lol:)

Well, I’m kind of weird, but I actually like books/movies/etc that are a little sad. Not full-on tragedies, but I really enjoy stories that include some sadness and darkness. It feels ‘real’ to me. Because life is also full of sadness and dark times too, along with the good times and the light. So I do admit to putting a lot of sadness into this story, because that’s the type of story I usually like! ๐Ÿ˜† and because it made the characters and their situations feel more ‘real’ to me.

I don’t even know if that properly answered your question, so I’m sorry if it didn’t!

Q: How do you feel now that the story is complete?

A: No, but seriously, I am basically a whirlwind of emotion. I’m so sad and empty inside, knowing that it’s all over. :bawling:

But I’m also so proud of the accomplishment of FINISHING a story (basically a novel!) and also for (not to compliment myself too much :lol:) writing something so good. I think this is the best thing I’ve ever written… I don’t know if I can top this ๐Ÿ˜†

And mostly, I’m genuinely humbled by all the support my story has gotten over these past few months. I know I’ve been gushing about my gratitude and love for my readers over these past few days… But it’s true. The fact that ANYONE has taken the time to read my story is simply amazing. The lovely comments I’ve gotten and amazing gestures from readers (like having this discussion!) are the icing on the cake. I don’t think I can ever express enough how much this has all meant to me.

I feel like this is the ‘end of an era’ haha. It’s a weird feeling. I don’t think there are words for it. But I’m so grateful to anyone and everyone who has made it to the end with me ๐Ÿ™‚